OKLAHOMA CITY — There’s no question Joel Embiid knows how to dominate at his position. That much was reinforced when he was selected as a starter for the 2018 NBA All-Star Game in only his second season.
There’s so much more for him to soak in about being a star in the league, and he’s going to try to do just that All-Star Weekend.
“Being around all those guys, going there, to me it’s all about learning how to be a professional,” Embiid said Friday following the Sixers’ win over the Spurs. “This is my first year and I feel like I’m right there and I’m only going to get better. But I still don’t have it, I still don’t know how to be a professional. I want to go out there, hang around them, learn from them, learn their ways, get back and help my team.”
Embiid was drafted by Steph Curry in a new conference-less format designed for the top-two vote getters to pick teams from a pool of all of the selected players. He wasn’t sure if he would be chosen by Curry or LeBron James but thought he would end up on whichever team did not pick Anthony Davis or DeMarcus Cousins to balance out the bigs. (Cousins has been replaced by Paul George because of injury.)
Embiid is looking forward to playing alongside some of the best shooters in the NBA, noting Curry, Klay Thompson, James Harden and DeMar DeRozan.
Embiid also will be teammates with Draymond Green, with whom he has already established a rapport based on banter (see story).
“Draymond, that’s my guy,” Embiid said. “I’m going to love doing that (playing with him). Hopefully, I’m going to learn a little bit from him about trash talk because he’s one of the best.”
Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jimmy Butler, Al Horford, Damian Lillard, Kyle Lowry, and Karl-Anthony Towns round out Team Stephen.
Team LeBron includes Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, LaMarcus Aldridge, Bradley Beal, Kevin Love, Victor Oladipo, Kristaps Porzingis, John Wall, and Russell Westbrook.
Embiid’s approach to the Feb. 18 game is enjoying himself while trying to win on the massive basketball stage.
“I’m definitely going to compete,” Embiid said. “That’s my nature. You’re supposed to have fun, but I know how to mix it up.”