Prior to the start of the 2019-20 NBA campaign, Joel Embiid let the world know that one of his goals for the year was to cut back on trash talk. Embiid is one of the league’s most notorious prodders, but he stressed that he wanted to focus more on ball and less on banter, an admirable goal but one that requires cutting out something he’s really good at.
It’s led to Embiid showing a little less emotion all season long, something he admitted on Tuesday night he hasn’t done as much even though he’s not a huge fan. The Sixers beat the Denver Nuggets, 97-92, and at one point, Embiid did something he’s done a whole lot in the past — he threw his arms in the air to pump up the Philly faithful. When asked about it after the game, Embiid explained how he’s placed an emphasis on being more mature this season, especially after his fight with Karl-Anthony Towns.
There’s just one problem: Embiid wants to be a role model, but he doesn’t think it’s working right now.
Joel Embiid was asked about hyping up the crowd during today's win over the Nuggets. He took it in an unexpected direction.
"Everybody tells me that I gotta be mature. So I'm doing it. And I don't think it's working, but I'm gonna keep doing it."
Full exchange below. pic.twitter.com/66BfGs63ps
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) December 11, 2019
If any player in the NBA should understand the value of trusting a process, it’s Embiid, and leadership isn’t the kind of thing that is developed overnight. Still, Embiid being Embiid has been a huge reason for Philadelphia’s success over the last few years, and it might be worthwhile for him to find the right balance between that and being a more mature on the court.
Embiid’s numbers have been down a tick this season, as he’s averaging 22 points and 12.4 rebounds in 30.4 minutes per game. He’s had some minor injuries and a short suspension, which have certainly contributed, but perhaps letting his more mischievous side come out more will also help as he looks to find his form.