The final game of the five-game road trip is set in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Victor Wembanyama has put the league on notice with his recent performances. Lighting the league on fire as a rookie is a double-edged sword. As you garner an excess amount of attention and adulation, it leads to players bringing their best to try you. So far, Wemby has aced many of the tests thrown his way, but he has yet to try moving mountains, and Joel Embiid is at the summit.
The reigning MVP has been dominating the league this year. Despite how some feel about his foul-baiting theatrics, the fact is that Embiid is a force to be reckoned with. He talks the talk and walks the walk, going directly at the premier big man for the opposing team to prove he is the best player on the court. He even recently bested beloved big man and two-time MVP Nikola Jokic last Tuesday posting 41 points, 10 assists, and seven rebounds.
The biggest problems Wembanyama will face with Embiid
The big man with elite, well-rounded skills had become a rarity in the NBA. There have been more specialists in that area. Bruisers, defenders, spot-up guys, and rebounding specialists, are some of the archetypes fans have seen. Those bigs who can do it all have started to come back around and Embiid is one of them. His ability to score on all three levels, throw moves, and countermoves at you, while also being an elite defender is what makes him an All-NBA player.
But when you pair those skills with his size, it becomes an untenable situation for anyone going against him. The Cameroonian center is listed at 7'2 and 280 pounds. Wemby's weight is posted on NBA.com as 210. A 70-pound difference will be noticeable, and while maybe part of Coach Pop's strategy will be to have Wemby play as the help-side defender, Embiid will seek Victor out on occasion and impose his physicality.
The Alien has done a masterful job blocking shots without fouling. He leads the league in that stat. He even had a game against Portland on the 28th of December with seven blocks and zero fouls. But Joel Embiid is going to put all of that to the test tomorrow, and Wemby better be prepared for the most physical matchup of his rookie season.