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“Lot More Rim Protection!”: MVP Joel Embiid Has New Set of Expectations As Kawhi Leonard’s Former Coach Gets Ready to Take Sixers’ Reign

Tonoy Sengupta

“Lot More Rim Protection!”: MVP Joel Embiid Has New Set of Expectations As Kawhi Leonard’s Former Coach Gets Ready to Take Sixers’ Reign

Earlier this summer, Nick Nurse was announced as the Philadelphia 76ers‘ new head coach after the franchise let go of Doc Rivers last season. Meanwhile, Patrick Beverley also joined the organization recently. Taking advantage of an opportunity to bond with his team’s new player, head coach Nurse recently appeared on the Pat Bev podcast to discuss his plans for the franchise’s future. Among the many things he listed out, Nurse was clear about the adjustments Joel Embiid will be expected to make during his reign as well, setting new expectations for the big man.

During the very same episode of the podcast, Nurse also had a rather hilarious admission to make as well. Despite the very public nature of Kawhi Leonard and Embiid’s rivalry, the former Raptors head coach knew nothing of it. The following is what he said on the matter:

I am going to be honest with you. I didn’t know we were going at it all that much all these years. I didn’t realize until one day I had my TV on by accident while I was in the hotel in Philly. They were showing this long clip of us going back and forth over the years. I don’t really remember us going at it like that. But the proof was there.

To find out such a thing from television is admittedly beyond surprising. However, now that he knows about the rivalry, perhaps Kawhi Leonard’s former coach can help the reigning 2023 MVP gain the upper hand against the Clippers star.

Nick Nurse expects Joel Embiid to make massive strides as a rim protector

Nick Nurse hasn’t been shy about the fact that he has big plans for Joel Embiid. During his appearance on Patrick Beverley’s podcast, he was asked what adjustments the big man will have to make under his tutelage. Speaking from a defensive perspective, the new 76ers head coach said the following:

“I’m going to expect a lot more rim protection from him. I’d say that is where I’m going to start that [Joel Embiid blossoming]. We’re going to let our aggressive guards be really aggressive, and funnel a lot of things to him… He needs to take more ‘swings’ at block shots…yeah, swing more.”

Nick Nurse further spoke about how versatile Embiid has been on offense, whether it may be his jump shot or his incredible proficiency under the basket. The head coach admitted that he will be looking to maximize that with a myriad of plays that will run through him. Overall, the former Raptors head coach seems to be in the mood to get his money’s worth out of Embiid.

Despite all the ambition, however, it remains to be seen just how good this 76ers side will really be. With the James Harden saga continuing to drag on, Nick Nurse really has his work cut out for him the next season.

Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch was recently all praises for Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic are the best centers in the NBA today as per the popular opinion amongst fans. The two players have claimed the NBA’s last three regular-season MVP awards and look in no mood to slow down. Recognizing this, Minnesota Timberwolves head coach, Chris Finch recently said the following.

“I feel like big is getting so much more skilled, right, like you have Jokic, you have KAT, Embiid. All these guys are so skilled like, Kevin McHale used to say, Skilled Big beats Small Skilled every time. Maybe there is a shift back…”

Admittedly, Giannis Antetokounmpo deserves a mention as well. However, the point remains the same. The era of big men may truly be back in the NBA. And it may just be better than ever.

About the author

Tonoy Sengupta

Tonoy Sengupta


Tonoy Sengupta is a Senior Editor at The SportsRush. Coming from an athletically inclined family, he has been surrounded by sports ever since he was 4 years old. But, while initially pouring all his time into Football (soccer), at 14, Tonoy discovered basketball through the countless highlights of Stephen Curry humiliating players from Curry Land. And just like that, a fiery passion for the game was ignited within Tonoy. And soon after, he decided to become a student of journalism, graduating in 2022, and choosing sports as his area of interest. Today, you can find him spending 99% of his time browsing through every type of content on every team in the NBA, before uncorking everything he has found to the world. In the 1% he isn't doing this, you can find him playing Basketball, Football, Volleyball, or practically any other sport he has had the opportunity to learn.

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