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#pounditSunday, May 26, 2024

Former NBA All-Star thinks Joel Embiid needs to make 1 big change

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

A former NBA All-Star thinks Joel Embiid might need to make one major change in order to stay healthy and prolong his career.

DeMarcus Cousins suggested on the “Headliners with Rachel Nichols” podcast that Embiid may need to drop some weight in order to stay on the floor more. While he conceded that Embiid is not overweight, Cousins added that playing at 300 pounds creates significant challenges for the lower body.

“When it comes to Joel in general, we’ve seen this story happen over and over and over again. For me, at what point do you start taking the pressure off of those knees and joints and ankles? Age is starting to get on your side, so there has to be some type of adjustment.

“I feel like, at some point, the big fella has to come down in weight. … It’s hard to play with 300-plus pounds every night. That wear and tear, eventually, is going to get the best if you. If he can’t get his health under control at some point, it’s always going to be the same story that we’ve been talking about where he’s injured in the playoffs.”

Embiid is officially listed at 280 pounds. That does make him one of the heavier seven-footers in the league, but not obscenely so. Plus, some of those who are lighter, such as Karl-Anthony Towns, have had injury issues of their own.

On the other hand, Embiid’s knee injuries are a recurring theme at this point, and he gave the 76ers a huge scare in Game 1 against the New York Knicks. Even though he is playing, he is, by his own admission, not fully healthy. That has unfortunately been a running theme throughout his career, as he was battling injuries during last year’s postseason as well.

Embiid turned 30 in March, so Cousins is correct that things are not going to get any easier on his knees going forward. Perhaps a change will ultimately be necessary.

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