Tyrese Maxey, Sixers see a lot of growth from Joel Embiid as a leader

CAMDEN, N.J.–When it comes to Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid, he is one who likes to let his game do the talking. He doesn’t like to yell or scream or demand guys get in position, but in the 2022-23 season, things have changed a bit for him.

Embiid has been talking much more and telling guys where to be on the floor when he gets doubled and triple-teamed during games. The Brooklyn Nets have been sending a lot of defenders toward him through the first two games, but he has been able to calmly attack them and understand where he needs to go with the ball.

Tyrese Maxey and the Sixers are seeing a big step up from Embiid in his leadership that wasn’t there in the past.

“I’ve been saying it all year,” Maxey said at practice on Wednesday. “I feel like the leadership coming from Joel has been on another level this year. His talk, the way he’s been able to push us as a team total, like he’s raised his level of play, so we will have to raise ours because that’s our best player, but the way he has been vocal about it, telling guys that he needs us step up.”

When a team sees their best player take his game to another level, then it’s easy to step up their own games and follow. That’s why it’s so important for Embiid to take that next step.

“He’s trusted us as far as when he gets doubled and triple-teamed, he’s passing on the doubles quick,” Maxey added. “He’s getting us open shots. He wants us to be successful and he continues to do it even when we’re missing shots. I think that’s just the leadership—showing his leadership and his growth as a player.”

Coach Doc Rivers compared Embiid to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Jalen Hurts and being a bit of a CEO of his team and move forward. Hurts recently just led the Eagles to the Super Bowl and he was rewarded with a 5-year $255 million deal. The Eagles follow Hurts and the Sixers have to follow Embiid.

“It’s something that I’ve pushed since I’ve been here because the more the best player becomes that the better the team becomes,” said Rivers. “I used it the other day with Jalen Hurts being the CEO of his team, that’s what Joel has to be at times and every once in a while, that was actually said in one of my timeouts the other night that you have to say it. You have to do it and he yearns to do it. It’s not a natural thing, but he’s doing it and it’s been great for us.”

Embiid and the Sixers will look for a 3-0 stranglehold on Thursday in Game 3 with the Nets.


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Story originally appeared on Sixers Wire