Lately, nevertheless, Embiid stated issues are quite a bit completely different, for one large purpose: They’re now on the identical staff.
“It is easy to say stuff while you’re enjoying towards any person,” Embiid stated with a smile after Thursday’s follow. “I am certain nobody likes to play towards me, as a result of all I do is I both rating or get fouled. I do know the principles and stuff, I simply take benefit, I play my recreation based mostly on that. If somebody needs to achieve, I’ll get fouled and I’ll get to the free throw line.
“It is more durable while you play towards any person that performs that method, however while you’re really on the identical staff, I am certain he will find it irresistible. We will get fouls, we’ll foul individuals out, we’ll get to the free throw line, we’ll rating loads of factors.
“It is going to be enjoyable.”
It was not enjoyable for Burke and the Pacers to face Embiid final yr — notably after the Sixers beat the Pacers 119-116 on Nov. 30, 2019, in a recreation Embiid completed with 32 factors, 11 rebounds, four assists and three steals in 33 minutes whereas going 15-for-15 from the free throw line.
Two days later, Burke, in an interview with the Pacers’ tv companion, did not mince his phrases over how he felt about Embiid.
“I hate that staff,” Burke stated. “I actually needed to win that recreation. I feel Embiid will get away with a bunch of crap the league ignores, and it could have been one to only stroll away from.”
Burke, lengthy thought to be one of many NBA’s greatest defensive assistant coaches, was employed by Doc Rivers to helm that aspect of the ball through the offseason, and Embiid stated he has grown fairly shut with Burke already.
He stated Burke has pushed Embiid to be extra aggressive going out to satisfy the ball in pick-and-roll defensive coverages — versus doing what Embiid prefers, which is dropping again to the rim.
“We’re nice,” Embiid stated. “I feel he is a terrific man. We have really been very shut since we obtained right here. I feel him and the entire teaching workers goes to sort of take a look at me to sort of be the driving drive of the protection, particularly after we discuss being the Defensive Participant of the Yr, simply ensuring we’ve the perfect protection within the league defending the rim. Which, I imply, the previous couple of years after I’ve been on the ground we have all the time had most certainly the perfect protection within the league, so they will search for me to maintain it going and hold that very same power.”