Doc Rivers, Tobias Harris open up on Sixers star Joel Embiid’s growth as a leader
The story of Joel Embiid’s career is truly one of a kind. From not picking up the game until his teenage years to missing his first two NBA seasons due to injury, it has not been an easy road to get where he is now. That said, Embiid has managed to overcome the odds and silence his doubters. He has become a perennial All-Star and among the top ten players in the league.
With each passing year, Embiid continues to find ways to better himself. The growth he has recently shown doesn’t directly pertain to the basketball court but is something the Philadelphia 76ers are ecstatic to see from their franchise cornerstone.
As the team’s best player, it is on Embiid to set the tone in everything the team does. Understanding this, he has constantly worked at improving his leadership skills. The All-Star center has always done well by leading with his actions but is now doing the same with his words.
Following the final day of training camp on Sunday, Tobias Harris touched on how Joel Embiid has grown as a leader since he arrived in Philadelphia.
“He wants to win. He wants our team to win. He wants to put us in the right position for all of us to be successful on the floor. We’ve had numerous conversations about our focus this year and where we want to go. He’s talking a lot more to different guys, pulling guys to the side. You’re just seeing him evolve as a player now, not only on the court but off the court. That’s a big key for his growth and our team growth as well,” said Harris.
Head coach Doc Rivers also credited Embiid on Sunday for the work he’s done leading the team to start this season.
“It’s just everything, what he’s saying, what he’s doing. You got to do both. You can’t do one and not the other. He’s done everything. He’s missed very few reps in practice if any. If you go 100% of practice, Joel has been there 98% of the practice. That’s leadership. He’s really doing a lot of the things that we need him to do,” Rivers said.
Taking the mantle of team leader is no small task. It’s an even tougher job when looking at the Sixers’ situation right now. Embiid has never run from a challenge. He doesn’t look to be backing down now in the team’s time of need. He understands this group needs stability on and off the floor, and he is doing everything in his power to set an example.
Improving the group of people around Joel Embiid was certainly a catalyst in this growth in leadership. Between bringing in a Hall of Fame head coach in Rivers and experienced veterans like Danny Green and Dwight Howard in 2020, Embiid has had multiple influences to help him take the next step as an NBA superstar.
After an offseason full of disarray and complication behind the scenes, it is a great sign for the Sixers that their franchise player has stepped up to help weather the storm.