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Joel Embiid Responds To James Harden’s Comments About His Role In Philly: ‘We Allowed Him To Just Be Himself’

In his opening press conference following his trade to the Los Angeles Clippers, James Harden expressed some frustrations about the way he was used during his time with the Philadelphia 76ers, going as far as to express his belief that he was “on a leash” during his tenure with the team.

“I’m not a system player,” Harden told the assembled media on Thursday. “I am a system.”

Harden’s most prominent running mate in Philadelphia, reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid, was asked to respond to that sentiment, and made clear that he didn’t fully agree with Harden’s assessment of the situation.

Embiid said “I don’t think so” when asked if he got the sense that Harden was unhappy with his role in the aftermath of the team’s win over the Toronto Raptors on Thursday, and expressed his belief that Harden “did a lot of great things for us.”

“In my opinion, I just feel like we allowed him to just be himself,” Embiid said. “And we gave him the ball every single possession, because he’s really good — I mean, he’s an amazing player. Obviously, being that great of a passer, I think we gave him the ball, if you would watch the game, we gave him the ball every single possession to just go out and, you know, do his thing. And from there, he had to make decisions as far as getting guys open or looking out for himself. But I thought he did a pretty good job of getting us into an offense and just passing the ball, getting guys open. That’s the reason why he won the assist title last year.”

Embiid went on to speculate that there may have been discussions between Harden and the team’s coaching staff that fed into his perception of his role, but from his perspective as a teammate who would often share the floor with him, “we allowed him to have the ball every single possession.”