NBA rising stars Joel Embiid and Lonzo Ball will square off for the first time as the Philadelphia 76ers visit the Los Angeles Lakers at the Staples Center on Wednesday night. Embiid and Ball had been in a rumored feud since after the offseason trash talk between the Sixers center and Ball’s dad, LaVar.
However, in a recent interview, Embiid admitted that he has nothing against Ball and that he is a “big fan” of the rookie, “especially with (having) his own shoe.” The former Kansas Jayhawks standout also praised Ball, saying that he is a “great point guard” and having that kind of player is “always good” for any team, per Bleacher Report.
“He’s a great point guard. He’s been struggling a little bit shooting the ball but he’s only played like 10, 15 games in the league. It’s all going to come together. But I’m a big fan. He’s a willing passer, especially as a point guard. Having that type of point guard that’s always willing to set guys up is always good.”
It’s interesting to note that Embiid was now backing up Ball’s recent poor performances after he tweeted to teammate Ben Simmons to “dunk on him (Ball)” during last June’s draft. Embiid has since claimed that the tweet was simply a joke about the reaction Simmons’ sister, Olivia, made following LaVar’s heated interview with Fox’s Kristine Leahy in May.
Expectedly, LaVar fired back, saying in a separate interview that Embiid and Simmons are always injured and that the two are “at the bottom of the totem pole.”
The tweet started the online back-and-forth trash talk between Embiid and LaVar. Since then, Embiid was fined $10,000 by the NBA for saying “f*ck LaVar Ball” in one of his live social media video posts.
Please dunk on him so hard that his daddy runs on the court to save him.. https://t.co/cMvt5RYiSQ— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
Despite everything, it looks like it is fine between the players Embiid and Ball as the Sixers giant has completely distinguished father from son.
Meanwhile, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported that Embiid skipped the Sixers’ shootaround on Wednesday morning at Santa Monica High School. The report noted that Embiid had to undergo “rehabilitation work” on his surgically repaired left knee on the sidelines during practice. He is confirmed to be available to play against the Lakers.
Embiid’s teammates, 2017 top pick Markelle Fultz (right shoulder), Jerryd Bayless (left wrist), and Nik Stauskas (right ankle), are still out. Jahlil Okafor and Justin Anderson’s availability are doubtful because of minor injuries.
The Sixers-Lakers clash starts at 10:30 p.m. ET. It can be viewed live online via WatchESPN.
[Featured Image by Abbie Parr/Getty Images]