ICYMI: Joel Embiid joins Mike Missanelli on 97.5 to talk title chances, Simmons Saga, and Harden rumors
Today, Joel Embiid was featured on 97.5 The Fanatic to discuss the season, Ben Simmons, James Harden, his MVP case, and much more. In classic Joel Embiid fashion, he didn’t divulge too much information, but he provided insight into how he sees this team and its future.
76ers Title Chances
Embiid strongly emphasizes his belief that this team is still good enough to compete with or without Ben Simmons or a replacement. Whenever he is on the floor, he thinks he gives the Sixers a good chance to win, and there is a great vibe around the team. He said this year is the most fun that he’s had in his entire career, that everyone likes each other, and that they have a common goal of winning every night.
The elephant in the room was addressed less than 10 minutes into the conversation, and Joel Embiid revealed what seemed to be some long-standing frustration with the situation. He gracefully admitted that he thinks Simmons is acting unreasonably and shouldn’t be emotional about the situation. Missanelli asked if he would have tried to do something differently at the end of last season, and Embiid responded with “absolutely not” because he doesn’t feel like he said anything wrong. Instead, he urged Simmons to look in the mirror and try to work on his game the way everyone else on the team has.
When asked about Simmons coming back and whether or not he would want him back, Embiid danced around answering the question directly. He mentioned that he thinks the team is better with Simmons on the court, something he has explained numerous times, and that if it can help them win a title, he would want him to come back. Embiid referenced that he doesn’t hate anyone and doesn’t want problems with anyone because it would just get in the way of winning, which is the most important thing to him.
Embiid denied talking about the conversations he has shared with Simmons, but the way he responded was telling. He said that he had reached out to Simmons without saying whether or not there was a response. So the situation hasn’t seemed to weigh too much on Embiid’s shoulders, and while he obviously wants the team to be better, he appeared at peace with the way things are currently.
James Harden/Trade Deadline
Embiid did admit that he’s seen rumors online, but he confirmed that he has no idea what the front office is doing. He dismissed any notion that he is part of the decision-making process with the trade deadline coming up and wants no part of that responsibility.
When asked if he would want to play with Harden, Embiid gave a long-winded response to basically say, “of course.” He told Missanelli that anyone would like to play with a player of that caliber, and that would be the same as asking if people wanted to play with Steph Curry or Kevin Durant. Embiid actively avoided any form of tampering, saying multiple times that since Harden is a member of the Brooklyn Nets, he can’t comment on him or if he wants him to come to the Sixers. However, the trade deadline is just three days away, so the answer to these questions will come sooner rather than later.
Missanelli did show love to Embiid and his progression as a player, and he humbly accepted the praise. He credited his trainer, Drew Hanlen, and the coaching staff for putting him in a position to succeed and that he just wants to be the best version of himself. He tried not to talk about the MVP race, noting that he cared too much about it last year, and this year he is allowing the numbers to speak for themselves.
It was nice to hear from Embiid directly, as his lower profile has kept the fans from knowing how he’s actually feeling over the recent years. He’s entered this year with the “mentality that he can dominate anyone,” and he has done just that.
This team is in the hunt for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and mostly due to Embiid’s MVP caliber play, and still, he refuted the title of the “King of the City,” which Missanelli crowned him. Regardless of the teams’ moves at the deadline, Embiid is confident that if they play well, they have a chance to win it all, and it’s hard to argue with the best player in the league.