Asked on Thursday about recent reports that stated Ben Simmons wants an offense built around him and doesn’t want to play with Joel Embiid anymore, the Sixers‘ star center was anything but evasive. Embiid provided reporters with a four-minute response, pushing back against the idea that the team has built its offense around him and neglected Simmons’ needs.
“I feel like our teams have been built, whether it’s the shooting needed or stretch five and all that stuff, I feel like he’s always had it here,” Embiid said, according to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com. “And we still have it. Seth (Curry), one of the best three point shooters ever. Danny Green, Tobias (Harris) is a 40 percent three point shooter. Furkan (Korkmaz) coming off of the bench. At times Shake (Milton), I think he can be a better shooter, but you know, he can get hot. We just added Georges (Niang). So I feel like, our teams have always been built around his needs.
“It was kind of surprising to see. We’ll say that, even going back to, I mean, the reason we signed Al (Horford). We got rid of Jimmy (Butler), which I still think it was a mistake, just to make sure he needed the ball in his hands, and that’s the decision they made. Like I said, it is surprising.”
Embiid went on to say the situation was “disappointing” and “borderline disrespectful” to the players on the 76ers’ roster whose spots aren’t as secure as Embiid’s or Simmons’.
“Some guys rely on the team being successful to stay in the league and make money somehow,” Embiid said. “Because if you’re on a winning team, you’re always going to have a spot in the league, just because you’re on a winning team and you contributed.”
Embiid did stress that the Sixers are a much better team with Simmons than without him, adding that he hopes his All-Star teammate chooses to end his holdout and report to the club. However, if Simmons was unmoved by Embiid’s more conciliatory comments on Media Day, it’s unlikely that he’ll be swayed by the big man’s more combative response today.
Here’s more out of Philadelphia:
- ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Insider link) took a deep dive into the Simmons situation to try to identify the teams that could use the three-time All-Star and have the right combination of players, contracts, and draft assets to make a viable offer for him. Marks names the Trail Blazers, Cavaliers, Pacers, Timberwolves, Spurs, and Raptors as the six clubs that check all the boxes.
- Without Simmons in their starting lineup, the Sixers will likely sacrifice some size and will be without their top perimeter defender. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer explores the ripple effect of Simmons’ absence, noting that the team is considering experimenting with a big starting lineup that includes Georges Niang. “There’s options there,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “We don’t know if any of them work yet.”
- Since Tyrese Maxey is expected to be part of the Sixers’ regular starting lineup, Shake Milton will be tasked with leading the second unit, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Rivers is pleased with what he’s seen from Milton so far in that role. “You can tell he’s put a lot of work in at that position,” the head coach said. “Last year, honestly, he came into the year and had no idea that he’d be a point guard.”