Moments after his first matchup against Joel Embiid, DeMarcus Cousins offered high praise for the young 76ers big man.
"I like that kid a lot - I don't give a lot of people props, but I like that kid a lot," Cousins told CSN's Kayte Christensen on the floor after the game. "I think he's got a great chance of being the best big in the league...after I retire..."
Two days later, Cousins' comment was mentioned to Embiid after 76ers practice.
"I don't think I'm going to have to wait until he retires to be the best in the league," Embiid told reporters, according to the Philadelphia Inquirer.
Embiid, the No. 3 overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft, missed the last two seasons due to injuries. So far, in his first 21 NBA games, he's averaging 18.7 points, 7.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 25 minutes per game.
Cousins, in his seventh season, is a two-time All-Star and is averaging a career-high 29.1 points per game this season.
In a light-hearted moment early in the game, Cousins and Embiid traded butt-slaps after a turnover. Embiid offered this take on that:
"I didn't understand the [turnover] call, and I was just laughing. 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 said.
The two skilled big men will meet on the court one more time this season, when the Kings travel to Philadelphia to take on the 76ers on Jan. 30 to make up the postponed game from Nov. 30.