76ers Head Coach Calls Sports Illustrated Report “Wildly Inaccurate”
Sports Illustrated released a report on the 76ers detailing various alleged problems within the organization.
Much of the report focused on Joel Embiid, the big man out of Kansas the Sixers selected 3rd overall in the 2014 draft. Embiid has not been able to play because of complications stemming from a fractured navicular bone in his right foot.
Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who described himself as a social hermit – “I go to a gym, I go home, and then I go to a gym and I go home” – operates on a “need to know basis” about reports such as these. He was informed of the article by a member of the team’s public relations staff, who gave Brown select portions of the article to look over.
One of the allegations made in the article was that Sixers majority owner Joshua Harris did not want Joel Embiid to travel to the Las Vegas Summer League.
“There are several portions of it that are wildly inaccurate, that being one of them” Brown said, referring specifically to Embiid traveling to summer league. “I have no idea what that means or why it was said.
“We’re pretty much treating [the report] as noise, and we will move on from it,” Brown concluded.
The part that seemed to upset Brown the most was the timing of the article. Joel Embiid’s brother, Arthur, passed away after being involved in a motor vehicle accident last fall. The event was not mentioned in the Sports Illustrated article that detailed his alleged insubordination.
Today was the one year anniversary of his brother’s passing.
“The thing that upsets me probably more than anything is you look at Joel Embiid and he lost his brother on this day last year, and the article comes out today,” Brown said. “It’s just wildly unfair with some of the accusations as it relates to now.”
For Brown, there was little reason to rehash information that has, for the most part, previously been out there.
“This story is old. It’s been documented,” Brown said. “So to all of a sudden wake up and have these things be revisited, I think in some ways is unfortunate and sad, particularly because of the timing.”
Embiid has faced considerable adversity since he came over to the United States four years ago. Embiid, who knew virtually no English and had barely played any organized basketball, adapted quickly to his new environment. In short time Embiid would become a top-25 recruit nationally, eventually getting offers from Florida, Texas, and, of course, Kansas.
During his one season at Kansas Embiid worked his way into the starting lineup by mid-December. He averaged 12.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 2.8 blocks in 24.8 minutes per game as the starter, shooting an incredible 61.5% from the field. His play, and the enormous potential that he showed, was enough for most to consider him a serious contender for the #1 pick in the upcoming NBA draft.
Until more adversity struck.
It was announced that Embiid would need surgery to repair a stress fracture to the naviular bone in his right foot a mere 6 days before the 2014 NBA draft. It’s been sixteen months since the surgery and Joel Embiid has yet to see any game action in the NBA: not regular season, not preseason, not even summer league.
Despite that Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who noted that Embiid is in good physical shape at this stage of his recovery process, is proud of the progress Embiid is making.
Embiid had his cast removed on Monday.
“I’m proud of where Joel Embiid is at. He’s had a rough few years,” Brown said. “He will get there. We’re moving him forward, and more importantly he’s moving himself forward.”
Brown didn’t deny that there had been some truth to previous reports, although he was quick to point out the adversity Embiid has faced at such a young age.
“Coach Pitinio sent me home when I was 19, too,” Brown said, referring to his time as a point guard at Boston University playing under head coach Rick Pitino.
As for the rebuild itself, Brown said that he is pleased with the progress, despite the long, drawn-out nature of it.
“At times you step back and arguably it’s gone longer than some of us have wished, but I still feel so strong and confident that where we are at there are so many positives,” Brown said. “It has taken some turns along the way, but I still see very, very good things ahead.”