76ers

Before facing Sixers, JJ Redick gives insight on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

Before facing Sixers, JJ Redick gives insight on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons

JJ Redick watched Joel Embiid’s 38-point, 13-rebound performance Thursday night in the Sixers’ win over the Celtics at TD Garden. He just didn’t have the sound on, and claims he only had a vague awareness of the criticism Embiid had received from Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal the night before.

“Saw a headline on ESPN and heard a little bit of dialogue last night,” Redick said Friday at Wells Fargo Center after a shootaround with his new team, the New Orleans Pelicans. “I had the game on mute because [Chris] Webber was doing it. I didn’t hear a lot of that.”

However, Redick said he wasn’t surprised by Embiid’s response. The 35-year-old sharpshooter departed the Sixers this summer in free agency after two seasons with the team to sign a two-year, $26.5 million deal with the Pelicans. Before leaving for New Orleans, he said he spoke with Embiid following the pain of the Sixers’ last-second Game 7 loss to the Raptors in the second round of the playoffs.

I think Joel has matured a lot. As a young player, you have to go through some struggles. You saw the emotion last year with the loss to Toronto. Him and I spoke at length this summer prior to me going to the Pelicans. But in sort of late May, early June, we had a discussion. And I know that it hurts, I know that it matters to him, I know that he cares. I know that he wants to be great. 

The Sixers’ offense has changed significantly with the subtractions of Redick and Jimmy Butler, and the additions of Josh Richardson and Al Horford. They’ve gone from having the most handoff possessions in the NBA last year to the seventh-most this year. “Bully ball” is now the team’s core identity — after having the second-most post-ups in the league in 2018-19, the Sixers already have 128 more than the Lakers, who are No. 2 in post-up possessions. 

Redick was his usual self as he prepared to face his old team and answered questions about them — insightful and, on occasion, slightly snarky. 

“Yeah, I think your offensive strategy should be based on your personnel and maximizing the talents of your best players. So, if you have Joel Embiid on your team, you should post the ball — for sure,” he said with a bit of a smirk.

He acknowledged that tonight’s game “means a little more to him,” and said he’s been following the Sixers’ 19-7 start. 

“I’m enjoying seeing what they’re doing,” he said. “It’s weird to say this, but I’m enjoying their success — I really am. I will always pull for any Brett Brown-coached team and obviously love Joel and Ben and Tobias and all those other guys that I was with for the last few years.”

One thing that Redick has especially enjoyed is watching Ben Simmons make the first two regular-season threes of his NBA career. Redick is 18th in NBA history with 1,782 made threes and pushed for Simmons to expand his game. 

“I think he’s become better defensively — he’s a problem on that end of the floor,” Redick said. “When he’s really engaged, he’s as good as there is defensively. He’s shooting the ball a little more comfortably now. I’ve been advocating for him to shoot the ball for a couple years, but it’s good to see him take those shots in a game and knock them down.” 

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Sixers' Joel Embiid named All-Star starter for third consecutive season

Sixers' Joel Embiid named All-Star starter for third consecutive season

Joel Embiid is again one of the 10 best players in the NBA, according to fans, a panel of media members and his fellow players.

The Sixers’ center was named an All-Star starter on Thursday for the third consecutive season.

Starters were determined by the votes of fans (50 percent weight), media members (25 percent) and players (25 percent). 

Embiid has averaged 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists per game for the 29-17 Sixers. He’s been sidelined for the past eight games with a torn ligament in the ring finger of his left hand. If Embiid is unable to play in the All-Star Game, which will take place on Feb. 16 in Chicago, then Commissioner Adam Silver will select an injury replacement. 

Though his scoring is down from last season, the Sixers have still been a much better team with Embiid on the floor than with him off it.

He’s second in the NBA in defensive win shares per game and fourth in defensive rebounding percentage (minimum 20 games played, 15 minutes per game). Lineups with Embiid have a 99.5 defensive rating, while lineups without him are at 106.9. 

It’s been an eventful year so far for Embiid, who’s been suspended for a fight and subsequent social media barbs, called load management “BS,” publicly grappled with questions about how to balance maturity and dominance, and sustained a nauseating injury.

Though the Cameroonian big man has said he cares most about being healthy and at his best for the playoffs, he now has another personal accolade.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Derrick Rose? Danilo Gallinari? Addressing the latest trade rumors

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NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Derrick Rose? Danilo Gallinari? Addressing the latest trade rumors

On this edition of the Sixers Talk podcast presented by Wilmington University, Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss the latest trade rumors, the latest injury news and the brutal schedule before the All-Star break.

• Do the Sixers have a chance to land Danilo Gallinari? Is Derrick Rose the best fit? Is Marcus Morris an option?

• Josh Richardson is now on the shelf. Who picks up the slack with the team down two starters?

• Have you seen the schedule before the break? Yikes.

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