On Monday, Joel Embiid spoke about Ben Simmons publicly for the first time in a while. His comments were revealing and a glimpse into the relationship between the two Philadelphia 76ers teammates. One of the main takeaways is that Embiid thinks Simmons' negative reaction to criticism following the 2021 NBA postseason was completely unreasonable.
After the Sixers lost Game 7 of an incredible close Eastern Conference semifinals series against the Atlanta Hawks, everyone went after Simmons. He was awful and passed up several easy buckets for god knows what reason. The Inside the NBA crew went after him hard:
Embiid also went after Simmons without naming him. Saying the following about Simmons turning down a wide open dunk attempt to pass the ball to Tobias Harris:
"I'll be honest. I thought the turning point was when we -- I don't know how to say it -- but I thought the turning point was just we had an open shot and we made one free throw and we missed the other and then they came down and scored.
"We didn't get a good possession on the other end and Trae came back and he made a three and then from there down four, it's on me. I turned the ball over and tried to make something happen from the perimeter. But I thought that was the turning point."
Now Embiid is saying he never called out Simmons, he just talked about things that happened. Riiiight.
When asked if Simmons' reaction to those comments was unreasonable, Embiid emphatically claimed that it was.
Then Embiid attempted to reel things back in and be diplomatic by claiming the Sixers are better with Simmons on the floor.
This whole exchange is very telling. It's pretty clear Embiid thinks Simmons is pretty soft for not being able to take criticism, but knows he needs him to win a championship. As we've all known for years, this pairing is never going to work out.