On Wednesday, Joel Embiid published a first-person article in The Players’ Tribune.
The 76ers center talked about everything from nearly walking away from basketball after the 2014 passing of his younger brother, to being sidelined by injury, to no longer talking trash on social media.
“I’m done with the trash talking and the memes and all that,” Embiid wrote. “Once I’m holding that [NBA championship] trophy in my hands, maybe I’ll be back to my charming self. For now, I got one thing on my mind. I’m not trying to win a debate. I’m trying to win a ------- title."
Embiid missed his fourth straight game on Wednesday when the Sixers hosted the Brooklyn Nets. He had surgery Friday to repair a torn ligament in his left ring finger.
The Sixers headed into Wednesday’s game with a 25-16 record and in a disappointing sixth place in the Eastern Conference standings.
“I’m going to be back,” said Embiid, who had what appeared to be a protective wrap on his left hand Wednesday. “And we’re going to get this thing right. And we’re going to be a problem in the playoffs, I promise you. But I have to say it now – the one thing I’m not going to do is change who I am as a basketball player.”
So what does Brett Brown want Ben Simmons to do while guarding a smaller guy? The coach was asked if he would prefer Simmons to post up the defender or drive to the basket.
“It’s steak or lobster,” Brown said, “both are good. ... I can’t own one over the other.”
Finding those types of mismatches for the 6-foot-10 point guard interests the coach. On those occasions, opponents have to collapse on defense or try to double-team Simmons. That leads to him finding teammates for open three-point shots.
“But both are good,” Brown said. “I thought in the first half [Monday at Indiana] there was a dominant, just like tank mentality that he was going to dunk on anybody in front of him. Probably I could have helped him more in the third.”
The Sixers played a lot of uptempo in the first half before slowing things down after intermission.