Whenever the Philadelphia 76ers’ young core is being talked about, the names of Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Dario Saric are usually the first ones being mentioned. However, there are also some who are not being included in the same sentence as the four aforementioned players, but are also capable of contributing to their cause when given the opportunity.
One of them is Justin Anderson, who will be playing his first full season for the Sixers this year, after they received him from the Dallas Mavericks as part of the Nerlens Noel trade. He was asked to give his thoughts about the composition of their team, and also discussed what he thinks of Joel Embiid. He then shared, via Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, what he admires most about him, and how his mentality can help him.
“The biggest thing that I admire about him is his mentality. His mentality and mindset are just different from most players. I believe he has a chance to be the best player to play this game because of his mentality. His mindset is, “If I want to do something, I’m going to go do it.” You see it on the court. Guys are fouling him or struggling to guard him and he’ll yell, “He can’t guard me! Get him out of the game! He’s going to foul out!” He does everything in his power to put our team in a position to win. And not only does he put up big numbers, he draws so much attention from defenses and he can get other players out of the game [due to foul trouble]. He has the mentality of a champion. Yesterday, he pulled me aside during the Heat game and he said, “We’re going to the playoffs.” And I said, “Yo, take us there!” He’s at the point now where he knows how dominant he is and he knows that nobody can guard him. And I think he’s right, nobody can guard him!”
The 23-year-old Virginia product’s comments definitely say a lot about how much he admires Embiid. Despite only playing 31 games last year for the 76ers, he was able to play at a very high level, and give their fans a lot of optimism for the team’s future. It also resulted to being offered a max contract, which he recently agreed to.
If Anderson can use Embiid’s mentality to take his game to a whole new level, he could turn out as a very important piece to their plans of making a lot of noise in the Eastern Conference. His versatility may also be key to giving head coach Brett Brown more options he can field in, and make the Sixers an even more dangerous team this season.