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Kyle Neubeck: Simmons says that he and Embiid have been in constant communication about what they can do to help each other this year. Example this week: Embiid texted him earlier in the week that he’s been missing him on too many duck ins. Wanted to remedy that tonight
As a Los Angeles Lakers player, Lue won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001 while playing with Hall of Famers and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, who like Simmons and Embiid didn’t always get along. As a coach, Lue won the 2016 NBA title with the Cleveland Cavaliers. LeBron James, one of the best to play basketball, was the headliner of that squad. In addition to being the only candidate with a championship pedigree, he knows a thing or two about dealing with all-time greats.
NBA Central: Woj says the chances of the Philadelphia Sixers breaking up Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are ‘fairly remote’ “I think you’ll see them continue to try to build around Simmons and Embiid.” (Via ESPN)
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.”
Joel Embiid: “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.”
“We’ve had conversations, especially when it comes to shooting,” Embiid says. “Ben can help me a lot. I feel like I’ve helped him a lot with his game. People keep saying, ‘Oh, you have to stop spending time on the 3-point line,’ but I do it because Ben is such a good driver, going to basket, that I’ve got to help open that up for him. “I would like if he would do the same for me, to start shooting [3s]. But I also know how uncomfortable he is with it.”
Can Simmons and Embiid make their games mesh well enough to win an NBA championship? It’s one question that will be unavoidable, at least until they win a title. “They are both incredibly intelligent, and I’m always betting on guys that are smart enough to figure things out. And they will,” Redick said.
Redick seemed to question the fit of some of the supporting pieces around the two stars, though. “The numbers kinda say that, when they’re on the court together, they do pretty good: 2018, pretty good (for reference: +15.5 net rating); 2019, pretty good (+7.9 net rating); 2020, still pretty good, but not as good (+0.9 net rating), right?” Redick said. “I don’t think they’re changing, so maybe the people around them are changing. That, to me, just goes back to the right fit and the right pieces. “I think that they (Embiid and Simmons) can fit together, for sure,” Redick concluded.
Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown admittedly has no idea when All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons will return from their respective injuries. Brown expressed more clairvoyance, however, on how their NBA careers will turn out. “I personally am convinced those two are going to win a championship at some point in their career and that they, for sure, can coexist,” Brown said following practice Monday at UCLA. “The myth is that they can’t. I think that is so abused and not articulated the way I see it.”
Today’s team is built around two superstars, Embiid and Ben Simmons, who happen to fit together poorly. “They have no blow ups, they never curse each other out, as far as I can tell. They just weren’t friends,” says Weitzman. “The on court thing is definitely a problem. That informs a lot. When’s the last time two superstars on a team who were such bad on court fits? They’re human, that has to grate. Ben has to be looking at Giannis [Antetokounmpo, another athletic, ball-handling multi-talent who can’t shoot well] and thinking I could do that. Four shooters and me …”
Kyle Neubeck: Embiid was asked about free throws at the podium and he took a moment to praise teammate Ben Simmons, who he says has shown tremendous work ethic by being so good at the free throw line recently
Joel Embiid has heard all of the chatter about the awkward fit between he and fellow Philadelphia 76ers All-Star Ben Simmons on the court, and whether the two of them are capable of winning at the highest levels playing together — noises that have only grown louder as the Sixers entered the All-Star Break in fifth place in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. He has a message for the doubters: just wait. “I think it’s BS,” Embiid said here Saturday morning before All-Star practice, “because when you look at the last couple years, the last two years that we’ve been playing together, it’s not a problem. This year it’s only been a problem because our offense has struggled.”
Joel Embiid: “It’s definitely going to be better after the All-Star break. I mean, just look at the last two years, what we’ve been able to do. I think it can work, and it’s going to work.”
“It takes time,” Simmons said. “Not everything is perfect. Not everything works right away. I love playing with Joel. I think he’s an amazing talent, a guy I respect for his game, and I know he feels the same way about me. We continue to go the right way. There’s so many different things that we haven’t tried. We’ve got a lot of talent. It’s scary how good we can be.”
Keith Pompey: #Sixers Joel Embiid on people saying he and Ben Simmons can’t co-exist: “I think is B.S.”.
Mark Medina: Ben Simmons on his dynamic with him and Joel Embiid pic.twitter.com/YQZYuQjGea
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May 16, 2021 | 8:39 pm EDT Update
Sarah K. Spencer: Trae Young is the 2nd-youngest player in NBA history to reach 1,800 career assists, per @HawksPR (behind LeBron James). He’s the 6th-fastest (204 career games) to do so, behind: Oscar Robertson, Tim Hardaway, Kevin Johnson, Mark Jackson, Chris Paul.
Last week, Toni Kukoč had just visited the Croatian gym where he played for Jugoplastika Split as a teenager when Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf called him with some exciting news. Kukoč is a member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame’s Class of 2021. “Maybe it was in the script,” Kukoč said Sunday in a Zoom interview with NBC Sports Chicago from Croatia. “It was destiny.”
The fact he accepted a bench role for the Bulls’ second three-peat teams, winning the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award in 1996, when his talent would have led him to starting — and starring — on lesser teams is also noteworthy. “The first time I met Michael (Jordan) and Scottie (Pippen) was at the ‘92 Olympics in Barcelona and it wasn’t the greatest experience for me. And according to the first game, they were probably going, ‘Oh my gosh, do we really need him?’” Kukoč said, laughing. “But I ended up over the years I guess, actually right now I can say it being a Hall of Famer: I proved myself to them, I proved myself to the coaches, I proved myself to the fans of Chicago that I was worth taking a chance on.”
Toni Kukoc: “The only way to play with Michael and Scottie and Phil is they force you to practice hard to play hard, to give your max every single day just for those moments. So when those moments happen, I don’t want to say it’s expected. But in a way, it is. And you’re ready to perform.”