Sixers Star Joel Embiid Makes Bold Claim After ‘Chillin’ on the Couch’

Joel Embiid, James Harden

Getty Sixers star Joel Embiid and James Harden on focused on bringing multiple championships to Philadelphia.

Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid was more relaxed than usual (if that’s possible) when addressing reporters at Sixers Media Day. He sat at the podium alongside All-Star teammate James Harden and cracked jokes, with a wry smile on his face.

Embiid, who was gypped out of MVP again, has been eerily quiet on social media this summer. His trainer recently posted a picture of them together in the gym. Outside of that, there has been no real content to excite fans about his recovery from a torn ligament in his thumb and broken face. Why? What has Embiid been doing? Nothing, apparently.

“I’m feeling great. I was in bed all summer,” Embiid said.

Harden’s eyes perked up, then he whispered: “Literally.” Embiid continued: “But I’m feeling great. Healthy. Ready to go. Ready to compete. It’s going to be fun.”

The All-Star big man seemed in a great space mentally as he dismissed any talk of individual goals. Nikola Jokic can win a third straight MVP for all Embiid cares. His biggest goal for the 2022 campaign is winning a championship. The Sixers added the appropriate personnel – a melting pot of mental toughness — to hopefully get the job done.

“I believe we have the right pieces, obviously adding P.J. [Tucker], DeAnthony [Melton], it’s going to be a big help,” Embiid said. “And I plan on getting back to the level I was before I had all that offensive load. So, you know, I’m just excited to just go out there and compete. Whatever happens, happens. Whatever it takes, offensively and defensively.”

When a reporter asked what specifically he worked on this summer, Embiid replied: “Like I said, I was chilling on the couch. I didn’t really work on my game so we just going to have to wait and see how the season goes.” Then, the cheeky 7-footer walked off the dais for a photo shoot.

‘Unstoppable’ Pick and Roll with James Harden

Embiid was unwilling to divulge how his all-around game has grown, but was happy to provide an update on the ongoing chemistry lesson between himself and James Harden. Those two are going to be “unstoppable” on pick and rolls once again.

“We know what works. Our pick and roll was almost unstoppable. Probably unstoppable [last year],” Embiid said. “And, obviously, a lot of things change when you’re playing against teams that switch everything but we know what we have to do. And then, for us, our focus is on defense. We aim to be the best defensive team in the league. And that’s going to take all of us.”

Defense wins championships, right? Embiid believes that if the Sixers can dictate the flow on that end of the floor, then it opens everything else up. Harden can push the pace, leading to easy transition looks for Tyrese Maxey and better floor spacing for that unstoppable pick and roll. Embiid expects to dominate.

“I gotta get back to not waiting until the fourth [quarter] to be that guy, you know, doing it the whole game,” Embiid said. “And then we also need him [points at Harden] to be as aggressive as possible, and we got the pieces. For me, coming into this year, we just want to focus on that and then offensively, because if you get stops, you’re able to run … you’re able to get in transition, you’re able to get Tyrese [Masxey] going, and then, obviously, our pick and roll together, and the spacing is going to be great.”

Embiid Not Focused on Individual Goals

Traditionally, Embiid has shown up to Media Day laying out personal goals for himself. Things like NBA MVP, Defensive Player of the Year, Scoring Champion. Not this year. The only thing on his mind is stacking a chip.

“No, whatever happens, happens. That’s something I’m not worried about at all,” Embiid said about winning MVP or other personal awards. “All I’m worried about is having the best team in the league. Because when you win games everything else is going to take care of itself. So my focus, like I said, going into this year is I really want us to be the best defensive team in the league. And then offensively, I think we can easily figure it out.”

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