That was Joel Embiid’s simple response to the Inquirer report that he weighed close to 300 pounds. It worried Bill Simmons. It didn’t worry Molly Sullivan. But it’s a legit concern. Embiid says he doesn’t weigh 300 pounds, but sources put him at at least 275. It could be an issue. Especially if his weight — which really can’t be expected to stay level considering how immobile Embiid is with his injury — ties into a bigger issue: Maturity.
The dreaded “immature” label. Many players have had it draped over them in their career, to varying levels of accuracy and impact: Allen Iverson, DeMarcus Cousins, Javale McGee, Andrew Brynum, etc. In Keith Pompey’s Inky piece, he talks to Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Embiid’s mentor, about his maturity:
“Obviously, you can see some of his immaturity [in] his tweets sometimes,” Mbah a Moute said. “But you can also understand how mature he is in certain situations the way he handled himself. . . . He’s a good kid, man.
“At the end of the day, it’s tough for him being in a situation where people can’t really see who he is as a person.”
Kyle Neubeck at Liberty Ballers put the whole thing into context, acknowledging that Embiid’s maturity can be an issue, but there are other things to be more concerned about:
The more interesting question to me than “Is he immature?” is this — how will Embiid react to frustration and failure, a hurdle he hasn’t had to clear often at lower levels of competition? When he finally plays NBA minutes, it will be one of his first opportunities to spar with giants of his caliber. He will get pushed around, hit in the mouth and not always be the largest, most physically dominant person on the floor. If he is not diligent with his approach to the game, he will get abused by grown men who understand what it takes to make it in the league.
Derek Bodner, at the same site, balances his hope for Embiid with the concern that maybe conditioning and mental drive is an issue with him. We really won’t know until Embiid is working out with high-impact drills, scrimmages, and playing in games against NBA-level competition. It’s going to be a while for that last one, so let’s just hope Embiid, if he’s under it now, can stop himself from cresting the three-bills mark. “Fat Joel” would be a pretty solid nickname though.