Joel Embiid finally made his first appearance on The Rights To Ricky Sanchez podcast, and it didn’t disappoint.
Spike Eskin asked Embiid one question about Ben Simmons’ shooting, and Embiid credited Simmons for starting to take jumpers (he’s been taking far more in practice since the Philadelphia 76ers arrived in Orlando and shot 1-of-2 from three in the Sixers’ first scrimmage) and talked about how much he loves playing with his co-star:
“I’m so happy that he finally now understands [how to improve spacing] and I think that’s what it takes for us to win a championship. And when you think about it, we’ve only played, this is what, our third year together playing? I mean, a lot of people always, you know, they expect [more]. Like, we’ve only played for three years. The potential that we have. I love him, and I wanna be with him for the rest of my career, because I think he still has a lot of potential and me too. Like, we can get so much better than we are right now, and I don’t see the point of ever playing with somebody else. So, that’s someone that I would love to be playing with for the rest of my career.”
Many national media outlets frequently push the discussion that the Sixers need to choose one of either Simmons or Embiid to move forward with, and that the two stars can’t coexist successfully. Their off-court relationship is often blown up into a problem, too. But talk surrounding the latter issue has often felt over the top, while the main problem with their on-court play is how the team is built around them.
Over their three years together in the NBA so far since Simmons started playing in 2017-18, the Sixers have had a +9.1 net rating when they’re on the floor together, which is excellent. No, the fit is not perfect due to the different paces of play they prefer and spacing concerns, but we have a massive sample that they’re an incredibly effective duo. They both have a ton of talent offensively, which can continue improving as they get older and Simmons potentially starts shooting more. Plus, they’re absolutely monstrous together on defense, with Simmons’ elite versatility and Embiid’s rim protection. The Sixers’ biggest problem is their roster construction, and the fact that they lack much perimeter creation and shooting to complement their young stars.
Embiid could have easily complimented Simmons without speaking so highly of him and how he feels about their future in Philly. Who knows if they will actually play together for the rest of their careers — so much can happen in the NBA, and they’re still young. But right now, Embiid couldn’t have said any more to show that he’s happy with Simmons.
(For reference, Embiid starts talking about Simmons around the 29-minute mark of the podcast.)
This was great interview that covered a lot of interesting topics, so I won’t go on any more about it. I’d just recommend you check out the full episode on YouTube.