If we didn’t have Joel Embiid to root for Philadelphia, we’d hate Joel Embiid in Philadelphia. He comes in to your home arena, smack talks your centers and power forwards, draws fouls like few in the league can, gets chippy with everyone, and then laughs in your face when you get mad at him. He’s the NBA’s perfect troll.
It’s a perfect plan, though. If players who are supposed to guard Joel Embiid are mad at Joel Embiid, they’re going to foul him more, get flagrants, and play with emotion and not their heads. Just ask Willie Reed (see above).
Brett Brown compared Embiid to a jazz musician the way that he watches players do something and then does it himself. The skills that James Harden honed after years in the league - getting a shooting foul called off of the most run-of-the-mill contact - are a lot harder to pull off as a big man, but JoJo is doing his best and it’s working.
I don’t know if he is playing mind games or he just likes getting on people’s nerves, but I love him for it either way.