If the 76ers are ever going to win a championship, it starts with “The Process” Joel Embiid. I have long been a fan of Embiid, but I think it’s time to say that the Sixers big man needs a reality check.
During the nationally televised Bucks game, Hall of Famers Shaquille O’Neal and Charles Barkley tore into Embiid for the second time this season. “Soft” was a word that was thrown around a ton, and I couldn’t agree more.
The highs and lows that come with Embiid are well-documented. One night he will look like a 7’0” guard, dropping dimes, knocking down threes, hitting fade-aways, I mean just the other night he yelled “KOBE”’ as he hit a fade-away! Then the next, he’ll look disinterested, out of shape, and hurt. Embiid has all the talent in the world but he can’t seem to get his emotions under control and this has drastically hurt the team.
It came to a head when the Sixers center came out last week to say that he is no longer having fun. Guess what Joel, neither are we! Do you think we enjoy spending our hard-earned money and time to watch someone with the talent to be one of the best big men of all-time play awful and look miserable? NO!
I have come to accept that Embiid will probably never play 82 games a season. He is just not that player.
While that is fine, it is not okay to walk down the court between possessions and pout when things don’t go his way on the nights he actually does make it out there.
It was reported by Shams Charania that Josh Richardson called a players-only meeting after the team’s embarrassing blowout loss in Miami. Yes, you read that right, Josh Richardson. Of all people to call a meeting, Josh Richardson?! Where is the longest-tenured Sixer, Joel Embiid to call a players-only meeting?
Where is the fun Joel Embiid? The one who plays to the crowd, the one that the other 29 teams hate because they can’t have him? This isn’t him.
Why is Embiid so unhappy? Is it because he lost his friend Jimmy Butler? Is it because he lost JJ Redick whom he worked really well on the pick and roll with?
Or is it because he doesn’t like his counterpart, Ben Simmons? All of these have been speculated but no one can know for sure.
Embiid seems to be in between personalities. At his peak, he is someone who finger wags, talks trash, and gets in the head of the opponent. He is a player that you hate unless he is dawning your team’s colors.
All of a sudden, Joel Embiid no longer wants to be that kind of guy. He wants to be someone who leads by example, who’s quiet and lets his work speak for itself. I don’t know if that is the kind of person that he is though. Is it possible that this has affected his game and his relationship with the hometown crowd? Absolutely.
By no means is this an anti-Joel Embiid take. Joel Embiid is the team’s best player and their best chance to win an NBA title. It is frustrating to see a generational player to let his emotions get the best of him. There should never be a scenario where someone could make a case that the Sixers should hand the team to Ben Simmons over Embiid, and he is making it a conversation by his actions.
Joel Embiid, you are 25 years old but you do not act like you are. Regardless of what people want to admit, you are the 76ers.
Not Ben, not Josh, not Tobias. You’re the guy! It is time to get out of your own head, grow up, earn your money, and be the player that Shaq, Barkley, and everybody knows that you can be.
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