I know, I know. This sounds like a very hot take that doesn’t make any sense. Let me explain.
What I saw at the end of the game on Sunday night vs the Bulls, was simply appalling. Joel Embiid hits the dagger to put the game to an end, and shushes the home crowd! He probably did this because of the recent anger from the fans from the poor performance of the 76ers. But still, there is no excuse to do this. These fans supported Embiid and the Sixers throughout the entire process, and he basically tells them to shut up. Also, he had a very short Instagram conversation with former teammate, Jimmy Butler. In this, Joel Embiid captioned his photo “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain.” Jimmy Butler then comments, “I know a place where villains are welcome” (referring to the Miami Heat) and Joel Embiid says “Damn right my brother.” This is completely unacceptable. Not only is he shushing the crowd, but he is openly talking to someone about possibly joining their team! Now, this isn’t the only reason I think Embiid should be traded, but this is the tip of the iceberg.
First, as I have been saying for over a month, Joel Embiid simply doesn’t fit with Ben Simmons. The Sixers need to build around Simmons because this is a point guard dominant league. Whether or not they can shoot, the point guard is the most important position on the court. Since Ben Simmons doesn’t have a reliable jump shot, he needs shooters around him, and Joel Embiid is not that. The Sixers don’t need a dominant center to control the paint. They have a point guard who is amazing in the paint. He needs shooters around him to succeed, not a star center who also has the same strengths as him. Honestly, he could be great with a player like Meyers Leonard or Kelly Olynyk as his center. Now obviously this would be with changing a lot of the roster, but center-wise, he needs a stretch big alongside him. Ironically, both of the centers I mentioned are on the Miami Heat. Possible blockbuster trade? The Heat have plenty of young assets and first round picks in 2021 and 2023 to possibly make a deal.
Also, Joel Embiid is injury-prone. If Joel Embiid happens to play every single game for the rest of the season, he will have his “healthiest” season, playing 66 games. Although he has missed 16 games this year, which isn’t too bad for an NBA season, he has had injuries to seven different parts of his body: ankle, lip, hip, illness, knee, hand, and neck. He isn’t out for 16 games at once, but he is out for one game here, two games there, and it messes with the team chemistry. Ben Simmons has been very healthy his entire playing NBA career. When Joel Embiid is out for a game here, a game there, Ben Simmons has to take over for the team to win. Then, it goes back to him not being aggressive with Embiid on the court with him. If Joel Embiid gets traded, Ben Simmons will be able to dominate every night, and he will become more confident and possibly try to shoot more threes.
Overall, I think Joel Embiid is an amazing center, the best in the league. But what I have been saying for over a month is still the issue that takes over the Sixers. Joel Embiid doesn’t fit with Simmons, and with this recent incident, he needs to go. Maybe he can go to Miami and everyone can be happy. The Sixers can get some young assets, a stretch big, and a couple first round picks for Embiid. Jimmy Butler can reunite with his favorite teammate from the Sixers, and Ben Simmons can finally feel like he has his own team built around him.