This is going to be fun.
For the first time, Joel Embiid squared off against Westtown School (West Chester) product Mo Bamba when the Sixers hosted the Magic in preseason action Monday. The two big men will likely meet much more down the road in the Eastern Conference, but Embiid bested the rook in the box score and the scoreboard.
There were and ones …
… a (questionable) dunk …
… threes …
… and, of course, a bunch of trash talk that dates back to the summer when Embiid first “welcomed” Bamba to the league.
In actuality, Embiid and the 2018 No. 6 overall pick are good friends. Both seven-footers work with L.A.-based trainer Drew Hanlen and Bamba looks to Embiid as a mentor. Bamba has even modeled his game after Embiid, adding the three-pointer — he shot just 28 percent from three at Texas — to his regular repertoire.
Embiid thoroughly enjoyed the matchup, telling Bamba he’s “too skinny” to guard him. It’s funny because not that long ago, Embiid was a super skinny kid who never played a game of basketball in his life growing up in Cameroon. Now he’s imparting the knowledge he’s learned.
“He’s really skinny, can’t guard me,” Embiid said after the game. “He had like four fouls in eight minutes. He’s lucky that I didn’t play more minutes — he would’ve fouled out in like 10 minutes. But he has a lot of potential. I’m going to keep trying to help him become what he’s supposed to be, and I think he’s going to be really good.”
As for the “dunk” in question, Embiid didn’t take too kindly to the rookie giving him a wink afterward.
"He did not dunk. That wasn’t a dunk," Embiid said. "I blocked the shot and the shot went right back in. But he tried. I don’t remember the last time I got dunked on. If you’re going to call that a dunk, I’m going to show him what a dunk is next time."