While on the immensely popular Philadelphia 76ers-related podcast Rights to Ricky Sanchez, All-Star center Joel Embiid made intriguing comments regarding his teammate Ben Simmons and their potential future together.
There have been rumblings in the past about their fit next to each other, which usually get louder when the Sixers suffer a tough defeat in a high-profile contest, and whether or not that duo can truly coexist considering both excel with the ball in their hands and neither can be considered three-point marksmen.
Around the trade deadline, there was even some talk that the tandem’s days could be numbered as well as reports about teams preparing for the possibility of Embiid being made available – and who knows? – if the team struggles in the playoffs or is eliminated before the Conference Finals again, maybe the 76ers do look into splitting up Embiid and Simmons. Their net rating together as a two-man lineup this season is a paltry +0.9, after all, though that could partially be attributed to Philadelphia’s poor-fitting starting unit in 2019-20.
Regardless, Embiid seemed to squash any concerns Sixers fans may have had about their All-Star pairing, telling the guys at Rights to Ricky Sanchez:
“We’ve only played for three years and the potential that we have! I love him and I want to be with him for the rest of my career because I think he still has a lot of potential and we can get so much better than we are by now. I don’t see the point of ever playing with somebody else. That’s someone that we love to be playing with for the rest of my career.”
Embiid, always a great quote when it comes to talking about actual basketball, also shared his thoughts on his fit with Simmons on the court:
“I’ve always thought that for us to win a championship, when we all play together, we need to help each other. I know what to do to help him. I know when he has the ball in full court, he’s unstoppable. He’s either going to penetrate and get a bucket or he’s going to find guys, so to me, as a basketball player and someone that wants to win, I want to make sure everyone around me is also comfortable, doing their best to help me win a championship. Doing that, the way I can help [Simmons] is, when he’s in that situation, I can space out and give him some space to penetrate and do his thing. And if he doesn’t have anything, just be ready to shoot it.”
At the end of the day, if Embiid and Simmons are happy in their current situations – and if we take what they have to say about the matter into consideration, that appears to be the case – then it’s not likely Philadelphia will actually go through with breaking them up. It’d be easier to find a taker for an Al Horford or a Tobias Harris than it would be to get fair value back on trading one of their two All-Stars.
For what it’s worth, Embiid even claims to love the notoriously fickle fans in Philadelphia, saying on the podcast:
“I would not want to be anywhere (else). I would not want to be in a city where people don’t come to games. I will not be in a city where people come to games, but they’re not interested in the game. Like they have no knowledge of the game. They just come for the entertainment or just for the fun of it. I like passionate people because if the fans feel like I’m not doing my job and I’m not doing it the way that I know I can, like I need them to make me feel like you’re not doing it. That’s how I get motivated. This year, we had a couple of back and forth with the fans. You know, I got booed a few times and guess what? I got booed and I reacted and made plays happen.”
So, for now, at least, it appears Embiid is happy as a member of the 76ers, both as far as his relationship with Simmons goes, as well as with the tough love he gets at times from the fans of the team.
Nevertheless, a poor showing in this season’s upcoming playoffs by the Sixers could change things – and quickly, too – so this will be a situation to monitor to going forward.