Turns out the Sixers beat is pretty easy.
You show up, wait for Joel Embiid to speak, and see what happens.
Today he told reporters that he’s not happy with his minutes restriction.
“That’s fucking bullshit,” the center said. “I wish I was playing more minutes. I think I’m ready for more than whatever number they have. But I don’t know. I wish I was playing more, but we’re gonna see how that goes.”
Embiid, now sporting cornrows, was asked whether he can appeal to the coaches and medical staff. He reiterated that he hopes he has a say in the decision making process.
“I always think I have a voice. I’m sure they’re listening to what I have to say, too. But them making a decision on what they think, then that’s bullshit.”
As far as when Embiid’s minutes are determined, that seems to be a fluid game-time type of thing.
“I think they’re talking about it right now,” Embiid added. “I think the number is going to be 16, or something like that. I played about that (much) in preseason and I felt great. I played most of that in the first half and my body felt great. I still have to get in game shape, but I think I’m ready for more.”
Embiid says he needs repetition but thinks he can get back to where he was after a few weeks. He said he had hoped to play about 24 minutes on opening night and that he’s communicated to the team everything that he told the media on Tuesday.
“It depends how I feel. Some days my body is gonna respond (differently) and I’m going to be tired. But I (felt good) from the experience I had from two preseason games, and I felt great in practice. I’ve been pushing myself and doing a lot of work just to keep my body up. But, as long as my body feels good, I should just play. It’s frustrating, but once again you’ve just got to trust the process.”
Embiid also noted that he’ll lose some of the offseason weight he gained simply by playing basketball. He said he didn’t think he would get in game shape just by “running on the treadmill.”
Brett Brown spoke earlier Tuesday about the topic, before Embiid met with media.
“Joel Embiid and coach Brown are all receivers of a medical staff’s direction,” he explained. “Then it’s, I do this with him, ‘okay Joel, we have a hundred dollars, how are we going to spend it?’ I learned a lot last year where you think it’s smart to like save four minutes in a game to end it for him. But the canyons in between where he just sits there and sits there, and he’s just going to come in and save the day, I don’t know if I like that. I think if you saw us just play him, and we’re going to figure this out, but it’s on my mind, do we just spend our money and get you more money the next game? So it’s play him regularly and go from that base, versus he sits forever and then he comes in and saves the day, then ‘oops, it goes to overtime, sorry you can’t play against Memphis in overtime.’ We’re all just receivers of that information. Now, what you see in Jo is that he’s prideful. He wants to show the fans, ‘I want to play!’ He just got a contract. He’s worth all of this. He’s worth every dime of it. But, he’s competitive. It’s the thing we love most about him. He wants to play basketball. But everybody around him, it’s (about) how do we deliver him to April and May, we hope. How do you let him play as many NBA minutes as you can? The correlation of him on the floor versus not on the floor is dramatic.”
Never would’ve guessed that Embiid hated having a minutes restriction… pic.twitter.com/GYkfJQWtBi
— Matt Mullin (@matt_mullin) October 17, 2017
Embiid, to his credit, was understanding of the idea that it’s difficult to spread out those limited minutes considering the flow of a typical NBA game.
“It’s tough,” he admitted. “It’s tough on the coaches. I don’t know how you do that because I’m sure coach wants me to finish the game, but that’s like me only playing four minutes a quarter and just sitting there getting cold, my body not being ready to go, if I wait 8 to 10 minutes then have to go finish. If I started in the third quarter I’d have to sit like literally 16 minutes before I have to go back in the game. That’s tough on the coaches and my body too. I think the concept of minutes restriction is kind of complicated. I don’t think there should be minutes restrictions, I think it should always be about how my body feels and how its reacting, or if I’m tired. If I’m tired, I’m sure they’re going to see it, then they have the right to pull me out. We just gotta work through it.”
Brown emphasized that everything is being done on amicable terms, despite Embiid’s displeasure and the unending media inquest.
“I’m hardened,” he laughed. “I’m like punch drunk to everybody’s questions. And it’s all good. I get it. But just so people understand how this thing happens, we all wait, we get direction from the people paid to do this, and Jo and I figure out what that’s going to look like. Then we do it.”
“It’s done in good spirit. We all want the same thing. It’s just part of what we have to go through at this early stage of the year.”