NBA

Joel Embiid Sent a Subtle Warning to LeBron James and Kevin Durant Following His 50-Point Outburst Against the Bulls

Not only did Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid score a career-high 50 points on Friday against the Chicago Bulls, but he also sent a subtle warning to LeBron James and Kevin Durant.

James and Durant are universally recognized as the top two players in the NBA. However, it appears Embiid is ready to establish himself as the best player in the league thanks to his diverse bag of tricks.

Joel Embiid had 50 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks against the Bulls

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Joel Embiid had a monster game against the Bulls on Friday. He put up 50 points, 17 rebounds, five assists, and three blocks in Ben Simmons’ absence to lead the Sixers to a 112-105 win at home.

By scoring 50 points, Embiid became the first Sixer with a 50-point game in more than 15 years. The last to do it was Hall of Famer Allen Iverson, who scored 53 points against the Atlanta Hawks on Dec. 23, 2005. Embiid is also the first Sixer with 50 points and 15 rebounds in a game since Moses Malone had 51 points and 17 boards on Nov. 14, 1984 versus the Detroit Pistons.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant are two of the most unstoppable offensive weapons in NBA history. However, Embiid is doing things James and Durant have never done. The Sixers star has eight career games with at least 40 points and 15 rebounds. That number would likely be higher if Embiid didn’t miss the first two years of his NBA career due to a foot injury.

The word “unguardable” is often used to describe LeBron James and Kevin Durant. Following his historic outing against the Bulls, Joel Embiid put himself in the unguardable class as well.

Joel Embiid says he’s “unguardable”

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Joel Embiid is a three-level scorer. He can score in the paint, from the mid-range, and is reliable from beyond the arc.

According to Embiid, one of the top defensive players in the NBA, his mid-range game is what unlocks his diverse bag of tricks.

“I think that’s what makes me unguardable,” Embiid said, via NBC Sports Philadelphia. “If you’re going to crowd me, I’m going to find my way to the free-throw line or I’m going to end up at the basket. If you’re going to back up on me, I’ve got that hesi — that hesitation shot. And I’ve also got my favorite pull-up shot, just an easy shot that I always get on the post. It’s hard. … And also off the dribble, just dribbling the ball and just making things happen.”

Embiid is averaging 30.5 points, 11.0 rebounds, 3.2 assists, and 1.3 blocks per game on the season. If he finishes the 2020-21 campaign with that stat line, Embiid would be the first NBA player to average at least 30 points, 10 rebounds, and three assists in a season since Bob McAdoo did it back in 1975-76.

LeBron James and Kevin Durant may be more explosive than Joel Embiid, but the three-time All-Star is proving this season that he’s in the same boat as The King and KD. Embiid has scored at least 25 points in 13 straight games for the Sixers. That’s something we usually see from James and Durant.

JoJo could win the MVP award this season

Joel Embiid can really steal LeBron James and Kevin Durant’s thunder by winning the MVP award this season. He is one of the favorites to win the award since he’s putting up historical numbers and leading the Sixers to wins.

By calling himself “unguardable,” Embiid basically told LeBron and Durant that he’s coming for them.

Stats courtesy of Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia.