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76ers' Embiid Embraces New Roster with Optimism Amid Championship Pursuit

Posted : 08 July 2024

A year ago, the Philadelphia 76ers faced an uncertain future. James Harden had demanded a trade, Tyrese Maxey had yet to establish himself as a full-fledged All-Star, and both the 76ers and Joel Embiid, the reigning NBA Most Valuable Player, were coming off another disappointing second-round playoff exit.

 

The message from the franchise, particularly from 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, to Embiid was clear: be patient, and they would build a championship-level team. While the acquisition of Paul George in free agency this offseason, a move made possible by judicious resource management over the past year, was a significant step, Embiid admitted to ESPN that he wasn't always confident the plan would work out.

 

Embiid acknowledged that his patience was tested, given his focus on securing a championship to cement his legacy. "I'd be lying to say that patience wasn't tested," Embiid told ESPN. "I'm at the point where no awards, regular season achievements, or All-Star appearances will change my legacy. The main thing is the championship." Despite the doubts, the 76ers managed to execute their plan by trading Harden to the LA Clippers, along with P.J. Tucker, for expiring contracts and draft capital, thereby creating the cap space necessary to sign a max free agent like George.

 

Although Embiid refrained from declaring whether he, George, and Maxey formed the NBA's best big three, he expressed confidence in their potential on the court. "Yeah, I think as far as the fit, it looks amazing," Embiid said.

 

 He praised George and Maxey as willing shooters who could play both on and off the ball, complementing his own playing style. "On paper, it looks fantastic because you got both guys that can play off the ball, and they can play on ball and they're great shooters and they can handle the ball, and then you also got me," he added with a smile.

 

Embiid's excitement also stemmed from the belief that George's addition and Maxey's emergence would alleviate some of the pressure on him to dominate every night. Coming off a season where he averaged 34.7 points per game in 39 games despite a knee injury, Embiid felt optimistic about the new dynamic. "It makes me excited because I think that actually might keep me healthy," Embiid said. He emphasized that having other capable scorers would allow him to rest more during the regular season and preserve his energy for the playoffs.

 

Looking ahead, Embiid acknowledged the challenges of integrating a vastly different roster but remained focused on the ultimate goal. "It feels like you're starting from scratch," he said. "And I know there's going to be a lot of growing pains. But you just got to stick it together. The goal is always to win a championship, but it just doesn't happen overnight." As the 76ers prepare for another season with a talented, yet new roster, Embiid and his teammates will need time to gel and understand their roles to achieve their championship aspirations.

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