Joel Embiid 'In a Space That Is Excellent' After Criticism, Says 76ers HC Brown

Adam Wells@adamwells1985Featured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2020

Philadelphia 76ers' Joel Embiid plays during an NBA basketball game against the Los Angeles Clippers, Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2020, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
Matt Slocum/Associated Press

Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown believes All-Star center Joel Embiid is in a good place amid recent criticism. 

Per Marc Narducci of the Philadelphia Inquirer, Brown spoke about where Embiid is at as the team prepares to return from the All-Star break Thursday against the Brooklyn Nets

“I think the place that interests me the most, where I see his conditioning being incrementally getting to an elite level is his head," Brown said. "I think like he is in a space that is excellent, as it relates to his excitement, seeing this final third home."

Embiid caused a stir leading up to the All-Star break with some things he did on and off the court. He appeared to shush the Philadelphia crowd after hitting a late three-pointer in the Sixers' 118-111 win over the Chicago Bulls on Feb. 9.    

"I don’t care how it looks," he told reporters after the game about the gesture. "I am just playing basketball, getting back to myself, just being a good assh--e, just playing basketball and just trying to dominate."

Embiid used the image of him shushing the crowd in an Instagram post that included the caption, "You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain."

After Jimmy Butler commented on Embiid's post about knowing "a place where villains are welcome," the 25-year-old responded: "Damn right my brother."

Embiid and the Sixers responded in resounding fashion in their final game before the All-Star break with a 110-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. He scored 26 points on 8-of-17 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds. 

The 76ers' 34-21 record is solid, but is only good enough for fifth in the Eastern Conference. They came into this season with sky-high expectations after taking the Toronto Raptors to seven games in the playoffs last year and signing Al Horford as a free agent during the offseason. 

Things haven't always gone smoothly for the Sixers at this point, but a strong second half and a deep playoff run will go a long way toward silencing their doubters. 

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