The Philadelphia 76ers have a dynamic duo in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. As always with superstar duos, though, Embiid and Simmons have been questioned for several reasons throughout their young careers.
Key concerns for the duo include the inability to coexist on the court and a supposed lack of leadership between the two. The first factor can’t exactly be debunked until the 76ers take the court for the 2020-2021 NBA season.
However, when it comes to Embiid and Simmons’ leadership, the two young stars have apparently grown into vocal leaders so far throughout this offseason.
Sixers veteran guard Justin Anderson is taking on his second stint in Philly. The 27-year-old veteran arrived in Philly for the first time in 2017, when Simmons was a rookie, and Embiid was in his second season with the 76ers.
Back then, Embiid and Simmons shined as young stars on the court, but they weren’t necessarily known to be vocal leaders for their team. While the duo is still young and approaching their peaks, Anderson recently noticed that their leadership styles are much different this time around as he returns after being away for roughly two years.
Following the team’s second training camp session on Monday, Anderson revealed that Simmons and Embiid have frequently “talked to the younger guys” and tend to “use their voices so much more” than they did before in practice.
“This is their team,” Anderson said on Monday. “Those guys are being the vocals leaders that maybe they weren’t in the past.”
Anderson mentioned that at times, you’d see Embiid and Simmons pull a young player to the side to talk to them throughout practice and coaching them up, which is something that might not have happened in past seasons.
“Those guys are doing a great job stepping up and kind of helping out,” Anderson explained. “It’s allowed me to focus on competing and working my butt off to try and make this team and make this roster and ultimately help this team win.”
Whether Simmons and Embiid’s teaching tactics are working for the young guys or not is unclear at the moment. In Anderson’s case, though, he has mentioned that the two stars have created added motivation for him in practice.
“Seeing those guys, their preparation, work, and how hard they’re competing right now in practice, it just makes you want to jump on board and follow their lead to help you get to the promise land,” the young veteran concluded.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_