76ers stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons aren’t the cleanest on-court fit. Occasionally, they’ve shown signs of personal animosity.
But is there a full-blown rift between Embiid and Simmons?
Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (writing about Tyronn Lue’s coaching candidacy, which has taken a backseat to Mike D’Antoni’s):
As a Los Angeles Lakers player, Lue won NBA titles in 2000 and 2001 while playing with Hall of Famers and Kobe Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal, who like Simmons and Embiid didn’t get along.
The Shaq-Kobe feud cut wide and deep. Does the Embiid-Simmons situation really match that?
It doesn’t have to in order to be a problem.
Shaq and Kobe were such good basketball players, they won three championships together despite their issues. Winning cures most ills. Shaq and Kobe worked through their differences while the Lakers were on top.
Though premier young talents, Embiid and Simmons aren’t Shaq and Kobe as players. The 76ers lost in the first round, a disappointing result that only increases pressure and tension.
For years, Philadelphia has committed to building around Embiid and Simmons. That appears to remain the plan.
That’s tricky enough simply based on their skill sets. It’s even more difficult if those two don’t get along.