Nick Nurse, Sixers highlight Joel Embiid’s playmaking vs. Hawks

Philadelphia 76ers star big man Joel Embiid is known for being one of the elite scorers in the league, but it has been his playmaking to begin the 2023-24 season that has been impressive.

In Friday’s 126-116 win over the Atlanta Hawks, Embiid had 32 points and that is the stat that most will care about, but the big fella had eight assists. He was picking the Hawks apart all night long and he’s averaging a career-high 6.0 assists through 12 games on the season.

“I think the first part is that he really wants to do that, right?” coach Nick Nurse told reporters. “He understands that he needs to do that to help our team so that’s at least like the first point that he’s willing to do it. The second part of it is the guy’s got to make the right reads, cut, and do the right things.”

In the loss to the Boston Celtics on Wednesday, Embiid was not making much of an impact with his passing. Boston was double-teaming, but there wasn’t a lot of off-ball movement from the others. That wasn’t the case against the Hawks as Embiid did what he was supposed to do.

“The other night against Boston, we just weren’t doing it,” Nurse added. “One of the two things we weren’t doing that impacted that game. So we talked a lot about it today (Friday) at shootaround. We worked on it a lot today at shootaround and the guys took it forward.”

Danuel House Jr., who had 14 points off the bench, was a beneficiary of Embiid’s passing ability. House Jr. was cutting off the ball and it allowed him to get a few easy buckets.

“He’s willing to pass, which he’d been willing to pass, but this year he really buying in,” House Jr. told reporters. “He’s offering people suggestions when he sees a double team ‘Hey, go to this area because if you go to this area, I can get it to you’. So he’s communicating a lot. He’s not worried about scoring 50 every night. He wants to win.”

Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire