Joel Embiid recently got named the Kia Most Valuable Player of the Year. The Philadelphia 76ers’ center had been trying hard to get his hands on it over the last few years. 2023 was finally his time to win and the NBA was right by naming him the MVP. The big man highlighted a few points about modern-day basketball while speaking to the Players Tribune.
“It doesn’t matter if you’re a guard or a 7-footer… You need to be unpredictable. Yes, I idolized guys like Dream. I watched hours and hours of Dream every single day,” he said. He mentioned a few names that he enjoys watching and claimed that they were the true definition of modern-day basketball. He said, “KD, Harden, even point guards like Steph and CP3. For me, that’s where the game is the most interesting right now.”
Joel Embiid argued that the league has a very different dynamic than the 80s, 90s, or early 2000s. The older generation often criticizes players of today for apparently not being tough or keeping things interesting.
Embiid says that to become the best player today, it requires one to possess skills in every aspect of the game. The MVP is very versatile as well. He has shot 33.7% from deep which is a very high three-point percentage for a center. He is also an exceptional rebounder and knows how to outclass players on defense.
Joel Embiid outlines why Shaquille O’Neal would struggle in the NBA today
There has been a debate going on about older players dominating the league if they were in their prime right now. Joel Embiid perfectly broke down the issues that older players would face in today’s basketball.
30 years ago, the league had players stick to their positions and take charge of a specific job on the court. For example, Michael Jordan handled scoring, Scottie Pippen worked the defense and Dennis Rodman grabbed every rebound he could. All of them had a specific role.
JOEL EMBIID WINS 2023 NBA MVP. 🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/F37LnNzxr1
— House of Highlights (@HoHighlights) May 2, 2023
Modern-day basketball is quite the opposite. Players have evolved and learned how to be unpredictable, as Embiid said. The reigning MVP said that he respected players like Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley. But he claimed that in this day and age of position-less basketball, they would not survive.
“I’m never going to be the kind of traditional big like Shaq was in the ’90s. You can’t go down to the post every single time down the floor and have success in this league,” he said.
Embiid continued, “Not in 2020. Not with the way the game has evolved. Not with the way teams double-team now.” He went on to say that players only survive today if they know how to spread the floor and work out in every position. Nowadays we see players like LeBron James take on the point guard position at times. And players under 7 feet play at the center position or vice versa.