Joel Embiid was having an MVP-caliber season before he went down in the middle of March. He talked about his improvements this year.
The Philadelphia 76ers are in pole position to secure homecourt advantage through 3 playoff series. Their dynamic has changed significantly since their ill-fated 2019-20 campaign.
Brett Brown was replaced by Doc Rivers, while Daryl Morey has taken over as the President of Basketball Operations. Accompanying these front office changes are some great personnel changes as well.
Morey traded Al Horford away for Danny Green and Josh Richardson for Seth Curry. Both of them have dramatically improved the Sixers’ spacing, allowing Embiid, Simmons and Harris to play more effectively in the paint.
Embiid, in particular, has been on a tear all year long. He was already earning DPOY consideration since his first full season, but the added spacing makes him the most dominant post player in the NBA today. Doubling him has not reaped dividends for opponents as it once used to.
Joel Embiid says he views himself as a perimeter player like Kevin Durant
Embiid recently spoke to Sixers Wire, describing the changes he’s made to his game this year:
“Last year was a bunch of post-ups. I had to figure it out that way. This year is more dynamic. The past few seasons, I’ve had an opportunity to kind of do the same, but then again, I had put the work in to get better at those other facets of the game. Maybe shooting off the dribble, handling the ball, setting picks, pick-and-pop, handoffs, coming off screens, and posting up.”
“When we lost in the bubble, when I was working out, that was one thing we really focused on. Just work on my game off the dribble and that’s helped a lot.”
“I’ve never seen myself as just being a post player. I’ve always seen myself as just being, you know, like, I don’t know, Kevin Durant, just moving all over the place, shooting off the dribble, handling the ball, crossovers, posting up.”
– Joel Embiid
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) April 13, 2021
“This year, the system that we have in place is dynamic. It allows me to not be a 5. It allows me to be a basketball player. Either to run the offense or to score to facilitate for other guys.”
“It allows me to just be myself which I’ve always seen in myself. I’ve never seen myself as just being a post player. I’ve always seen myself just be just being like Kevin Durant. Just moving all over the place, shooting off the dribble, handing the ball, crossing over, posting up.”