Monday January 19th, 2015

Some members of the Philadelphia 76ers organization have begun to question the work ethic of rookie center Joel Embiid, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Citing a source, the Inquirer reported that Embiid's weight has increased to close to 300 pounds after the 20-year-old played at 250 pounds at Kansas last year. While the team has attempted to address the weight gain, Embiid reportedly hasn't been a "willing participant" in workouts and has blown off conditioning drills, according to the Inquirer.

Embiid also reportedly had an altercation with assistant strength and conditioning coach James Davis during the 76ers' west coast road trip in late December/early January, which was one of the reasons Embiid was sent home from said trip.

Embiid is still rehabbing the stress fracture he sustained in his foot shortly before last summer's NBA draft and hasn't yet been cleared to fully practice. That has left him unable to run or do any basketball activities besides light shooting, and it's unknown if Embiid will return at all this season.

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The Cameroon native has also drawn attention and some criticism for perceived immaturity on social media, thought 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie praised Embiid's Twitter behavior before the season and called it "entertaining."

From the Inquirer:

"Obviously, you can see some of his immaturity [in] his tweets sometimes," [teammate Luc] Mbah a Moute said. "But you can also understand how mature he is in certain situations the way he handled himself. . . . He's a good kid, man.

"At the end of the day, it's tough for him being in a situation where people can't really see who he is as a person."

Per NBA policy, Embiid isn't permitted to speak to the media until he participates in a five-on-five scrimmage in practice.

Embiid hasn't played in a competitive game since last March while at Kansas, sustaining a stress fracture in his back that forced him to miss the end of the college season. Embiid has also had to deal with the loss of his brother, who was killed in a car accident in Cameroon in October.

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Embiid was taken by the 76ers with the No. 3 pick in last summer's draft.

The 76ers are 8-32 this season, possessing the second-worst record in the Eastern Conference.

Ben Estes

 

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