Joel Embiid feels he let his Sixers teammates down in last summer’s playoffs, and spent the offseason working to ensure it doesn’t happen again.
Embiid, 25, shed 20 pounds says his “production has got to go up” in the postseason.
The big fella is also chasing the MVP and Defensive Player of the Year awards in 2019-20 for a Philly team he believes can win it all.
“I just remember thinking I let my team down,” Embiid told ESPN. “You can’t control sickness or when it’s going to happen. Obviously my knee was bothering me the whole second half of the season and the playoffs. But all I was thinking was what can I do make sure I don’t let my teammates down again or my team. Or the whole city basically. That was to take better of my body. To work on the stuff I never really paid attention to, and it’s been going well the whole summer.”
Embiid averaged 27.5 points and 13.6 rebounds during the regular season for the 76ers but was slowed by knee tendinitis. He missed 12 games after the All-Star break, and in the series with the Raptors, he averaged just 17.6 points and 8.7 rebounds.
“I’m competitive. I think everybody knows about me. I like to compete. I want to win,” Embiid said. “My production has got to go up in the playoffs instead of going down. That’s why I feel like I let them down. We had a great chance of winning the whole thing. If that shot [by Kawhi Leonard] hadn’t gone down, you don’t know what was going to happen.”
But Embiid only wants to do more. He wants to play more games than ever before, he wants to win major awards and he wants the 76ers to be the top seed in the East.
“Last year I played the most games I’ve ever played, 64. This year I see myself playing over 70 games,” Embiid said. “That’s going to be good for us because we’re trying to get the No. 1 seed and we’re trying to win over 60 games. It’s going to help me because I need that team success if I want to win be able to win MVP or Defensive Player of the Year.”