Did Joel Embiid Quietly Throw Shade at Ben Simmons?

The past few seasons, the Philadelphia 76ers have dominated headlines. Just last year, the team was recognized by the NBA as the franchise with the most outstanding, promising young talent. Since the summer, the Philly team acquired several rookies like Marial Shayok and Norvel Pelle.

But the 76ers were already receiving a lot of attention due to two players on the roster: Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. However, Embiid’s recent comment in an interview is making people wonder if it was Embiid’s way of throwing shade at his teammate.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons’ history with the 76ers

In his fourth season playing for the 76ers, Embiid joined the team in 2016. Just one season later, Simmons officially joined the roster. Both athletes are dominant players, so people were eager to see which would emerge as the “team leader.”

In an ESPN interview, Simmons did his best to give generalized responses and avoid questions about leadership. But he also expands on his inside info about what it’s like to work with Embiid. It is safe to say the two players have gotten to know one another on and off the court.

Embiid and Simmons are often at the core of the conversations surrounding the youthful but impressive team. In 2018, Fansided included both athletes in its “25-under-25” list compiling the youngest, most talented NBA players.

It seems like having them both Embiid and Simmons on a team is the perfect plan. Lately, however, the dynamic between them is being seriously questioned.

Joel Embiid’s recent post-game comments

Embiid had a lot to say after their ­­­­­game against the Indiana Pacers on New Year’s Eve. When speaking with reporters about the starting lineup’s struggles, Embiid indicated that the poor performance was the result of plays that take place within comfort zones, according to Philly Voice.

More specifically, Embiid went on to say, “Meaning that, if you’ve got to space and shoot it, you’ve got to do it. We need everybody to buy into that and we’ll be fine.”

Former NBA star Jalen Rosa broke down Embiid’s comments. As he explained, this is a classic case of reading between the lines. After hearing Embiid’s statement, naturally, people begin wondering who are the individuals who aren’t buying into this?

Unfortunately, fans didn’t have to think too hard to realize Embiid was most likely speaking about Simmons. Simmons’ tendency to shoot outside of the paint has been a hot topic since the 2019-20 NBA season started.

Are people overreacting?

Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers walk to the bench
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers walk to the bench | Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Embiid’s comments have generated a lot of speculation, but are people overreacting? After all, he never mentioned Simmons’ name specifically. Regardless of who Embiid meant, putting any teammate on blast won’t help morale and motivation.

Now more than ever is the time for the Philadelphia 76ers to act as a team and work as a united front. With the 2020 NBA Playoffs on the horizon, the loss against Indiana really hurt. Not to mention that it added to the team’s current losing streak.

Embiid’s recent comment didn’t seem to help the 76ers. But fans are hopeful to see the team come out on top. He and Simmons are both very talented. Despite Embiid’s questionable words, NBA fans are curious to see what the future has in store for the pair as well as the 76ers.