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Stephen A. Smith Urges Joel Embiid To Step Up His Game: "The Onus Is Now On Embiid To Step Up And Be Relied On Like Never Before"

The Philadelphia 76ers are going through a major change. The organization had placed all hope on the star duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons over the last couple of seasons. But since Simmons has made it abundantly clear that he longer wants to be a part of the team, all hell has broken loose for the organization. 

Despite the franchise and even Embiid's numerous tries, it is now quite clear that Simmons will eventually force a trade out of Philly. As a result, the former Rookie of the Year has received a lot of backlash from fans and sports pundits.

Most recently, Embiid finally had enough of Simmons' attitude and spat out some facts about him. As you would expect, many NBA analysts, including Stephen A. Smith, sided with Embiid in the situation

While it is true that Simmons deserves most of the criticism, he has received recently. But at the end of the day, the truth is that the 76ers need to move on from this Simmons saga. Additionally, Joel Embiid will play a crucial role in the future. Simply put, he needs to step up and lead the team from the front.

Stephen A. Smith spoke about it in detail and believes it's Joel's time to become a reliable player like he has never done before.

"Joel Embiid is exactly right. Ben Simmons' behavior is entirely out of line. Disrespectful, unprofessional, you name it and it's now almost no scenario where Embiid and Simmons ever take the court together again. That means, the Sixers are entirely Joel Embiid's team now though. So when he talks about all the guys on the roster fighting for their lives, their livelihoods, Embiid needs to take that into account himself. Make sure he is bringing the fight all the time too. Because let's be real and honest, all the focus on Ben Simmons over the years. His lack of development offensively. Simmons was at least on the court almost every night. Over the last four seasons, Simmons played damn near 50 more games than Joel Embiid. That's not going to cut it anymore.

"Missing games all the time when there's no Ben Simmons to rely on isn't going to work. The onus is now on Joel Embiid to step up and be relied on like never before. And fair or not, the words from Simmons camps saying that he feels his relationship with Embiid had run its course, that does put some stain on Embiid.

"Because you don't hear other star players saying that about the likes of LeBron or Tom Brady even though Kyrie said that about LeBron once. Not that Joel Embiid is even in that class, by the way. But he wants to be in that class and the Sixers need him to be in that class. Especially this season, every single night, if they are going to have any chance of success without Ben Simmons."

Considering the fact that Embiid will have the team to himself next season, it is both a boon and a bane for him. On one hand, he will have the team adjust around him and play according to what's best for his skill set. On the other hand, if he fails to carry the team on his shoulders when it matters the most, it will certainly tarnish his legacy.

The 2021-22 NBA season will be quite crucial for both Embiid and Simmons. If Simmons is traded soon, the matchup between the two superstars will definitely be considered one of the top battles of the season.