Time Is Money: Joel Embiid Has No Right To Be Mad About Team’s Decision

Dan O'Shea

There isn’t a single player in the league as mesmerizing and perplexing at the same time than Joel Embiid. He has become the biggest mythological being in the NBA, receiving national attention and love from fans far and wide despite his constant injury struggles. The man is easy to love by winning essentially every single feud he’s ever been in, but the only one he is completely wrong about is the internal battle with his own team. It’s come to the point where it’s Embiid’s turn to trust the process.

Embiid has embraced every single part of the process and has adopted it as his alter-ego. He wants fans to believe in the Sixers and the potential this team has with the core of Markelle Fultz, Ben Simmons, and himself. Unfortunately, it’s been hard to get a real taste. Despite how good he’s been when he’s been on the court, Embiid has only played 31 career games prior to this season and Simmons missed all of last year with an injury. The Process may seem like a fun thing to get behind, but it’s been nothing but a mirage until this now. Or, at least that’s what we thought.

Now, its time for a quick pop quiz. How do you think Embiid will handle this brand new situation where he can’t play as much as he’d like despite building this team up like they were world eaters even though they’re more like the world’s most worn-out game of Jenga?

Do you think he’ll…

A) Handle it with class, put faith in the organization that literally designed their rebuild plan based on trust, and become the leader of this team.
B) Answer “No Comment” and for the first time in his extremely young career have no response to something.
C) Curse out the team and completely go against their decision.
D) Somehow link it to LaVar Ball and say you’re going to investigate his family tree on Ancestry.com so you can dunk on everyone who shares the same blood with him.

If you selected “D”, then you have a fantastic imagination and are someone who truly wants to see the best in the world, but unfortunately, you are incorrect. For those who answered “C”, please come down to select your prize.

There may be some people who aren’t the best at reading in between the lines, so to avoid any sort of confusion there may be, Embiid said his restriction is “f**king bulls**t.” That’s right, the dude who has played a grand total of 786 minutes ever since he was drafted in 2014 is pissed off that the Philadelphia doctors aren’t pushing for him to take on a full workload. In comparison, Embiid has played 164 fewer minutes than the duration of the 2005 comedy “Welcome to New York”. That sounds like an awfully long movie and an incredibly short NBA career.

His body is clearly not ready for a lot of minutes, especially after an offseason where his health was in question. The big man may have dropped one of George Carlin’s seven words you can’t say on National television, but he’s just frustrated with the fact that he believes his body can do more.

You have to appreciate the fact that he wants to be on the court, which Philly fans probably do. If there’s a single reason to like Embiid, they’ll find it. People might be fired up that he’s the passionate kind of player who will speak his mind and come up with some jokes that will go viral every single day, but there’s a simple solution here. Instead of cursing out your team’s plan, why not actually talk to your Head Coach first?

The Sixers’ first and only mistake was how they phrased it. There are certain things in life you have to sugar coat. You never call a woman fat, you never tell anybody what is actually in a hotdog, and you never bluntly go against a diva’s wishes. Calling Embiid a diva may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not the most insane thing in the world. What they should’ve done is pitch this idea to Embiid like it was his own.

It’s not the most difficult thing in the world. “Hey Embiid, put down your phone and get off Twitter for a second, I want to talk to you. You’re really important to us this year, you’re our backbone. We want the most out of you, so what should we do if you’re tired?”

“Well, coach Brown, when I’m tired I’ll stop playing.”

Done. Did that seem like rocket science to anyone, or was that as simple as convincing a toddler to brush their teeth? You can call it a rigid number, you can call it a range, you can call it whatever your heart desires. That still doesn’t change the fact that the man isn’t on the court because he hasn’t proven himself deserving of the minutes.

This clearly has nothing to do with his talent. He’s one of the few remaining big men left in the game and has developed his talent to fit into the style of NBA today. That doesn’t change the fact that he has the knees of an 80-year old man and spends less time around the court than DMX. Instead of riding the big man like he’s Shaq and relying on his like he’s the only player on the team, Philadelphia is trying to get the most out of their big man. Is it what you want out of a star player, of course not. It’s still not as dramatic as Embiid’s making it out to be.

While the majority of NBA players do play back-to-backs since it’s their job, that doesn’t mean Embiid is any less of a professional. He isn’t a college basketball player now or a semi-pro. In fact, he’s being treated like the centerpiece that he is. Everyone knows there are few players in the league that have as much potential as he does. People just want to move on from thinking they know how good he is by confirming he’s the game changer he perceives to be.

There has never been a time in the NBA where fans have widely accepted someone as a star while still waiting to see their full potential. It would be like preordering tickets for the newest Star Wars movie and already claiming it was the best based off of the trailers you saw on YouTube. Sure it looks great, but you truly have absolutely no idea. People won’t ever know if Embiid is truly great until he plays the majority of a season.

It’s almost ridiculous to think Embiid said anything in the first place. He claims he wants to play more minutes and flips out whenever the phrase “minute restrictions” comes across his radar, yet is actually too tired to be in the game for an extended period of time.

So let’s break this down. Embiid is mad he can’t play as much as he wants to, but his body isn’t in the condition to handle the maximum amount of minutes. This dude is definitely a diva.

It shouldn’t have to come down to how tired he is or how coaches and those around him phrase the gameplan. What should matter is the view for the future. The whole point of getting the young talent towards the top of the draft is to complete the process. That can’t happen if Embiid doesn’t reach that lofty potential, which is why he needs to stay on the court. The Sixers clearly believe in him considering they just shelled out $148 million to prove their commitment to him.

Is it something that could change for the Sixers? Absolutely. This isn’t a decision that is set in stone for the rest of the season. There’s plenty of time and will be thousands of chances for Embiid to prove he can handle big minutes. Until that time comes, there is absolutely no reason to push his body during meaningless October games. It’s time for Embiid to sit back, relax, and drink his own Kool Aid. Trust the process.