As the Boston Celtics will tell you, adding an All-Star to your lineup comes with growing pains.
And Joel Embiid is feeling the brunt of them in Philadelphia, it seems.
The 76ers center admitted Friday in no uncertain terms he's not happy with how head coach Brett Brown has used him since Philly traded for swingman Jimmy Butler.
"I haven’t been myself lately,” Embiid said, via Philly.com's Keith Pompey. “I think it’s mainly because of the way I’ve been used, which is I’m being used as a spacer, I guess, a stretch five, which I’m only shooting (29) percent (from 3-point range)."
Embiid didn't play Friday night in the Sixers' win over the Detroit Pistons after averaging just 13.7 points over his previous three contests. He shot just 33.3 percent from the floor (14-for-42) while going 1-for-9 from beyond the arc.
Philly's new offensive sets with Butler apparently station Embiid on the perimeter more often than he'd like, however.
"It seems like the past couple games, like with the way I play, our setup, (Brown) always has me starting on the perimeter … and it just really frustrates me. My body feels great, and it’s just I haven’t been playing well.”
Brown, meanwhile, said he "(didn't) see the connection of Jimmy having much to do with spacing," noting defenses often crowd Embiid when he gets the ball in the paint.
Embiid's frustrations aren't really harming the Sixers, who have won nine of their last 11 games. But just as Boston needed to find its offensive identity after Gordon Hayward's return, Philly may have to find a better way to utilize Embiid with Butler in the mix.
The Celtics, who have won four straight and trail the Sixers by just 2 1/2 games for the Eastern Conference's No. 3 seed, will be paying close attention.
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