Joel Embiid went through it with Ben Simmons.
Joel Embiid has been through a lot over the past year or so. A lot of the struggles that Embiid has faced are due to the likes of Ben Simmons, who pretty well quit on the Philadelphia 76ers and didn’t play a single minute for them during the season. Embiid took some shots at Simmons in the media, and in the end, it only made things worse. Now, however, Embiid has James Harden by his side and heading into the playoffs, this Sixers team looks as though they can make some very serious noise.
With that being said, Embiid recently spoke to The Athletic, where he talked at length about the Simmons issue. As Embiid noted, there wasn’t something good to come out of it, as the entire ordeal forced him into being a much better leader in terms of the locker room.
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Per The Athletic:
“It was a tough situation to navigate and go through (with Simmons). Even to this day, I don’t have any hard feelings towards everything that happened. But being in my position, having to answer questions about that whole thing every single day, it was kind of draining. And I’m sure it was draining for my Sixers teammates. So the drama was pretty crazy, but my whole thing going into the season was to come in and try to be a better leader. In the past, I was trying to lead on the court, by my play, and I was never really focused on off the court and what I could bring to the table.
So, you know, I knew the situation we were in, and I didn’t know what was going to happen, so I had to make sure that I brought it off the court and on the court. On the court, just try to play at an even higher level than I did last year. The knock on me was last year that I wasn’t healthy enough. So to come back, take another step (with his play), and then also stay on the floor for the Sixers, that was a big goal for me. When you look at this year, sure it looks like I missed, what, 12 games or whatever. But nine of them were due to COVID and all that stuff. So I’m really happy, and I’m excited for myself.”
Now, Embiid will get to show off his leadership skills once the playoffs start a few weeks from now. The Sixers are expected to go pretty far, however, it’s up to Embiid and Harden to truly lead the way and rise above expectations.
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