Joel Embiid calls Kevin Durant 'probably the best player in the league'

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid, of Cameroon, left, in action against Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, right, during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Nov. 18, 2017, in Philadelphia. The Warriors won 124-116. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

Joel Embiid won’t play in Saturday night’s marquee matchup against the Golden State Warriors, but the Philadelphia 76ers star center had some hefty praise for the opposition — specifically, Kevin Durant.

Embiid called Durant “probably” the best player in the league, according to ESPN’s Nick Friedell.

This comes after Durant had some praise for Embiid himself on Saturday morning. According to Anthony Slater of the Athletic, Durant said Embiid was the “toughest center to stop in the league.”

It’s a shame that Embiid won’t play Saturday due to left knee tendinitis, because watching these two go back-and-forth would have been a treat. Durant is having another absurdly efficient scoring season, while Embiid is having his best year to date, averaging 27.3 points and 13.5 rebounds a game on a Sixers team stacked with as much as talent as anyone else in the league besides the Warriors.

Though Durant is slimmer and a few inches shorter, their games are similar, as both have the ability to put the ball on the floor and shoot from outside despite their height.

The “best player in the league” debate is hard to define, which makes Embiid’s statement pretty bold. It is hard to argue against LeBron James, but you can easily make a case for James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo, or Durant’s teammate, Stephen Curry.

However, in terms of the ability to shoot, dribble, create plays and defend at 6-foot-9, Durant has a package that few in the history of the league have possessed.

And, for what it’s worth, Embiid will be a free agent in the summer of 2023.

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