Whether Joel Embiid's in optimal shape or not will always be the number one question looming about the Philadelphia 76ers center in the offseason. In the past, Embiid has shot down the narrative that he's out of shape many times, but the critics never buy it.
So, this offseason, Embiid put extra focus on trying to maintain optimal shape. Not by just conditioning in the gym, but also switching up his way of life off the court as well, in hopes that his body holds up better in the long-run.
"I've learned a lot, and this summer is the one that I really tried to focus on it," Embiid said in regards to his body. "You know, by just having my own chef, nutritionist, my own [physical therapist], and my own massage therapist."
In the past, Embiid always talked about getting into shape for the short-term during the offseason, as he always focused on winning a championship in the upcoming year. While he has the same goals he wants to achieve in 2020-2021, Embiid is also thinking long-term for his career, as he wants to be around for quite a while.
"[I have to focus on my body] so I'm able to play 20 years here in Philly," the center said. "That's the thing I've learned the most since I've been in the league. It was a short time between the end of this past season and this new season, but it's a work in progress. You gotta start somewhere, but it's been going great, and I'm still learning every day."
This season, Embiid has to be ready for a new-look offense. After spending the first four years of his playing career with Brett Brown as his head coach, Embiid has an opportunity to try out a new-look offense with Doc Rivers.
And while Brown's offenses typically tried to cater around Embiid, Rivers intends to push the pace up this season to help Ben Simmons out. With that, Embiid will need to be in tip-top shape so he can keep up.
So far, it sounds like everything is going well for Embiid and his conditioning this offseason. Not only did Rivers mention the big man has taken "very few breaks" since day one of training camp this week, but the veteran coach also made it clear that Embiid is "keeping up" with the faster-paced Sixers, which is a promising sign for the big man, who is heading into his fifth season on the court.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_