Over the last year or so, Joel Embiid has been through a lot of issues. A lot of Embiid’s problems have been caused by players like Ben Simmons, who quit on the Philadelphia 76ers and didn’t play a single minute for them this season.
Embiid took some shots at Simmons in the media, which only served to exacerbate the situation. Now that Embiid has James Harden by his side, this Sixers club appears to be capable of making some major noise in the playoffs.
With that in mind, Embiid recently spoke with The Athletic, where he discussed the Simmons situation in depth. As Embiid pointed out, nothing good came out of it, as the situation forced him to become a much better locker-room leader as a result of it.
While speaking to The Athletic, Joel opened up about subject.
“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, when the playoffs begin in a few weeks, Embiid will be able to demonstrate his leadership abilities. The Sixers are anticipated to go far this season, but it will be up to Embiid and Harden to genuinely lead the way and exceed expectations.
What’s your take on this? Please write down in the comments below!