HOF NBA Coach Offers ‘Last Dance’ Criticism for Joel Embiid

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The whole country has been glued to the “Last Dance” documentary. Hopefully, one certain Sixers big man has been watching it.

The 10-part miniseries chronicling Michael Jordan and the 1997–98 Chicago Bulls has been a ratings champion for ESPN. It’s sparked a ton of controversy about the no-nonsense (and sometimes combative) attitude required to win. Especially to win multiple rings. Those with thin skin need not apply.

Enter Joel Embiid. The Sixers All-Star center has been accused of being soft at times, and maybe not taking winning as seriously as he should. Remember, Charles Barkley openly criticized his physical conditioning and overall lackadaisical nature. Now a card-carrying member of the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame has challenged Embiid.

In an interview with NBC Sports Philadelphia, Larry Brown said he hoped Embiid would “think about Kobe [Bryant] and Michael [Jordan]” when he was sitting at home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“My hope for him is that he would think about Kobe and Michael and watch “The Last Dance” and realize the gift that he has and spend all his time working on his craft,” Brown told Danny Pommells. “He might get mad at me today but he needs to get on the block and he needs to block every shot and dominate in the post. Because he will open it up for everybody else.”

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Brown Calls Embiid ‘Best Player’ Ever at Kansas

While Brown obviously had a few sharp criticisms for Embiid, he was quick to back them up with fatherly affection. He called the 7-footer the “best player that ever went to Kansas” and doubled down by saying he thought Embiid had the potential to be the most dominant big man in the NBA.

“I don’t think anybody is better than him,” Brown told Pommells. “There’s nobody who can be any more dominant than him.”

The legendary coach said he knew Embiid during his college days at Kansas since Jayhawks coach Bill Self served as an assistant under Brown. Remember, Brown famously led Kansas to the 1987-88 national championship behind breakout star Danny Manning. He put Embiid on the same level.

“They [coaches at Kansas] thought he was the best player that ever went to Kansas, potentially,” Brown said. “And they thought his basketball IQ was as high as anybody.”


Thoughts on New NBA, Ben Simmons’ Development

Never one to mince words, Brown kept the conversation going about the Sixers’ other superstar: Ben Simmons. The All-Star point guard has been taking heat from Philly fans for not developing a three-point shot. Simmons refuses to even attempt outside shots in games.

When asked directly about Simmons’ jumper, Brown just shook his head and rolled his eyes. He doesn’t see the problem and wishes fans would leave him alone.

“I can’t believe people in Philly are worrying about Ben Simmons shooting three-pointers,” Brown told Pommells. “That kid is as good as any player in the league. He doesn’t need to shoot a three-pointer. God might punish me for saying that.”

Brown’s major point was that the game of basketball has changed so much over the years. Jordan never shot three-pointers (except against Portland) because they didn’t have to. The Bulls brought in specialists like Craig Hodges and Steve Kerr to do that stuff. That’s no longer the case as players are expected to do everything well.

“I liked it [basketball] better then. I can’t stand it now,” Brown said. “I don’t understand the game.”

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