This week, Sixers superstar and Philly’s favorite human Joel Embiid shot back at teammate Ben Simmons. Simmons had thrown some shade at Embiid, saying that their relationship had run its course and that Embiid “blocks the runways” to the basket, which Simmons needs to succeed. Of course, Ben did not mention whether Trae Young also blocks his runway to the hoop…
The juiciest nugget from Embiid’s commentary is what he said about Jimmy Butler. Embiid said:
"“So I feel like our teams have always been built around his needs. It’s kind of surprising to see, for him to say that. Even going back to the reason we signed Al … we got rid of Jimmy [Butler] which I still think it was a mistake … [Simmons] needed the ball in his hands.”"
Joel Embiid gave surprising insight into the Sixers’ decision to move on from Jimmy Butler.
At the time, many of us were shocked and dismayed that Butler chose Miami over Philadelphia. That starting five of Embiid, Butler, Simmons, Tobias Harris, and J.J. Redick represented the Sixers’ best chance to win an NBA title since Allen Iverson. Why would Butler not want to run it back?
Rumors circulated that Butler gave the 76ers front office an ultimatum, it was either Ben or him. The two could not co-exist in the same offense. Many of us had suspected that the 76ers chose Simmons over Butler, believing Ben to be the younger talent on the way up and that Jimmy was about to decline. Now we know that to be true.
Embiid’s comments confirm that the 76ers did in fact choose Simmons over Butler. As the face of The Process, Embiid probably had some input on personnel decisions. As we reflect on the twists and turns of The Process, we can say with a sigh for ages and ages hence, that the 76ers chose to travel the path with Ben instead of Jimmy, and that has made all the difference.