Joel Embiid

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Embiid: 'I want to be best Sixer ever'

Dave Uram
March 22, 2019 - 3:18 pm
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Joel Embiid is the 76ers “crown jewel,” as Brett Brown often calls him. He’s a towering 7-foot-2 center with transcendent, home grown ability. He’s the total package—talented, personable and entertaining.

And after dropping 33, 40 and 37 points against the Pacers, Bucks and Celtics, the question that’s always crept in the back of fans’ minds is in the forefront again. Where does Embiid stack up with the greatest Sixers ever, and does he have a chance to one day be the best of all-time?

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“I want to be the best Sixer ever to ever play here and by doing that I got to win championships,” Embiid said after Friday’s practice. "And obviously I’m sure the stats are going to come with it because of the opportunity that these guys give me every single night.”

Embiid can post you up, shoot three’s, make moves off the dribble, rebound, block and even do something as incredibly acrobatic as his put back dunk against the Cavaliers a couple weeks ago.

The Sixers quality of basketball dips drastically when he’s not on the floor, and especially when he’s missing games. They were 4-4 in the eight games he missed after the All-Star break.

As far as stats are concerned, Embiid’s career averages stack up pretty nicely with the greatest Sixers of all time.

Joel Embiid Regular Season Career Averages

24.1 points, 11.4 rebounds, 3.1 assists, 2 blocks, 47.9 FG%, 31.1 3PT%, 79.3 FT%, 30.7 minutes

Wilt Chamberlain Regular Season 76ers Career Averages

27.6 points, 23.9 rebounds, 6.8 assists, 58.3 FG%, 51.1 FT%, 46.3 minutes

Hal Greer Regular Season 76ers/Nationals Career Averages

19.2 points, 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 45.2 FG%, 35.5 minutes

Julius Erving Regular Season 76ers Career Averages

22 points, 6.7 rebounds, 3.9 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.5 blocks, 50.7 FG%, 26.1 3PT%, 34.3 minutes

Moses Malone Regular Season 76ers Career Averages (302 games from 1982-1986)

23.8 points, 13.4 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 1.5 blocks, 47.7 FG%, 37 minutes

Charles Barkley Regular Season 6ers Career Averages

23.3 points, 11.6 rebounds, 3.7 assists, 1 block, 57.6 FG%, 24.1 3PT%, 37.3 minutes

Allen Iverson Regular Season 76ers Career Averages (697 games from 1996-2006)

28 points, 3.9 rebounds, 6.1 assists, 2.3 steals, 42 FG%, 30 3PT%, 41.7 minutes

To deem Embiid the greatest 76er ever at this point is silly, considering he’s playing just his third season of basketball after missing his first two years out of college with an unfortunate foot problem. One of those seasons was limited to 31 games and no playoffs due to a knee injury. Not to mention, Chamberlain, Greer, Erving and Malone are champions, while Barkley and Iverson are fellow Hall of Famers.

It’s all about winning,” Embiid said. “And when you win, of course your name is going to be mentioned with the best, and I want to be the best.”

While it’s ridiculous, at this point, to call Embiid the best to put on this uniform, it’s not crazy to think he could be when his career is over. Embiid is only 25-years-old, and if he stays healthy, he should be able to play at least another 10 years, most of which at superstar levels.

Some will argue Chamberlain is hands down the greatest ever, and that’s certainly fair considering the extreme dominance statistically. But Embiid could win more championships than Chamberlain, and any of the other players listed above. He’s capable of doing that, especially with that talent that that should be around him for the long haul.

Chamberlain and Greer couldn’t beat Boston, except for 1966-67. Erving needed Malone to finally get over the hump. Barkley rarely had a supporting cast, and Iverson never had a supporting cast, minus scrappy role players during the magical 2001 run.

Embiid should be joined by Ben Simmons and some combination of Tobias Harris, Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick for the immediate future. If Embiid stays healthy, that’s a core few teams can compete against. If the organization adds extremely reliable role players to that strong core, then the sky is the limit. Embiid could win multiple championships, which wouldn’t just cement him as the greatest Sixer ever.

“Not just Sixer player ever, but I want to be the best to ever do it, and it’s going to take a lot,” Embiid said. “It’s going to take my teammates help and the coaches, the whole organization and the fans.”