Joel Embiid Eager To Compete For NBA Title After Paul George Trade

Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers, NBA News
Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

As is customary for any NBA champion, the Boston Celtics look unbeatable. They are the clear favorites going into next season; it is hard to envision them losing. The team retaining almost the entirety of its roster at a time when the CBA prohibits teams from such a scenario certainly adds to its strength.

But the team isn’t without challenges. The whispers were loud throughout their playoff run, during which they were disposing of teams left and right. “Easy run” and “injured opponents” were all critiques that the team had to power through. While unfair, the criticism wasn’t without merit.

Through 3 rounds, Boston went through the Miami Heat without Jimmy Butler, the Cleveland Cavaliers without Donovan Mitchell (for three of five games), and the Indiana Pacers without Tyrese Haliburton (for 4 of 5 games). That is the entire Eastern Conference bracket without its best player for some time.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Also, names like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Joel Embiid, who are seen as the best players in the East, either missed (in Giannis’ case) or were hurt (for Embiid). For many, those barometers were legitimate asterisks on the Celtics Championship.

As a result, going into next season, many expect a harder path for Boston on their quest to repeat. Healthy versions of these players and teams could wrench the Celtics’ plan for a dynasty. However, one team has gone above and beyond to emerge as a larger threat.

The Joel Embiid revenge tour

Due to the Joel Embiid injury, Philly has always been a question mark come the playoffs. As mentioned above, last season was no different, with Embiid playing the entire first round nursing an injury. However, the 76ers have been extremely productive through the first few weeks of the offseason. Getting rid of the Tobias Harris albatross of a contract, Philadelphia instead sought an upgrade.

Alongside Joel and MIP Tyrese Maxey, the team searched for a quintessential wing to round out the Big 3. GM Daryl Morey found the perfect dance partner in Paul George, whose negotiations with the Los Angeles Clippers had gone down the drain. A few conversations later, Philly had its newest star at 4 years and $212 million.

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

One of the best do-it-all wings in the game today, George offers the 76ers a ton of what they missed last season. As a nearly 40% shooter for the last 7 seasons, Paul offers the kind of spacing necessary around the 2022 NBA MVP. Further, as a consistent All-Defensive caliber defender, George also fills that hole for Philadelphia. In addition, as a secondary creator, the 9-time All-Star can cook up offense for himself and others.

Now, with JoJo, PG, and the newly resigned Maxey, the team has a bonafide Big 3. But the team hasn’t been stagnant. Beyond the 3, Morey has done an incredible job of building a competent roster of veterans and youth. In Jared McCain, the team got a blue-chip prospect in the draft.

Beyond McCain, they also signed Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andre Drummond on discount deals to bolster their depth. In Eric Gordon, a Daryl Morey favorite, they get additional shooting and some veteran leadership. The roster has a specific franchise cornerstone, and the MVP candidate feels fantastic.

Joel Embiid dives deep into self-doubt and outlook for legacy

Usually comical in his interviews, Embiid gave an insight into his perception of his legacy. Revealing how the trials and tribulations of yesteryear affected him, Joel was wholly honest about the lack of success and how he wanted to change his view about his career.

“I’d be lying to say that patience wasn’t tested,” Embiid told ESPN. “Because I’m at the point where there are no awards, there’s no regular season or no All-NBA or All-Stars is going to change the way my legacy is. Well, there’s a few things that can change it, but the main one is the championship. So when you start thinking about what you want to be remembered as, you want to be remembered as someone that’s won.”

NBA NEWS & TRADE RUMORS: Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers Updates

Thanks to the newest deals by Philly, Embiid walks into the season with arguably his best shot yet of capitalizing on his dream. “Yeah, I think as far as the fit, it looks amazing,” Embiid told ESPN. “It is great, especially when you got a big … I don’t like to call myself a big, but when you got a player that posts up and that isos quite a bit, you need to have willing shooters and guys that are not afraid to pull the trigger. PG, great shooter, 40%, 45 catch and shoot; Tyrese, we know great shooter, off the dribble, catch-and-shoot.

For the Philadelphia 76ers, the end goal is clear as day. As Joel reiterates, “the goal is always to win a championship, but it just doesn’t happen overnight. And hopefully, it doesn’t take us as much time as it should when you’re trying to bring up everybody on the same page and making sure everybody knows their role and what they got to do to make sure that we achieve that goal.”

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