If their relationship on the court is anything like it is off, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could be something special together for the Sixers. The duo’s budding friendship has been well-documented on social media over the past few weeks.
During the team’s 17th annual Beach Bash at Jack’s Place in Avalon, N.J. on Saturday, the rookie pair was attached at the hip as eager fans showed their appreciation for what’s to come between the two.
Embiid stole the show with a handful of dunks he threw down while Simmons garnered the most attention being the top pick in this year’s draft.
If the success the fans expect is indeed going to happen, it’s going to start with the health of Embiid, the transition of Simmons and how those two work off of each other.
Both are feeling good about what’s ahead.
“He’s a great player, so I’m looking forward to playing with him,” Simmons said. “Off the court we’re like brothers. We have fun.”
“I feel 100% and ready to get started,” Embiid said. “My summer’s been great. We’ve been working out a lot.”
Embiid remains the biggest question on the team as he expects to make his professional debut – and appear in his first meaningful game since February 4, 2014 – when the Sixers host Oklahoma City on October 26.
Sitting and watching his teammates for over two years has been excruciating for the 7-foot big man.
“It’s been really tough,” Embiid said. “The main thing is I haven’t gotten the chance to play or help my teammates or play in front of Sixers fans. I’m looking forward to it and can’t wait.”
When the Sixers begin training camp, Embiid said there will be a few restrictions, but that’s only to ease him back in and not because of any injury concerns. The Kansas product knows there’s an expectation above his name and understands that it may be a slower start for him as he regains his form against live competition.
Once that happens, though, there’s no looking back.
“I’m the type of guy that loves [to go] fast,” Embiid said. “Once I get it, I’ll be good. I’ll do what’s best for the team. They’ll need my presence inside. When I’m open, I might find some things.”
Simmons and Embiid have grown closer over the past few months, only adding even more excitement to a season in which the Sixers should actually start to gain back some relevancy. The No. 1 draft pick has been awaiting his first professional game for quite some time and is eager to be a part of the Sixers’ revival.
Yet, no one has waited longer to do so than Embiid, and he can’t stop smiling when he tells people he’s finally 100%.
“It feels great especially after these past three years I haven’t been able to do what I love,” Embiid said.