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Embiid confident he'll be NBA's best big man well before Cousins retires

USA Today Sports

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid is never short on confidence, and when taking into account his sensational numbers as the clear favorite to capture 2017 NBA Rookie of the Year honors, it's easy to understand why he holds himself in such high regard.

Following the Sacramento Kings' narrow 102-100 victory over Philly on Monday night, All-Star DeMarcus Cousins was complementary of Embiid's performance, saying how he's well on his way to being the best big man in the Association ... only after Boogie retires, though.

Well, Embiid doesn't feel he needs to wait that long to knock Cousins off his self-assigned pedestal.

"I don't think I'm going to have to wait until he retires to be the best in the league," Embiid said following Wednesday's practice at Vivint Smart Home Arena, according to's Keith Pompey.

Embiid was the Sixers' most productive player on Monday, scoring 25 points, grabbing eight rebounds, and blocking two shots on 47.1 percent shooting in just 28 minutes of action. As efficient as he was, Cousins was simply that much better, ending with a line of 30 points, seven rebounds, five assists, three steals, two blocks, and two makes from behind the arc.

The two powerhouses even engaged in an impromptu butt-slapping competition in the middle of play, going back and forth multiple times in what was merely a friendly interaction.

"I didn't understand the (turnover) call, and I was just laughing," Embiid said. "He just slapped my butt. I was just like 'Why is he slapping my butt?' I went back at him - not to look like a punk, just to show him I ain't going for that.

"It's all fun. Basketball is about having fun."

Embiid currently averages more than double the points per game of the second-leading scorer among rookie players (Dario Saric, 9.2) at 18.7. He also leads rookies in rebounds (7.4), blocks (2.38), and double-doubles (six).

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