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Joel Embiid on 76ers' Hot Streak: 'There's Really No Urgency to Change Anything'

Tim Daniels@@TimDanielsBRFeatured Columnist IVJanuary 15, 2022

Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid downplayed the need for the Sixers to make a significant deal before the 2022 NBA trade deadline on Feb. 10.

Embiid discussed the team's outlook after tallying 25 points, 13 rebounds and six assists in a 111-99 victory over the Boston Celtics on Friday night, which was the 76ers' eighth win in their last nine games:

"When I look at where we are when we've got most of the team healthy, especially me in the lineup, I think we are 21-9. That's not bad. That's up there with the best records in the NBA. All that tells me is we just got to stay healthy, keep doing what we've been doing...these guys just allow me to do what I do best offensively and defensively.
"I feel pretty good. I don't think we've played our best basketball yet, we still got a long way to go, we're missing guys here and there that could really help us. There's really no urgency to change anything. We've got everything we need, we're going to keep on going and I'm happy."

The Sixers have been in the spotlight ahead of the deadline because of continued questions about the future of Ben Simmons, who's yet to play during the 2021-22 season while awaiting a possible move.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday a meeting was held between 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey, general manager Elton Brand and Simmons' agent, Rich Paul, about the situation, but it brought the team "no closer to a potential trade."

Paul told the Philly brass Simmons continues to desire a trade and "mental health hurdles" prevent a return to the Sixers, while the front office reiterated its goal of seeking "top 25-caliber players" in return for the All-Star point guard, per Woj.

The 25-year-old LSU product is the team's most valuable trade chip and, with the 76ers playing so well with the deadline looming, it's possible the franchise doesn't make anything beyond some minor depth moves if a Simmons blockbuster doesn't materialize.

Embiid said after Friday's game he's confident the roster is strong enough even without a major addition to accomplish the team's goals this season:

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"I think so. I think we all got to be our best and when we are at our best I think we can beat anybody. We've seen it a couple of times this year. I just think we need to, I need to keep doing what I've been doing. And then obviously we need consistency from everybody, not just Tobias [Harris], Tyrese [Maxey] and Seth [Curry], or Danny [Green], you know, guys coming off of the bench, getting Shake [Milton] back. We need consistency, everybody coming in every single night with the goal of just doing their job, chipping in offensively and defensively, just playing together, and we'll be fine."

Although the Sixers own a solid 24-17 record, they rank a modest 12th in ESPN's Basketball Power Index and own just a 5 percent chance of winning this year's NBA title, per FiveThirtyEight.

Those numbers suggest Philadelphia would strongly benefit from a blockbuster Simmons trade that brings in at least one more high-level player to pair with Embiid if the team wants to make a serious run toward a championship in the playoffs.

That said, the 76ers haven't been willing to back down from their sky-high demands for Simmons, and the franchise center sounds content to chase a title with the roster as it stands.

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