Joel Embiid tried to be nice.
The Philadelphia 76ers center intended to make Saturday night’s matchup just about his team and the Detroit Pistons.
Just don’t ask him how difficult it is to guard Andre Drummond, who has played more from the elbow this season.
“No disrespect, but he can’t shoot,” he said. “So I just got to worry about the defensive coverages that we have as a team. They run a lot of back screens and backside action. He’s also a roller. So he gets a lot of lobs and stuff.”
Embiid added that the Sixers have to make sure that doesn’t happen.
He said the Sixers also have to close out on shooters.
To his credit, he shrugged off the initial question about Drummond’s tweet at 9 a.m. Oct. 24 that read “See you Dec. 2nd” that came the day after Embiid dominated Drummond in the Sixers’ 97-86 victory at Little Caesars Arena.
Embiid said following the game that he used Drummond’s trash talking as motivation.
“When we started the game, he was being aggressive and he was talking, too,” Embiid said that night. “So what I was like (in my mind), ‘You want to do that? I’m going to kick your (butt) then.’ So that’s what I did.”
Flash forward to Saturday’s matchup between the Sixers (12-9) and Pistons (14-7), and Embiid has a new outlook.
“So I’m not worried about him,” he said. “I’m just going to go out there and try to win the game and be worried about the game plan and goal we have as a team.”
Embiid did, however, acknowledge that players tweeting about him shows that he’s already in their head.
“That means I already got them mentally,” he said. “For them to go on social media and just start talking … whatever, saying something or whatever, I think I already got them.
“Like I said I’m already excited about the matchup, it’s about Sixers and the Pistons.”
Perhaps, he is excited about the teams’ matchup.