Philadelphia 76ers forward Joel Embiid, number 21.
Joel Embiid, one of the league’s most dominant players, plays for the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers are aware of it. NBA is aware of this. Heck, everyone on earth is aware of that.
Any of the other 29 NBA teams in the league would drool at the prospect of acquiring a player with Embiid’s talent. The former Jayhawk could wear the uniform for any of the three national teams, and that is equally true. Embiid added French and American citizenship to his list of citizenships over the summer, rounding out a list that also includes his native Cameroon.
Therefore, in theory, Embiid could represent any of the national teams of Cameroon, France, or the United States. Additionally, USA basketball wants the superstar Sixers player, according to NBA insider Marc Stein. The earliest Embiid could play for Team USA would be the 2024 Olympics, according to Stein, who also stated that Embiid has the national team’s “firm interest” in joining the squad.
Sources tell me USA Basketball has a confirmed interest in recruiting Philadelphia’s Joel Embiid to the national team and hopes to beat out France for Embiid’s international commitment. Full story via my Substack: https://t.co/sqfJmgSO0v
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) October 7, 2022
According to Stein, Embiid would help Team USA with a significant positional issue.
Team USA Desperately Needs Help at Center
Despite having a wealth of talent, Team USA is lacking at the center position. Only Javale McGee of the Dallas Mavericks was a true center on the most recent USA Men’s Olympic team. The addition of Embiid would significantly strengthen the otherwise underwhelming roster spot.
“Keeping Embiid away from France is just one naturally occurring USAB justification for the pursuit, as France will have homecourt advantage at the next Olympics. The center position has consistently been a program vulnerability in recent years, which is another sobering reality, Stein wrote. JaVale McGee, for instance, was the only known center on the Tokyo team, though Bam Adebayo undoubtedly has experience playing the five-position. The Brook Lopez/Mason Plumlee/Myles Turner trio struggled under Coach Gregg Popovich as they fell to a humiliating seventh place at the 2019 World Cup in China.
Who else could fill the center position in two years is hard to imagine. Will sophomore Evan Mobley for the Cavaliers be prepared? What about Chet Holmgren, whose foot injury this summer forced an end to his season? Jr. Will Jaren Jackson be in good health for the games in Paris in two years?
Maybe as time goes on, the solution will become more obvious. It’s better because Embiid’s top option might not be representing the United States.
Stein: Embiid is “discussing” playing for France
Over the summer, Embiid acquired dual citizenship with the United States and France in order to play for France in this year’s EuroBasket competition. Despite the fact that it ultimately fell through due to Embiid’s facial fracture suffered against the Raptors in the playoffs, Embiid has continued to communicate with Team France.
The general manager of the French national team, longtime NBA forward Boris Diaw, and Embiid have reportedly already spoken about Embiid joining Les Bleus, according to Stein.
It’s simple to understand how Embiid might be persuaded to join his fellow Frenchmen. Before the addition of future star Victor Wenbanyama, the team reached the EuroBasket finals this season. Wenbanyama, Rudy Gobert, and Joel Embiid could form an unstoppable trio (and how incredibly, impossibly, imperfectly? tall).
More Heavy on Sixers News
Loading more stories