Philadelphia 76ers star big man Joel Embiid has admitted that it will take him time to fully round back into form after an extended break following his battle with COVID-19. Embiid had a rough shooting night in Thursday's 88-87 loss to the Boston Celtics.
"I would never use it as an excuse but obviously I think it's going to take me awhile to get back, especially legs and cardio and all that stuff," Embiid said after going 3-for-17 against Boston, making him a combined 7-for-33 across Philadelphia's past two games.
"But every single day I got to keep working hard, and keep getting better." Embiid made it clear that he has to find a way to play better going forward. "I can't be playing the way I've played these last two games, especially when it comes to shotmaking," Embiid said after finishing with 13 points, 18 rebounds, six assists, two steals and three blocks in 33 minutes.
"If teams are going to double me and I'm not going to get easy baskets, I have to create for myself and my teammates, and I've got to make those shots."
The 76ers sticking with Embiid
"You could tell he's definitely struggling getting going.
Yeah, we've just got to keep playing him and letting him play through it," 76ers head coach Doc Rivers said. The 76ers are still without Ben Simmons and Embiid hasn't had many easy shots this year. "The whole season I haven't gotten any easy ones," Embiid said.
"It feels like I've got to work for everything. That's why I said we've got to communicate. I've got to let my teammates and my guys know. I probably have to come up with it myself, find ways I can get easy ones.
"It feels like I've had to work for everything, especially it's hard. I get doubled every single possession. If I get doubled, and I'm dribbling the ball and I'm going into a shot, most of the time if I want to get a shot off I've got to go to fadeaways and shooting off the dribble.
No team is really allowing me to get to the paint from the time that I put the ball on the floor. They are sending doubles. I've got to be aggressive, I've got to make plays, too. But, most of the time, if it's going to be that way there's a lot of times where I'm going to have to be shooting over double teams."