Sixers Mailbag: Joel Embiid vs Anthony Davis, What Does Grant do Well
Welcome to Derek Bodner’s Sixers Mailbag. You can check out his previous installments at Libertyballers.com.
Each week Derek will answer reader questions and tweets and will appear on the Sports Bash with Mike Gill to answer your questions.
If you want to submit a question for next week, either hit me up on twitter (include #sixersmailbag in the tweet) or send me an email.
In this week’s edition of the Sixers Mailbag, Derek compares Joel Embiid as a prospect to Anthony Davis, we take a look at the Sixers stash of talent compared to the Wolves, investigate the K.J. McDaniels trade.
Now….on to your questions!
Q: In a vacuum, who is/was the better prospect Anthony Davis or Joel Embiid? Why? And how close is it?
I think there are two ways to look at this: Who was the better prospect at the time, and do I think Embiid has the capability of reaching Davis' current potential.
The answers, unfortunately, are that I thought Anthony Davis was the better prospect at the time of his draft, and I wouldn't count on Embiid becoming the better player.
But that's not really a slight on Embiid. Davis is a guy who is an elite level shot blocker, the most versatile defensive big man in the game, as athletic as any big in the game, and perimeter skills like a guard. Embiid might become the 2nd best big man in the NBA eventually, but the problem is Davis will be the best. Davis might have been disappointing (relative to expectations) to start his freshman season at Kentucky, but by the end of the season he was clearly a franchise talent.
Q: What is Jerami Grant doing very well this season? What areas has he done unexpectedly well in? What areas should he focus on improving next? With what he's shown so far, what is his long-term potential?
Unexpectedly well is a pretty easy answer: he's connected on catch-and-shoot shots at a rate nobody expected. He's shooting 45.2% on catch-and-shoot three pointers. Never, ever, ever, did I expect this out of Grant, at any point in his career really, but especially not during his rookie season. The sample size is certainly not big enough to come to a conclusion yet, but it's a heck of a start.
Improve? His handle, easily. He's incredibly athletic, but outside of an occasional quick spin move he doesn't really use it much in the half-court offensively. If he could improve his handle he could create a lot more offense for himself.
Long term potential? I still think he's a 3-and-D guy, and expecting more is probably unrealistic. But his ability to be an athletic 3-and-D guy rather than a (very) undersized 4 is a great development, brought along mostly by his crazily-improved shot.
Q: How do you project D'Angelo Russell's game as a NBA PG and do you think he might be a better option at PG going forward for the 76ers rebuild than MCW?
Listen to Derek Bodner talk Sixers with Mike Gill on the Sports Bash: