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The way Sixers’ Joel Embiid can be ‘the baddest guy on the planet,’ per Doc Rivers

Sixers, Joel Embiid, Doc Rivers

Sixers star Joel Embiid averaged 23 points and 11.6 rebounds per game, but 2019-20 was, undoubtedly, a disappointing season for the Philadelphia 76ers and their All-Star center.

Embiid struggled with his fitness, night-to-night defensive commitment, and general effort. His numbers dramatically dipped from the year prior, and the 26-year old failed to make an All-NBA team for the first time since 2017 — something he’s clearly still irked about.

Even worse, the Sixers easily bowed out in the bubble, as they were swept by the Boston Celtics in the first round.

Three months later, Philly is hoping its new head coach and leading voice in the room, Doc Rivers, can maximize Embiid’s productivity.

Rivers believes the three-time All-Star has another gear to his game if he’s willing to put in the work.

“I told Joel he should show up every night and say, ‘I’m the baddest guy on the planet,'” Rivers told ESPN’s Jackie MacMullan. “To do that, he needs to be consistent, to be willing to do extra work, to go all out in practice.”

Rivers is also expecting big things out of his other All-Star, Ben Simmons, but not necessarily from three-point range. Instead, Rivers wants Simmons to focus on doing what he does best: attacking the rim.

“Ben just needs to get out of his head,” Rivers said. “Don’t worry about shooting, just grab the ball, go downhill and don’t stop until you are at the rim. Let’s put him in a position where he can be an instinctive passer. He can’t do that if he’s thinking about all the other stuff. Like I told him, Jimmy Butler just dominated the playoffs without shooting a 3.”

The Sixers tip-off their 2020-21 regular season in a matchup against the Washington Wizards at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday. This should be interesting.