Joel Embiid is not afraid to share how he feels.
Using a string of expletives, the 76ers center voiced his displeasure with the coaching and medical staffs’ decision to keep him on a minutes restriction.
“I always think I have a voice, and that they’re listening to what I have to say, too. They’re making the decision based on what they think, but that’s [expletive],” Embiid said Tuesday.
Sporting a new hairdo and on the heels of signing his shiny new contract, Embiid was not pulling any punches.
“I don’t think there should ever be minute restrictions. I think it should always be about how my body feels,” said Embiid, who was limited to 31 games last season. He missed his first two seasons after surgeries on his right foot and suffered a meniscus tear in his left knee in January.
Sixers coach Brett Brown said Monday that there will be a minutes restriction for his star center starting with Wednesday night’s season opener, though he didn’t want to narrow it to a specific number.
Embiid said the staff made a decision Tuesday.
“They talked about it right now, I think the number is going to be 16 or something like that. … But I think I’m ready for more,” Embiid said.
He pointed to the fact that he played almost as many minutes during his preseason showings, and that most of the minutes came in the first halves of those games.
Embiid is right about the preseason minutes. He played 14 minutes, 45 seconds against Brooklyn (11:28 in the first half), and 14:33 against Miami, all of which came in the first half. The 7-foot star did suffer a left ankle sprain in the game against the Heat on Friday, but he has been a full participant in practice and is listed as probable for the opener at Washington.
With the minutes restriction in place, Embiid concedes that Brown has a tough job in figuring out when to use him in a game. He says he knows that the coach would want him in at the end of the game, but that would mean Embiid would play an average of four minutes a quarter.
“That’s not me, just sitting there getting cold and my body not being ready to go,” he said.
Embiid continued to express his frustration, saying he doesn’t know when the restriction will be lifted. He had expected to play more in the preseason and play at least 24 minutes on opening night and has told the Sixers staff that he isn’t happy with the decision to hold him back.
In the end, Embiid returned to a familiar phrase to sum up everything.
“It’s frustrating,” he said, “but once again, you’ve got to trust the process.”