Sixers’ Embiid on Disgruntled Star: ‘I Don’t Care About That Man’

Joel Embiid Ben Simmons Sixers

Getty Philadelphia 76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons look on during a game against the Washington Wizards.

The great Ben Simmons drama of 2021 entered a new chapter on Tuesday, just one day before the Philadelphia 76ers‘ October 20 season opener against the New Orleans Pelicans.

The three-time All-Star had been a participant at the team’s latest practice but was dismissed when Doc Rivers deemed that he wasn’t engaged in the proceedings, per The Philadelphia Inquirer’s Keith Pompey. Shortly thereafter, a one-game suspension was doled out to Simmons.

Asked to comment about the situation, Sixers star Joel Embiid made it clear that he has bigger fish to fry.

“At this point, I don’t care about that man,” Embiid said after Tuesday’s practice. “He does whatever he wants. That’s not my job, that’s [the front office’s] job. I’m only focused on trying to make the Sixers better, win some games, play hard every night, try to lead the guys we have here, and I’m sure they feel the same way.”

He further noted that he and his other teammates have been building a rapport for some time now. Simmons, of course, had been holding out in hopes of a move out of Philly.

“Our chemistry has been happening the last few months. So like I said, I don’t really care.”

Embiid Won’t Be Simmons’ Babysitter

Given his status as the team’s on-court leader and the face of the franchise, some on the hoops blogosphere have wondered whether Embiid should play a larger role in attempting to coax Simmons back into the fold. Embiid, however, is maintaining that he’s not here to “babysit.”

For him, it’s all about doing a job and winning as many games as possible.

“At the end of the day, our job is not to babysit somebody,” Embiid said. “We get paid for on the court, go out and play hard, win some games, that’s what we get paid for. We don’t get paid to come out here and try to babysit somebody. That’s not our job, and I’m sure my teammates feel that way.”

Rivers had expressed hopefulness just one day earlier that Simmons and the Sixers would rediscover some chemistry before too long. “It’ll grow,” Rivers said at the time. “It’ll come back. I’m not that concerned, right now, with it. However, the latest incident may have stunted the reconciliation process.

The latest Sixers news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Sixers newsletter here!

Join Heavy on Sixers!

Embiid Taking a Stronger Stance on Simmons

When Simmons’ offensive issues contributed directly to the team’s playoff ouster last season, Embiid commented on it. However, he clearly took no joy in bringing up his superstar partner’s on-court problems in the press.

“I thought the turning point was when we — I don’t know how to say it — but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and then they came down and scored,” he said, via The Sporting News, referencing Simmons passing up an open opportunity during the Sixers’ Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks.

As far as shooting on a teammate goes, that’s about as soft as it gets. On Tuesday, though, Embiid was more direct in his appraisal of the situation. And given the Sixers’ title potential with an engaged Simmons in the fold, the 2021 NBA MVP runner-up definitely has reason to take a stronger stance this time.

If the Simmons situation isn’t resolved, one way or another, it threatens to cost Embiid what could be his best shot at winning a championship.


Read More
Comment Here
Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments