Heading into the 2023-24 NBA Season, the league recently announced a significant rule change that could either pay dividends or cut corners for the Philadelphia 76ers. With officials now having the edict to assess technical fouls on perceived flopping, one infamous detractor recently took a slight jab at reigning MVP Joel Embiid.
Grant Williams, who will now play for the Dallas Mavericks after being traded by the Boston Celtics this offseason, has been a familiar foe of the 76ers in recent years in their many tussles with the C’s. That’s why he is certainly accustomed to guarding players from the team, starting with Embiid.
Grant Williams takes jab at 76ers superstar Joel Embiid after big rule change
Speaking on the Run Your Race podcast, Williams recalled a notable incident wherein Embiid accidentally stomped on his head during Game 3 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals. While he acknowledged that Embiid’s act was far from intentional and that the big man actually apologized, Williams is now seemingly zooming in on the episode to cast a bigger narrative.
"Do you know how many times I got landed on like that by him (Joel Embiid)…I think he just falls man. I think with that flopping rule who knows what happens…He was falling a lot that series."
Williams was undoubtedly implying that Embiid is particularly ornate when drawing contact. The reigning MVP was definitely one of the most frequent goers in the charity stripe last season, attempting 11.7 free-throws per game — a mark good for second highest in the association.
That being said, to imply that Embiid would often be subject to the new rule change on flopping next season is more of a call for everyone to be introspective and figure out how to defend post-heavy players like Embiid better. In a league engrossed with pace and space, the post-up — a play which obviously garners more physicality and hence, fouls — has become a more arduous task. Still, shrugging off actual contact as mere embellishments is definitely dismissive.
Giving the officials another latitude to be subjective through this rule certainly raises some concerns due to officiating inconsistencies. However, if implemented right, this could be one that pays dividends later on, especially for a Philadelphia 76ers team which actually found itself at the receiving end of infuriating L2M findings last season.
Nevertheless, when the whistle blows for a foul for excessive contact on a Joel Embiid post-up, blame the puzzled defender — not the MVP — for not being smart enough to cover a skilled behemoth like him.