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By Connor Thomas

 

Yesterday, the Sixers made their biggest move of the offseason so far, signing veteran big man Andre Drummond to back up Joel Embiid. Drummond is on a 1 year deal worth the veteran minimum, so he is not an expensive option, and could very well be the best back up to Embiid that the Sixers have had during the transcendent big man’s tenure in the NBA. Last year, Drummond averaged 14.9 PTS, 12 REB, and 2 AST per game in 27 minutes per game. It’s more time than he’ll log in Philly, but it’s proof that the nearly 28 year old Drummond will absolutely be a strong backup 5 for Doc Rivers. So what’s the issue? He’s a cheap option, a serviceable one, and a veteran that still seems to have some gas in the tank.
Well, Embiid and Drummond have some history. And it’s not great. The two have had beef for years now, stemming from head to head matchups that Embiid dominated, and then talked trash about after. Just take a look at this Embiid tweet from November of 2018:

It’s not a great sign that Embiid was calling Drummond a #bum for the whole world to see. That wasn’t the first issue between the two Centers, though. Just a month earlier, Embiid had blatantly flopped in a game between the Sixers and Drummond’s Pistons, leading to the 2nd technical for Drummond and his ejection from the game. As you can see in the video from the play, Embiid made it very clear how he felt about his opposition.

So yeah, there’s plenty of beef between the new teammates. But this is a new and improved Joel Embiid. Gone are the days of jumping on twitter or Instagram following a game to roast his opponents. His twitter commentary has become more commentary on soccer than it is trash talking of other players like Drummond. We all did stupid stuff when we were 23/24, and there’s no doubt Embiid has matured since 2018. Do the two players like each other? I honestly don’t know, that’s something that it’s very possible that only Embiid and Drummond really know. But the issues they have gone through are years removed at this point. Professionals have ways of moving past spats from earlier years; it’s the nature of sports. As long as Drummond can help the Sixers win, I have no doubts that Embiid will welcome his new backup with open arms. That being said though, the first couple intersquad games this fall should be very, very interesting for the Sixers when the two are matched up as teammates.