In the 2021 playoffs, the Philadelphia 76ers fell victim to the Atlanta Haws, who torched them in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. That series marked the beginning of a long and still ongoing war with Ben Simmons, who has yet to show up in uniform this season.
Joel Embiid has done his best to stay out of the drama, choosing instead to keep his focus on getting wins for his team.
Speaking to the media after their two-point victory over Atlanta, the All-Star big man spoke candidly about his burning desire to win:
“I'm still pissed off about what happened last year. [To win] means a lot to me… In our situation, we got about $400 million worth of contracts not playing. Any time you can get a win undermanned, missing 2 or 3 players, it's great confidence for our guys.”
Last season, the Sixers secured the top seed in the East only to fall to a young and less experienced Hawks team.t was a crushing blow that Embiid obviously still feels bitter about today.
Now, the same team is missing two crucial players (Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris) and they're just a game over .500.
Tobi has only played in 14 games so far this season, but there is optimism he'll become more steadily available pretty soon. Simmons, meanwhile, continues to stall his return to the court.
"At this point I don't care about that man, honestly," said Embiid. "He does whatever he wants. That's not my job. I'm only focused on trying to make the team better, win some games, try to lead the other guys that we have here. The chemistry has been excellent despite everything that's been happening the last few months. So yeah, like I said, I don't really care."
The 76ers have enjoyed years of prosperity in the Simmons/Embiid era. Together, the two of them have returned the franchise to one of respect and prominence.
Still, they've got nothing to show for it so far. Year after year, they fall short of their goals for one reason or another.
Hopefully, better days lie ahead for the Sixers and their 27-year-old superstar.