Joel Embiid has never been one to shy away from lofty expectations. He was committed to a playoff push last season, long before the Sixers really had the horses to make a realistic run at it. Now that Ben Simmons and Markelle Fultz are expected to join the team next season, you can see why he might have high hopes.
But Embiid is throwing caution to the wind, and with improvements from guys around him, he thinks he can put up some legendary stat lines. He told ESPN—not totally seriously, it’s worth noting—that he thinks having shooters around him can help him average a triple-double next year.
We need shooters, and I think we already got a few on the team. You go Nik [Stauskas], Rob [Covington], and T.J. [McConnell]. I think T.J. is going to be a great shooter next year, he already told me he’s going to get me at least three assists next year, so hopefully I’ll average a triple-double next year.
We already got some shooters, and with Ben, Markelle, I think can shoot the ball too, I watched a little bit of him when he was at Washington, making a lot of tough shots, and I think that’s what he can add to the team.
While I’m not one to doubt Embiid, that’s a lofty goal for a guy who was a black hole at the beginning of last season. Then again, as the season wore on and he got more comfortable as the offensive focal point, Embiid began making better reads and taking advantage of all the attention he was receiving from opposing defenses.
Speaking of his future teammate, Embiid says he’s a big fan of the trade up to No. 1, and raved about the opportunity to play with a pair of consecutive No. 1 picks in Simmons and Fultz, saying once again that he wants to push for a playoff spot.
I thought the trade was great, there’s a couple guys who have the talent to be great players in this draft and in the league. I thought it was excellent. And then another No. 1 pick, having two No. 1 picks that are going to play together for the first time next year, it’s going to be exciting. I don’t know if that’s ever happened. I love the move, and hopefully now is our time, we need to play together.
Obviously my expectations next year are to make the playoffs, but we’re still young. Watching Minnesota last year, I was trying to figure out why they couldn’t really win games, but watching ourselves this year and me when I stay healthy, I think we have a chance.
I would caution fans against expecting too much, too soon, but you always want your franchise players believing this. If the amount of time he’s spending at the practice facility is any indication, Embiid and the Sixers are going to show up for the regular season ready to take on all comers.