CHARLOTTE - Charlotte Hornets coach Steve Clifford was asked a simple question before Wednesday's game. 76ers center Joel Embiid didn't make the trip, and a reporter wanted to know if Clifford was intrigued about facing him.
"No. I'm not intrigued to see him play tonight," Clifford said.
Then Clifford told a story about watching preseason game film of Embiid in his office. Hornets assistant Patrick Ewing, a Hall of Fame center, walked in and said "Whoa!"
Ewing told Clifford that Embiid could very well be the most talented center in the league.
"And if you know Patrick, especially at that position, he doesn't say stuff like that," Clifford said. "I mean, he can shoot. He can put the ball on the floor. He can pass. He's got a feel for the game. He's got toughness, size, and strength.
"He's got exceptional ability. I'm glad that he played last night. [Jahlil] Okafor is hard enough. We don't need them both."
Embiid missed the previous two seasons because of surgeries on his right foot. He doesn't play on back-to-back nights as a way for the Sixers to bring him along slowly. The 7-foot-2, 276-pounder averaged 17.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 2.6 blocks through three games.
Sergio Rodriguez has been one of the highlights of the early season. The point guard averaged 8.3 assists through three games and was ranked seventh in the NBA heading into Wednesday night's game. He had 12 points and 11 assists Tuesday in the loss to the Orlando Magic.
The Sixers signed the Spaniard to a one-year, $8 million deal in July. He played the previous six seasons with Real Madrid in Spain.