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Joel Embiid: "I Still Don’t Understand When NBA Teams Play Zone. I Feel Like That’s Always Been A College Thing."

Joel Embiid

As a 5-year NBA veteran, Joel Embiid has seen a lot of different tactics on the basketball court. As one of the most dominant players in the game today, his opponents often have to find unique ways to slow him down.

Still, there's one thing that the Sixers big man just doesn't understand: zone defense. In a chat with the media, he explained why.

(via Sixers Wire)

“I still don’t understand when NBA teams play zone,” Embiid said. “I don’t get it. I feel like that’s always been a college thing. But, first of all, it shows you that they can’t guard you. I actually think it’s easier to attack the zone because you’ve just got to find spaces. If you see they’re playing zone, the middle was wide open and those are the shots that you need to take and knock them down.”

Zone defense isn't used very often in the NBA, but it can be called on by coaches to give an opposing team different looks and help cover weak defenders. So, it does have its uses.

For a guy like Embiid, though, there's really no defensive scheme that he can't overcome. He can do it all on offense and commands a ridiculous amount of attention and respect on that end 

So much so that Steve Kerr likened playing against him to Hakeem Olajuwon and Patrick Ewing.

“Playing against Joel is like going into a time machine,” said Kerr. “It’s like playing against Patrick Ewing or Shaq or Hakeem Olajuwon, it’s a low post-game. He will step out and shoot 3s and run some DHOs and he’s good with that, but he’s one of the few guys in the league now who can dominate a game from the low block and they’ve done a great job with their roster. Putting a lot of shooting around him.”

Embiid, 27, is in the sixth season of his career. With averages of 24.2 points, 10.8 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks per game on 44% shooting, he is proving once again that he's one of the best players in the league.

Unfortunately, the Sixers are just 15-14 on the season without Ben Simmons and it remains to be seen what kind of moves they'll make going forward.