Joel Embiid's Conditioning Stood Out to Brett Brown in Orlando
On Saturday, the Philadelphia 76ers wrapped up their two-day quarantine with every player passing their COVID-19 tests. Therefore, the roster in attendance was able to hit the practice floor for the very first session of training camp 2.0 in Orlando, Florida.
For the last few weeks, players have had the opportunity to workout individually while in Camden, New Jersey, so 76ers head coach Brett Brown expects everybody to be in somewhat, a favorable condition once the ramp-up sessions begin.
And after two practices so far, Brown feels good about where his team is at condition-wise on Sunday. "I feel I can tell when you do up and down stuff, the work that people put in, really really quickly," Brown said on Sunday morning following practice.
"As practice goes on, you can start to feel and see an endurance type of deterioration or maintenance of a standard," Coach Brown continued. "We got up and down, we competed. It was my feeling to start quick in relation to competing and getting up and down the floor. I think we need to jumpstart some spirit and let them feel some competition with their teammates again. In that environment, I feel like it was a pretty good judgment of [whether] they in decent shape [or not]. Did they attain that 'B goal' that I have put to them? I can confidently say I believe they have."
Without even being questioned about it, Brown went out of his way to credit his All-Star center, Joel Embiid, on his condition. "I thought Joel [Embiid] especially stood out," Brown stated confidently. As many have criticized Embiid over the years for looking out of shape and disinterested on the floor, the Sixers' big man claimed to have spent the last few months working harder than ever on being in tip-top shape for the return.
The public has yet to see Embiid in action -- so all we're left with is Brown's assessment. And so far, Brown's evaluation lines right up with what Embiid has been teasing throughout the NBA's suspension. The big man has been working hard on staying in shape and ensuring he's ready to compete at the highest level when the 2020 NBA Playoffs roll around.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_