That did not, however, mean the Sixers' 21-year-old rookie was intimidated by his 36-year-old former hero.
Ben Simmons has starred in helping the Philadelphia 76ers to a win over the Miami Heat in the first day of the playoffs. And they are now on a 17-game winning streak, with nine of them coming without Embiid on the court.
The teams split the regular-season series, 2-2.
"Joel Embiid (orbital bone fracture, left eye) is out for tomorrow night's game vs. Miami". This is the type of first round series that has the chance of going seven games.
Simmons dished and dazzled in the paint and the Heat had no answer for Sixers reserves Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova.
It's a close battle between the two but Redick has been more consistent this season.
"We need to impose our will on Miami", Sixers coach Brett Brown said.
Embiid's presence made the Sixers a better defensive team. The Sixers absolutely smashed their expectations and sit with the third best record in the East behind the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics. We anticipate Philadelphia will be a single-digit favorite. He also has more experience in the playoffs, so that gives him the edge over Johnson.
He averaged 22.9 points, 10.9 rebounds, 3.1 assists and 1.76 blocks in 63 games this season.
His presence will be missed against the Heat and center Hassan Whiteside. The All-Star centre has been hopeful he can return early in the series. Brown said. "They will manage that and craft that". "You better go to jump or you better find perimeter shooters, because anything soft or non-purposeful is very hard with those two bodies in there".
JJ Redick scored 28 points and reserve Marco Belinelli added 25 to lead the Sixers, but it was rookie Simmons, who stole the show in his National Basketball Association playoff debut. Though they played mostly sub.500 teams in that period, the evidence shows that Simmons will be a threat to Miami, even without Embiid.
The 76ers shot an extraordinary 64 per cent from behind the three point line with Reddick top-scoring with 28 points, Belinelli 25 points, Saric 20 points and Ilyasova 17 points.