With the Philadelphia 76ers in a rut, it’s easy to point the finger of blame at Joel Embiid. As the star and the de facto face of the franchise, some argue that he hasn’t been doing enough to lead his team to victory.
In the midst of the Sixers’ fourth straight loss, NBA big man legend Shaquille O’Neal went so far as to call out Embiid on national television for his level of play.
During half-time, Shaq pointed out multiple examples of Embiid playing “soft, with a capital T-T-T-T-T-T.” Embiid was 1 for 10 from the floor in the first 24 minutes.
Shaq going off on Embiid, calling him soft😂pic.twitter.com/x1Ep8AY1QZ
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) February 7, 2020
Shaq’s words were called harsh by some of the crew, but he did not back down. On both ends, Embiid did seem (admittedly) lethargic and slow. He finished the game with just 19 points on 23% shooting in his team’s 11 point loss. On the other end, he gave up 45 points combined to Giannis and Lopez in the paint.
There are obviously a number of factors at play in Philly’s struggles lately. But Embiid is likely part of the reason why. If he wants to take his team further in the postseason, he has to be more aggressive and dominant under the rim — on both ends of the floor.