Joel Embiid has a great sense of humor, which shows up more on his Instagram account than anywhere else.
But it popped up in a postgame interview Tuesday after the Sixers’ dramatic win, when he was asked about playing alongside friend Nerlens Noel (full video via CSNPhilly.com above). If you prefer your humor written out:
“I’ve always thought that I’m a guard so having him rolling to the basket, because he’s so athletic, he can catch lobs, and me just playing on the perimeter or posting up and just handling the ball — by the end of my career, I want to be a point guard, so that was good.”
Obviously, he’s joking. Embiid is a good passer, although like a lot of rookies he’s turning the ball over too much (he turns the ball over twice as much as he gets an assist). He is shooting 38.6 percent from three, which is better than Nik Stauskas or Dario Saric or a few of the other Sixers’ alleged sharpshooters.
What I want to see is how his passing and shooting blends with Ben Simmonds. Brett Brown wants to see that, too.
Toronto rookie Jakob Poeltl is shooting 52 percent from the free throw line this season, although nobody has gone to the hacking yet because he doesn’t get a lot of run (he’s played in just two of the last six Raptors games). The exception was Tuesday night, when the Raptors were at the end of a road trip, getting blown out by the Spurs, and he saw 25 minutes. In that time he got to the free throw line four times, hitting two.
But he also air balled one.
Which leads to a little more attention than he might want.
Dirk Nowitzki teases Harrison Barnes about stealing his plays
“The biggest thing he’s helped me with is just kind of where to get my shots, how to get into a flow, how to be aggressive,” Barnes said. “A lot of my plays are plays he’s been in for years. He knows the system better than anybody, he knows how to get his shot off better than anybody, so he’s been helping along through this process and he’s been a great mentor.”
That’s been happening a lot. Barnes moved from the three to the four for the final play against the Clippers so he could get the ball in a Nowitzki position, then hit a runner for the game winner.
Don’t think Nowitzki hasn’t noticed — or isn’t poking fun at Barnes for it.
Dirk Nowitzki, as he leaves the locker room: "Quit stealing my plays, HB!"
Just to be clear, this was good natured. The two get along well. It’s easy to joke like that after wins, and Dallas picked up a good one at home Tuesday against a Wizards team that had come in hot. Also, Nowitzki recognizes he’s at the end of his career — either this summer or the one after — and that Barnes is the future. Nowitzki doesn’t want to go out in a bad shot gunning blaze of glory, he’s going to mentor the young player.
And with the two of them in the lineup, the Mavericks have won 5-of-9. They are not an automatic win for the opponent anymore.
San Antonio did pretty much whatever they wanted with Toronto Tuesday night — the Raptors were flat on the last night of a long road trip, the Spurs were executing, and the result was a 110-82 victory.
That includes reserve Dewayne Dedmon shutting down a Raptors attempted alley-oop with a block.
It was just one of a number of Spurs highlights on the night.