Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Joel Embiid details increased defensive responsibility

USA Today Images

Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Joel Embiid details increased defensive responsibility

CAMDEN, N.J. — This season, it sounds as if the Sixers will allow Aron Baynes to launch as many corner threes as he’d like.

In the Sixers’ playoff series against the Celtics last season, Baynes, a 6-foot-10 center who had made 5 of 24 three-pointers in the regular season and first round of the playoffs, knocked down 7 of 16 long-range attempts. As a result, the Sixers had Joel Embiid follow Baynes when he stepped out to the perimeter, instead of staying home in the middle of the defense. 

“Last year, I thought we kind of made a mistake as far as playing against Boston,” Embiid said Friday. “I wasn’t allowed to help off of Baynes, especially when he was in the corner. We had a lot of times when Boston was driving to the paint and I wasn’t in there or I was stuck in the corner because I wasn’t allowed to help."

Now, Embiid is the “commander and chief” of the Sixers’ new defensive scheme, as head coach Brett Brown puts it. That puts a lot of responsibility on him, but it also means he has to be in sync with his teammates. It’s a process everybody is still figuring out.

“With this new concept, it’s going to allow me to do basically whatever I want,” Embiid said. “If I want to go help, if I want to cut off people, it gives me that ability.

“But at the same time, it can also be horrible, because you gotta communicate. My teammates gotta cover for me, I gotta cover for them. So it’s going to take a little bit of time. Last year, we got really good defensively, so this change is big and we’re going to see how that goes.”

No surprises

A reporter asked Landry Shamet on Friday if he thought he’d surprised people with his impressive preseason. Shamet stepped into the rotation after Wilson Chandler strained his left hamstring in the preseason opener, averaging 11 points on 45 percent shooting in the Sixers’ final three preseason games. 

“If I have, I have,” Shamet said. “If not, then so be it. To me personally, the only thing I was worried about was just trying to get better. I didn’t surprise myself, that’s the way I look at it. I know what I’m capable of, and I have more in me. That wasn’t the best version of Landry Shamet even.”

The roster is set

The Sixers on Friday waived Emeka Okafor, Cory Jefferson and Darin Johnson, trimming down to their final roster of 15 plus two-way players Shake Milton and Demetrius Jackson. 

The full roster is here.

“I’m 230.”

-Joel Embiid on his weight. Embiid is listed at 260 pounds. He’s said he’s in the best physical condition of his career after his first healthy offseason. 

“The way teams were guarding me, everybody knows I’m a three-point shooter. The factor was what to do after that, so that’s where my focus was this summer. I got a lot better. My coaches have seen it, my teammates have seen it, even at points in the preseason. Putting the ball on the floor, I’m more comfortable; ball-handling has been a big key. That’s what I’ve done a lot and it shows out there, lot of hard work.”

-Robert Covington on his offseason improvement

More on the Sixers

Sixers Talk: What's next after missing out on Kyle Korver; Tobias Harris in crunch time


Sixers Talk: What's next after missing out on Kyle Korver; Tobias Harris in crunch time

Kyle Korver decided to head to the Bucks, while FiveThirtyEight's statistial model thinks the Sixers have the best chance to win the NBA Finals in 2019-20. Danny Pommells and Noah Levick discuss on this episode of Sixers Talk.

With Korver off the board, which other remaining free agents make sense for the Sixers?

Tobias Harris will have more responsibility for the Sixers in the fourth quarter this season. Can he handle it?

Plus, an explanation of Christ Koumadje's Exhibit 10 deal and a breakdown of two-way player Marial Shayok.

That and more below on this edition of Sixers Talk.

Why it makes sense that Kyle Korver signed with Bucks over Sixers

Why it makes sense that Kyle Korver signed with Bucks over Sixers

Sixers fans hoping for a Kyle Korver reunion got disappointing news Saturday afternoon.

The veteran sharpshooter is reportedly signing a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Korver’s decision was down to the Bucks and the Sixers. Ultimately, Korver chose the Bucks because of his relationship with head coach Mike Budenholzer. It makes sense. Korver enjoyed the best stretch of his career in four-plus seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, including his only All-Star appearance. The 2014-15 Hawks, which featured Sixers general manager Elton Brand and forward Mike Scott, won 60 games and got to the Eastern Conference Finals.

While the Sixers could’ve used Korver’s shooting to help space the floor, he’s 38 years old  — he’ll turn 39 in March — and would’ve occupied the team’s 14th roster spot. It’s a slight disappointment, but not a huge concern. With all things even between the Sixers and Bucks as far as both teams’ ability to contend, Korver chose to play for his former coach.

The veteran free agent pool is getting thinner, but there are a couple guys that might be able to help. Iman Shumpert is a veteran wing with championship experience. Shaun Livingston has even more of that experience from his time with the Warriors. Thabo Sefolosha is a 3-and-D type that is used to fitting into roles on winning teams.

The Sixers on Friday signed 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje to an Exhibit 10 deal, which we explained here. Koumadje is more likely getting a look for the Delaware Blue Coats than anything. The team has the minimum 13 players signed to guaranteed NBA deals. The maximum is 15.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers