“For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.” – Luke 12:48
This oft-quoted Bible verse can apply to many aspects of life – certainly none more so than the pressures of being a professional athlete.
For Joel Embiid, add the expectations that come with being the NBA’s reigning MVP, and it’s an understatement to say that “much is expected” of The Rock School alum and his team for the 2023-24 NBA season.
MVP Trophy Brings Big Expectations
Embiid, who helped lead The Rock to a State Championship in 2013, was named the NBA’s Most Valuable Player in May.
The former #3 pick in the NBA draft (2014) was coming off a season in which he led the league in scoring at 33.1 points per game, while adding an impressive 10.2 rebounds and 4.2 assists per contest.
While Embiid’s Philadelphia 76ers finished with the league’s 3rd-best record in the regular season, the team’s ultimate goal of winning the NBA championship fell short.
New Season, New Challenges
Heading into a new season, the team has added a new head coach in Nick Nurse, while uncertainty swirls around the status of co-star James Harden on the 76ers roster.
But for great players like Joel Embiid, there’s only one true focus: getting back to work.
Putting in the Time
In the offseason, he works with renowned basketball trainer Drew Hanlen, whose client list also includes the likes of stars Jayson Tatum, Bradley Beal, and countless others.
According to a recent conversation with Liberty Ballers, Hanlen said he’s working with the reigning MVP on three main aspects of his game: making plays, getting and converting more shots under the rim, and adjusting to the team’s new free-flowing offensive system.
Answering the Call
Will the offseason work, along with changes to the roster and coaching staff, be enough to put the 76ers over the top?
That remains to be seen.
But what is certain is that the player once likened to “like Bambi on ice” before he came to The Rock will do what he’s always done: work hard, stay positive, and give it everything he’s got.