Joel Embiid goes into detail what changes about the Sixers without James Harden

PHILADELPHIA–The Philadelphia 76ers welcomed Joel Embiid back to the lineup on Monday and it led to a much-needed 100-88 win over the Phoenix Suns at home. The Suns entered the night 7-2 on the season so it was impressive that they were able to get it done.


Joel Embiid, Sixers react to stopping skid in home win over Suns

The Sixers were still missing James Harden who is in the middle of being out for a month due to a right foot tendon strain. Therefore, the Sixers need Embiid to be able to lift the team on his broad shoulders once again in order for Philadelphia to have success.

After dropping 33 points with 10 rebounds and five assists in the win on Monday, Embiid went into full detail on what changes with himself and the Sixers now that Harden is out.


“Everything,” said Embiid. “That’s how it should’ve been. I had a slow start for my standards even though a slow start for me is still averaging 27. For my standards, I had a slow start, but whether it’s playing or not. Offensively, just having the ball more and being a playmaker. Like tonight. Just drawing so much attention and making the simple plays and getting my teammates wide-open shots and Georges (Niang), credit to him, he made most of those shots.”

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Getting back to basics

Obviously, Harden is able to make life easy for Embiid and the rest of the Sixers, but without him on the floor, but the offense will now flow through the big fella as it did early in the 2021-22 season before The Beard.

Embiid: “Obviously, we’re gonna miss him a lot. He’s such a big piece of our team. What he brings is unmatched. Getting everybody easy shots so we just hope he takes care of himself and everything he’s got going on, but as a team, we just gotta focus on the task at hand and keep playing together. Moving the ball. Like tonight (Monday), I thought the ball moved pretty well. Everybody was touching it. Ball was moving side to side. I like playmaking from the middle of the floor which I did draw a lot of attention, try to get guys open shots, and I also like to call plays for my teammates. Tobias (Harris) had it going so we just need to keep playing that way every single night.”


In this case without Harden, Embiid will be looking to adapt once again out on the floor. He will look to be the man and guide this team. He looked much more comfortable on Monday than he did at all to begin the season.

He added: “The whole thing about styles that’s really for me, I can adapt to anything. Obviously, when you have James, he’s gonna have the ball and he’s such a good playmaker. When we had him last year, I turned into more of a screener and I excelled in it and I just adapt. I do whatever it takes to win. Whatever I’m needed. He’s not playing so I’m asked to do way more as far as playcalling, playmaking, and also scoring the ball and defensively. I like to take on the challenge. That’s something that we just need to do it. Even when we have everybody, that’s just something we just need to do it. That’s how I think we’re gonna win, too.”


With Harden out of the lineup, the Sixers didn’t do too much switching in the win over the Suns. They played a lot of man-to-man defense and they just played straight up on that end of the floor so that appears to b a change without the future Hall of Famer.

Embiid added: “I think, previously, we had been trying to do a lot of switching going 1 through 5. I can do it, but if you’re gonna do it the whole game, it can become a challenge. Chasing guards all over the place and what I’m good at is protecting the rim and making sure no one gets in there. I think, tonight, we just had a different game plan. Not necessarily me playing in drop. At times, I was blitzing Book (Devin Booker). At times I was dropping back. At times, I was at the level of the screen. So it’s all really about me figuring it out on the fly and just not really making it up, but just following the game plan and follow my instincts.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire