Embiid appeared to be upset with Milton over a sequence before the end of the quarter. First, Milton and Embiid got mixed up defensively. Then, after giving up a bucket, Milton got the ball stolen away from him when trying to bring the ball up the court, leading to another Pacers basket.
“When you think about it, this is only our third year together playing,” he said. “A lot of people, they always expect. We’ve only played for three years. The potential that we have. And I love him and want to be with him for the rest of my career because I think he still has a lot of potential, and me too.
“We can get so much better than we are right now,” Embiid went on. “I don’t ever see the point of playing with somebody else. That’s someone I would love to play with for the rest of my career.”
This is indeed the third season that the 24-year-old Simmons and the 26-year-old Embiid have played together. Critics will point to the duo’s failure to make it out of the second round over that span as well as the perceived incompatibility between their ball-dominant, floor-shrinking play styles.
Joel Embiid may be ready to take on his final form in the Orlando bubble.
Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown told reporters on Tuesday that he has set a target of 38 minutes per game for Embiid in the playoffs, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Bodner notes that the 26-year-old center played 30 minutes per game in last year’s playoffs and 34 a game in the second round specifically.
Embiid began his NBA career on a strict minutes limit due to his history of foot injuries that kept him sidelined for his first two professional seasons. His playing time had slowly crept up to 33.7 minutes per game by last season, but it went back down to 30.2 a night before play was suspended this season.
Embiid has expressed a lack of confidence in the NBA’s bubble plan in Disney World. A high level of cooperation among all the participants is required in order to give the best chances of keeping the coronavirus out of the bubble. Embiid does not have much confidence in all the participants holding up their end.
Joel Embiid is not a fan of Orlando bubble
“But I’m not gonna let the city down or my teammates, my family. I don’t like the idea & I still don’t believe in it. I am going to do the right things. But I don’t trust those other guys to do the same. But I’ve got to do my job” pic.twitter.com/ZbwdDxJ5Vq
It almost feels like there’s even more at stake in this year’s NBA playoffs than usual. Due to the pause in NBA action, teams that will be involved in the playoffs have had extra time to think ahead and plan and consider the repercussions of what a bad playoff run could mean. Multiple superteams will feel that they don’t have an indefinite amount of time to win a championship. Players are inching closer to free agency. Some teams, as built, may not be able to continue to exist in their current form.
Which players really need to win a title sooner rather than later? These five could face serious consequences if things don’t go their way in the postseason.
The NBA stands to lose a significant amount of money from its shortened season, but Joel Embiid is one player who may have actually benefitted from the sports world coming to a screeching halt three months ago.
Embiid signed a five-year, $148 million maximum contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers back in 2017. Because of the star big man’s lengthy injury history, a clause was put into the contract stating that Embiid must play a certain number of minutes in order for the final three years and $95 million of the deal to become guaranteed. As ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne noted this week, Embiid has officially met the minutes-played criteria because of the shortened season.
The NBA and NBA Players Association recently finalized a deal that states all performance bonuses and incentives will be prorated using March 11 as the end date of the regular season. Embiid needed to play 1,650 minutes this season to fully guarantee his contract, but the minimum was lowered to below the 1,329 minutes he has already played when prorated over 65 games.
Embiid has averaged 30.2 minutes per game this season, and he would have hit the original minimum if he continued to play a similar number of minutes over the 76ers’ final 17 games. There’s always a possibility of an injury, however, and that is now something the 26-year-old does not have to worry about.
Of course, the 76ers aren’t upset to have Embiid under contract for three more years. The big man has been named an All-Star in three straight seasons and averaged 24.1 points and 11.5 rebounds per game since not playing at all his first two-plus years in the league. He’s even made some brave dietary sacrifices to remain in shape, so paying him is certainly worth the risk.
The selections for All-NBA forwards and centers present an interesting dilemma, as they strictly adhere to a two forward, one center format. In today’s position-less pace-and-space era of the NBA, it seems antiquated to require one center per All-NBA team. With the game speeding up and a premium being placed on spacing, there is a significant decrease in demand for traditional centers. Teams like the Houston Rockets don’t even believe in playing a center.
The NBA recognized this shift in basketball ideology by removing positions from the frontcourt of the All-Star ballot and allowing for three frontcourt players of any position to be named a starter. While this was a step in the right direction, no changes have been made to the format of the All-NBA teams, resulting in less deserving players on the All-NBA teams simply due to their position.