Embiid, Simmons Discuss Relationship
Since they have both made their respective debuts for the Philadelphia 76ers, the co-existence of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid has been a topic of discussion. Simmons is the team's point guard with no real outside threat at this point in his career while Embiid has developed into a bully ball center that can also do damage from the perimeter. National media outlets have suggested trading one of Simmons and Embiid while recently one site believes the Sixers' success will hinge on keeping them apart on the court. There's always been outside noise with regard to their on-court fit.
They don't seem to buy into that narrative though, and why should they? Early in their careers, they've already got a combined three All-Star appearances and have led Philadelphia to back-to-back 50+ win seasons. They are legitimate contenders for a championship on paper. Embiid and Simmons know that they need one another to bring a title to Philadelphia, and that's one of the things they talked about as part of an interview with Shams Charania of The Athletic during media day.
"For us, everyone is gonna feed off what we do," Simmons said. "We have to set the tone, so if we're out here not working, then it's gonna affect everyone else. If we stick together, if we work hard everyday -- be the first ones at the gym everyday, taking care of our bodies -- everyone has to follow us. We have to keep that standard."
Both Simmons and Embiid worked on their games separately over the summer and the Sixers are once again poised to finish among the best teams in the East for the third consecutive season. The duos on-court fit might be a question to some, but the numbers are also important to note. This past season, the Sixers were a +7.9 in 1,431 minutes when they were both on the floor. Their on-court fit will continue to be a question moving forward, especially if Simmons doesn't display the confidence to shoot. He's an All-Star without the shot, but could be elite with it.
As for their off-court fit? Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are a bit different. What's important to them, though, is when it's time to hit the court, they're on the same page.
"On the court, we want to win. Off court, Jo does his thing, I do my thing," Simmons said with a smile. "We watch each other on Instagram. We just have different lives. On the court, we want to win. We're competitors. That's what I love about Jo. Every time I step on the floor with him, I know he's gonna put an elbow through somebody's face or try and dunk on him.""
If you follow Simmons and Embiid on social media, it's really two different sides of the spectrum. Simmons has his circle of friends and family. is big into cars, has fancy outfits and spends a lot of time with his family. Meanwhile, Embiid is a little more low key,
"I like to be chilling," Embiid said about his off the court time. "I don't do anything, I just like staying home playing video games, hanging out with my girlfriend and my dog. We're a little different in that aspect, but we know once we get on the court...he's competitive, I am...and we bring that intensity. We want to win and that's what matters."
They may lead different lives off the court, but on the court, leadership is one of their biggest focuses as a 2019-20 season with high expectations approaches. Without guys like JJ Redick and Jimmy Butler this season, it's on them to bring this team to the promise land.
"We're just getting started." -- Ben Simmons
Brandon Apter is a Sixers contributor to 97.3 ESPN. Follow him on Twitter @bapter23.