Toronto Raptors coach Dwane Casey had high praise for 76ers center Joel Embiid, comparing him at a similar stage to 15-time all-star and four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal.
"He is physical, has size, athletic ability, like a young Shaq coming into the league and Shaq didn't shoot it like this young man," Casey said before Wednesday's game at the Wells Fargo Center against the Sixers.
Embiid entered the contest averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.43 blocked shots in 25.3 minutes per game. Casey reeled off many of his impressive traits.
"His athletic ability, his quickness, his speed for his size, his ability to get where he wants to go off the dribble, he is a tremendous problem on both ends of the floor because defensively he is moving his feet to protect the rim and is also running the floor," Casey said.
Embiid entered the game shooting 46.1 percent from the field, 34.5 percent from three-point range and 78.6 percent from the foul line.
"His shooting skills surprised me," Casey said. "His three point shooting skill and his ability to mix it in with his pump fake and drives (is impressive)."
Most of all Casey is impressed with Embiid's composure, especially since he missed his first two NBA seasons due to foot surgeries.
"He has an excellent feel for the game," Casey said. "To be such a young kid, the speed of the NBA and the physicality of the NBA doesn't bother him."