Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid is the ultimate cheat code

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

What do Madden 2004 Michael Vick and Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid have in common? Their unique skill sets are virtually unguardable.

Back in the day (in 2004), Michael Vick singlehandedly changed the game of Madden forever.

Programmed with 94 speed and a 97 throw power, entire tournaments, both professionally and between friends banned Vick and his Atlanta Falcons from competitive play because he simply provided too much of a competitive advantage head-to-head.

While Vick’s physical gifts didn’t directly translate to championships IRL, as his career was derailed in its prime due to some regrettable off-field decisions, the eventual Eagle‘s spot in history will forever be etched thanks in part to that particular video game.

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Joel Embiid feels a lot like the former NFL QB.

Sure, Embiid and Vick have almost nothing in common in how they act, carry themselves, or play their respective game, but they are similar in one significant way; they effectively serve as a cheat code every time they enter the game

Officially listed at 7-feet, 250 pounds, though those estimates appear to be on the low side, Embiid is without a doubt the heart and soul of this current iteration of Brett Brown‘s squad, and with good reason; He might be the most physically gifted player to ever suit up for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Embiid can score (26.5 ppg), Embiid can rebound (13.4 rpg), Embiid can even pass (3.5 apg), but his impact doesn’t just show up on the stat sheet.

No, Embiid is the kind of player who forces an opposing coach to shift his philosophy; whether that be altering rotations, changing defensive assignments, or most importantly, double-teaming the big fella in the paint. Because of Embiid supreme talent, Coach Brown’s squad effectively gets to play 5-on-4 on offense more often than not, freeing up outside scoring opportunities on the wings.

And speaking of wings, Embiid is pretty great out there too.

While he may not particularly enjoy shooting 3s, as highlighted by comments he made on December 24th after a 3-less win over the Toronto Raptors, since that fateful game, Embiid has made six of his 14 attempts from outside (42%).

That is way above the NBA average of 35 percent.

The only real deficit in Embiid’s game is his handle, which is, unfortunately, a lot harder to fix. Because he stands above 7-foot, with long arms and a sturdy frame, Embiid is never going to be a great ball handler because he can’t get low enough to keep the ball secure with regularity. While this has become a problem at times, as he often starts his plays from the 3-point line and has to dribble the ball about half a dozen time to get to the basket, this can be mitigated with more post-ups.

However, if that’s the biggest knock against his game, lacking a point guard’s handle at 7-foot-tall, Embiid’s ceiling is in the Hall of Fame.

And the best part? Embiid hasn’t even entered his prime yet.

While it’s becoming increasingly hard to remember the pre-Embiid-era in Philadelphia basketball, The Process has only appeared in 130 regular season games in a red, white, and blue uniform. He’s fought through injury setbacks and ROTY snubs as a rookie, a broken orbital bone as a sophomore, and roster shuffling as a junior and through it all, Embiid has not only survived but thrived as the face of the franchise.

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Simply put, Joel Embiid has what it takes to be the best player on a championship team, and may prove that statement true before the end of his current contract. With a generational skill set and astronomical upside, it’s safe to say the Philadelphia 76ers are going to be a tough team to contend with for years to come.