Joel Embiid‘s season echoed that of Philadelphia as a whole: He went in with questions, exploded on the scene surpassing expectations and racking up accolades, pushed his team into the playoffs and then the second round, but ran out of gas at the end against Boston. The playoffs are a fire that burns away the excess and exposes the weaknesses in everyone’s game, and with Embiid the question was conditioning.
What matters for a young team on the rise is players recognize what happened and put in the work to improve.
Embiid clearly did — and has set lofty goals for next season.
Better conditioning also makes it more likely Embiid can stay healthy for all or most of next season (a concern that has not completely gone away).
This is good to hear from Embiid. He sounded like all the Sixers players at the end-of-season press conferences, the young core sounds like it learned from what happened against Boston. We even saw that in the final two games of the series. It’s going to be a wild summer with free agency, what this Sixers roster will look like when it returns in the fall is unclear.
Just expect Embiid to be ready to take another step forward.