Columnist: Embiid Fragile, Unprofessional, Out Of Shape

Joel Embiid could be Tim Duncan, Marcus Hayes says, but he isn't willing to sacrifice

Ferrall On The Bench
May 09, 2019 - 9:26 am

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The Philadelphia 76ers’ season could come to an end Thursday night, and if it does, many will fault Joel Embiid, who was non-existent in Games 4 and 5 against Toronto, combining for just 24 points and a whopping 10 turnovers.

“When he’s right, he can be dominant, but I think he’s learning this season it takes a lot of effort to be right in the NBA when you play as many minutes as he does at the size he plays,” Philadelphia Inquirer & Daily News columnist Marcus Hayes said on Ferrall on the Bench. “He needs to be in better shape, he needs to get more sleep, he needs to be better with his body, and he needs to eat right. He needs to be a more professional basketball player because that’s his profession. He’s a professional basketball player, but he’s just not very professional about it, whether he’s on the court or off the court. He taunts, he clowns, he trolls – just play ball. Play ball and win, and everything else will take care of itself.”

Hayes said that Embiid has missed, been on a minutes restriction, or had some type of injury in 80 percent of his career games. Eighty percent.

“It’s exhausting, and it’s never-ending,” Hayes said. “He’s fragile. He doesn’t seem interested in playing winning basketball. He seems interested in marketing Joel Embiid. He seems interested in being The Process more than he seems interested in being Tim Duncan and being the best big man in the game for 10 years. And he can be that. He can be that guy and make that difference. But he has to be fit, and he has to be focused – and he’s never been either of those things.”

With Embiid under the weather, Ben Simmons hasn’t picked up the slack. He’s averaging just 9.4 points per game in the series and has attempted just four free throws in five games.

“He is terrified of getting fouled and having an embarrassing shooting motion at the free-throw line,” Hayes said. “He needs a sports psychologist and a shooting coach. It’s an embarrassment to Ben Simmons (that he’s in) his third NBA season (and) doesn’t want to get fouled because he’s embarrassed of his shooting stroke – and he doesn’t shoot outside. He’s just scared to get fouled because he doesn’t want the pressure of being on the line.”

If the 76ers do not come back and win the series, Brett Brown could be fired.

“The owner has said Brett Brown has to do more than he did last year,” Hayes said. “Elton Brand said, ‘I gave Brett Brown these players at the trading deadline and Jimmy Butler in November. We should get to the Eastern Conference Finals.’ I don’t know how they walk those back.”

Click below to listen to Hayes’ interview in its entirety.