The Sixers took care of some business in Los Angeles on Monday night, defeating the Clippers, 109-105. But in that victory, there was plenty of Joel Embiid trash-talking going on to the opposition. It wasn’t much different Saturday night, when the Sixers played the Golden State Warriors, and Embiid got in a few shouting matches with a few shoves here and there against the reigning NBA Champions.
There’s no doubt about it – Embiid wants to win. It’s been a while since we saw that type of competitiveness Embiid shows on the court – dare I say since the days of Allen Iverson? Embiid wants to be dominant, and it seems to be rubbing off on some other Sixers players, Ben Simmons especially, who’s got a bit of an attitude on the court now.
Our guys want to win and aren’t afraid of showing their emotions to try and do so. And I love watching it.
Speaking on his team, and Embiid specifically, Sixers head coach Brett Brown joined WIP’s afternoon show today [sporting Glen Macnow and Ike Reese because of this], and was asked about Embiid’s trash-talking and overall competitiveness on the court. Here’s what he said:
“I don’t think he’s crossed the line. You know, my nature is you don’t want that if it’s clearly crossing the line. The discipline of that where it hurts the team is, you know, the stuff that’s below the line and above the line. When it gets sort of below the line stuff and it hurts the team, that’s where we talk. And I don’t feel like he’s done that. He’s got this playful sort of unfiltered mischievousness where he likes to go places and I don’t feel like he’s gone over the line.
“I think in a crazy way, he motivates himself to back it up. He’s a personality, for sure. And lately, if he starts combining that effort, and results we saw last night, and walking that line that we’re talking about, that’s who he is. That is who he is. What he is I love and I just feel the responsibility to coach him well and see him along his NBA journey.
“How can you dump water on that spirit? He’s got a tenacity and he backs it up. He’s not afraid to talk about it and, you know, I feel like it’s not hurting the team. When it hurts the team, you know, I gotta do my job otherwise, and I don’t think it has done that. I want to let him roll.”
Brown nails it here. It’s not like Embiid is out there on the court giving some cheap shots that he’s not getting. Everybody knows sports has changed and the players have changed over the years where the whole buddy-buddy thing rubs fans the wrong way. I don’t necessarily hate it, but it’s pretty awesome that Embiid just doesn’t seem to care about making friends on the court. It could be that desire and drive that takes the Sixers to where they want to be.
Here are some highlights from last night’s game:
You can listen to the full WIP interview with Brown here.
You can follow Nick Piccone on Twitter (@nickpiccone) and e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Subscribe to his podcast on iTunes here or listen on WildfireRadio.com. Click here to read his pro wrestling articles on PhillyVoice. Follow Philly Influencer on Twitter (@PHL_Influencer), Facebook and Instagram.