CAMDEN, N.J. — Physically, Joel Embiid has changed. He’s lost 20 pounds and said Monday he’s more focused than ever on his body and conditioning because, “I feel like if I take care of that stuff, basketball is going to be easier.”

He came into Day 1 of training camp Tuesday with another noticeable physical change — his hairstyle.

Keith Pompey of The Inquirer got a good shot of Embiid’s new look.

Ben Simmons was a fan of the cornrows.

“Love it,” he said. “It’s the best haircut on the team. Rob Covington used to have it.”

Brett Brown, meanwhile, paused at a question about Embiid’s hair in the midst of talking about integrating Josh Richardson and Al Horford, being impressed by Trey Burke and the “spirit of the gym” on what he said was his best opening day of training camp as the Sixers’ head coach.

“I don’t even notice,” Brown said. “I’ll tell you what I loved — I loved his physical conditioning, I loved his adamance to get to the rim. I should be scolded for not paying attention to hairstyles, but I was more impressed with his body and his mentality of trying to get deep catches. I really noticed that.”

Though Brown has said the emphasis with Embiid offensively will be deep touches in the post, the big man wrapped up practice by working on his three-point shooting, as he often does. 

 

Once he was finished, he strolled over to talk with a crowd of reporters, and smiled when told of Brown’s reaction to his hairstyle. 

“That’s good, because we’re focused on winning a championship,” he said. “That’s what we care about it, and I don’t think we should focus on anything else or ‘does he have a new hairline?’ It doesn’t matter.”

With Embiid, the cornrows are indeed of negligible importance compared to his physical health. He said Tuesday that, after rehabbing the left knee tendinitis that nagged him throughout the playoffs last season, he’s doing well in that respect.

“It was good,” he said of a practice which Brown described as “purposeful” and Horford praised for its intensity. “Obviously it’s going to take some time to get back into the flow of the game because of limited action during the summer. But it was good. They kind of limited me a little bit, but I felt great.”

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