It has been reported by multiple media outlets that 76ers superstar big man Joel Embiid is frustrated with his new role since The 76ers acquired All-NBA guard Jimmy Butler.
Much has been made about this story the last few days. After Embiid made his frustration known this past Friday after a 76ers win over the Detroit Pistons. He did not play in the game as Brett Brown decided to rest the superstar big man Embiid.
By the time I post this article Embiid has since readdressed his comments. He stressed in his recent comments that he was not upset with the trade, but just upset with his recent performance on the court.
Prior to the trade Embiid was averaging 28 pts., 13 rebs., while shooting 48% from the field. He was attempting 11 free throws and playing 35 minutes per game. Since the trade he’s averaging 24 pts., 13 rebs., on 44% shooting from the field. His free throws attempts have gone down to 8 a game. His minutes have decreased to 33 per game.
The points have decreased for Embiid and that is to be excepted when you trade for a player of Jimmy Butlers status. The minutes have also decreased as the 76ers staff look to rest Embiid. This season he’s playing without a minutes restriction, and playing the most minutes he has ever played in his young career.
Embiid stated that he didn’t like how he was being used. He felt he was spending too many offensive possessions on the perimeter as a stretch five, and shooting too many 3s. When you look at the numbers according to Basketball Reference he was averaging 4 attempts per game prior to the trade. Since the trade he is still attempting four 3s a game.
Jimmy Butler weighed in on Embiid’s comments after the morning shootaround. He stated that he understood where he was coming from, and that he knows his heart and that Embiid wants to win. He goes on to say that Embiid is their best player and they will do whatever it takes to make sure he’s successful.
The 76ers are downplaying Embiid’s comments and chalking it up to frustration. Jimmy Butler has come out and said that there are not any problems between himself and Joel. The fire seems to be extinguished for now.
Bottom line Embiid’s production was going to take a slight dip once they acquired Butler. His field goal percentage has declined the most, and that is a product of fatigue. The last step in the maturation process of Embiid is his conditioning. Its been documented that Embiid likes to eat cheeseburgers before the game. He will get in better shape and his body will get use to playing this level of minutes per game. The addition of Butler maybe have an effect on his play, but i would content its his conditioning that is the real culprit.
Check back as we monitor this situation. The trade is not quite a month old and there is already possible trouble in paradise. For the 76ers to trade for Bulter there has to be a wink-wink deal in place for him to sign with the club long term.
With Embiid being the face and the future of the franchise it is imperative for the 76ers to keep him happy and have everyone on the same page. The 76ers are going to have to put this behind them and continue to gel if they have any aspirations of making a playoff run through a tough top-heavy Eastern Conference. Toronto, Milwaukee, and Boston all look poise to make an NBA finals run. Philly is going to need all hands on deck if they want to contend with those other teams.