Sixers Coach Brett Brown Talks Joel Embiid and More Post-Draft
Despite rumors leading up to draft night that Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel could be on the move, it seems like both guys are here to stay - at least for now.
With both still on board, the next question will be can they both play with 2014 No. 3 overall pick Joel Embiid? Obviously the first key will be to get the 22-year-old on the court. He has missed 164 of 164 possible games since being drafted by the Sixers in the 2014 draft.
“We are not positionally balanced right now," Sixers coach Brett Brown admitted when asked how he sees the trip of big men fitting in.
While that might be something Brown needs to figure out down the road, the news has been getting better for Embiid over the last several weeks, with the most recent good news revealing that he has been cleared to start light scrimmaging in five-on-five settings. Coach Brown explained what exactly Embiid has been able to do during what he described as 'controlled' five-on-five scrimmages.
“He plays against all of our guys and other NBA guys in the gym," Brown explained. "There are restrictions on time. To make my point, controlled means duration time he can play.”
“He can play," Brown continued. "He goes up and down the court. It is 5-on-5 just as we know it. The controlled aspect as I say is in regards to time. One of the things I love most about him is his competitiveness. He just loves playing basketball."
According to Brown, there has been no pain or set-backs since the surgery.
“Everything is going just as planned,” Brown stated.
“We have systematic scans and periodic scans. The stable of people he has around him to ensure that there isn't anything missed. We are so paranoid and meticulous with making sure we give him everything we can to keep him on the court and to keep him healthy. He has been amazing, I can tell just by looking at him that he understands this is his future. I think he has been A+.”
While things all look and sound good for Embiid at the stage, he is also in good spirits. When I asked Coach Brown if Embiid would be able to play in the summer league if the team would in fact allow him too, he felt that was probable.
"Its one of the things I love about him," Brown admitted. "He truly loves playing, he is highly competitive and I agree with you, I feel that if we let him he would be playing in Utah or Vegas."
"There is a bounce to his step, a new sort of spirit," Brown continued. "Because the reality is that he is not that far away from playing competitive basketball again."
The star potential is there when he is healthy and it seems that reality is getting closer to seeing on the floor instead of just a YouTube video.