Skip to content
Link copied to clipboard

The Sixers’ Joel Embiid: ‘I owe the city a championship’ | Off the Dribble

“I owe the city a championship, and that’s why I keep working so hard, because I need to make it happen. That’s why I was brought here. I need to make it happen," Embiid told

Sixers center Joel Embiid (21), here defended by the Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic, says he owes the city a championship.
Sixers center Joel Embiid (21), here defended by the Orlando Magic's Nikola Vucevic, says he owes the city a championship.Read moreKevin C. Cox / USA Today Sports via AP Pool

What’s up, peeps?

Happy Monday to you all. Let’s make this the start of a productive week.

I’m assuming most of you know training camps around the NBA will open up Tuesday with individual workouts. So it will be no time before we get to see what the new-look 76ers are made of. I for one am excited to see how the new additions fit in. Just know you’ll be able to get that information at

You’re signed up to get this newsletter in your inbox every Monday. If you like what you’re reading, tell your friends it’s free to sign up here. I want to know what you think, what we should add, and what you want to read, so send me feedback by email or on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers. Thank you for reading.

— Keith Pompey (

Joel Embiid focused on being the Embiid of two seasons ago

Joel Embiid says he’s motivated.

In a recent interview with, Embiid said he’s motivated because the Sixers didn’t come close to winning the NBA title last season. The three-time All-Star is also motivated because he wasn’t voted to any of the All-NBA teams. This comes after he was a second-team All-NBA selection in each of the previous two seasons.

In addition to missing out on All-NBA, the center was left off the All-Defensive team after being a second-teamer in the 2018-19 and 2017-18 seasons.

“For me, as you know, it was kind of ridiculous I didn’t make any All-NBA teams, and that sucks,” he told “It was kind of like a punch in the gut. It was very disappointing.

“I got to do better. I got to go back to the Joel Embiid from two years ago, when I averaged [27.5] points and was the best defensive player in the league.”

Embiid’ s numbers were definitely down this past season. He averaged 23 points, 11.6 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks. In 2018-2019, he averaged career highs in points (27.5), rebounds (13.6) and blocks (1.9).

The 26-year-old, who had conditioning and health problems last season, said he’s been working hard to trim down and stay in shape. Embiid added that he’s been playing basketball every day for nearly two months.

But he’s not working out every day just to stay in shape.

“I owe the city a championship,” Embiid said, “and that’s why I keep working so hard, because I need to make it happen. That’s why I was brought here. I need to make it happen.

Starting five

  1. Dwight Howard’s role with the Sixers could help both the player and the team. “Whatever this team needs me to do, I’ll do,” Howard said.

  2. What does Elton Brand do now that Daryl Morey is here? Brand can become an asset to the Sixers while learning from one of the most high-profile executives in professional sports. Morey is already talking about how he and Brand have been working together.

  3. Don’t sleep on the Sixers, even in their current form, David Murphy writes. There’s a case to be made that the 76ers are a better bet to win a championship within the next five years than any other team in the Eastern Conference.

  4. Making threes is the Curry family business, and the Sixers can expect Seth to keep it going. Like his father, Dell, and his two-time NBA MVP brother, Steph, Seth Curry is a long-distance marksman. He shot 45.2% on three-pointers last season.

  5. Sixers rookie Paul Reed is eager to show NBA teams they made a mistake by passing on a good fit. “I feel like that every team that passed on me, they are going to regret that decision,” Reed said.

Former NBA veteran learns a boxing lesson

Unfortunately for Nate Robinson, he stole the headline at the Mike Tyson vs. Roy Jones exhibition boxing event.

Robinson casually stepped into the ring Saturday night against YouTube sensation Jake Paul in the undercard. Robinson made his pro boxing debut against the one-fight veteran.

How did it go for the former NBA player, who had a brief stint with the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers’ NBA G League affiliate?

The 36-year-old got knocked out less than two minutes into the second round. That came after Robinson (0-1) had already been knocked down twice.

The first time came in the first round while rushing at Paul (2-0, 2 knockouts) as Paul punched him just above the ear. Paul knocked him down while hitting him on the forehead in the second round.

Robinson, who displayed aggression, somehow got up from that shot. But not for long.

He was knocked out while running into an overhand right that Paul timed perfectly.

Paul landed only eight punches, but three of them led to Robinson’s hitting the canvas.

It appeared that Robinson didn’t put in the necessary work leading up to the fight.

“You don’t play boxing,” said analyst Sugar Ray Leonard, an all-time great boxer.

Preseason dates

Dec. 15: Boston Celtics at Sixers, 7 p.m., Wells Fargo Center

Dec. 18: Sixers at Indiana Pacers, 6 p.m., Bankers Life Fieldhouse

Passing the rock

Question: What are the next couple of moves needed to put this team at a championship quality level in 2021? — @LanceHuntUNF on Twitter

Answer: What’s up, Lance? Thanks for the question. My response is similar to what I said last week, the Sixers need to get a guy who can consistently get a bucket to be in position to contend for a title. The person must be able to finish isolation plays, taking opponents off the dribble or burying step-back three-pointers. He needs to strike fear in defenders.