For Sixers to Stay in Orlando for ‘a Long Time’ They Need Embiid
The Sixers are set to open the seeding games on Saturday night against the Indiana Pacers in the Orlando Bubble at Disney's Wide World of Sports and hope to have starting center Joel Embiid on the court when they resume play.
The Sixers big man was back on the practice floor on Thursday after he missed their final two scrimmage games with a sore right calf.
While his status is uncertain at this time, he's is expected to be available for Saturday's seeding game against the Pacers, but the key is getting him ready to be a integral part of the teams playoff run.
"We hope to be here (in Orlando) for a long time," said Sixers head coach Brett Brown on a zoom call with reporters on Thursday.
"We are incrementally moving him towards a direction that you can understand as it relates to his minutes," Brown continued. "But it will not be anything that's reckless, or done without direction from the people we pay to give that type of advice."
It helped the the team was able to rest up on Wednesday, Thursday and today before they take the court for the first time "for real" on Saturday.
Embiid appeared in just 13 minutes during last Friday's scrimmage, finishing with 10 points, six boards, and one assist.
To be in Orlando for a long time, the Sixers are going to need the very best version of both Embiid and Ben Simmons. Embiid has had constant issues staying healthy, especially during the important playoff rounds the past two years.
Two years ago, he missed time with recovering from a orbital bone fracture, and was forced to wear a mask in the series against Boston, where he was clearly out of shape and not major force in the pain during that series. Last year, Embiid battled with gastroenteritis and had an up-and-down playoff season.
Embiid numbers haven't been the same during his 19 career playoff games as they have been during his 202 regular season games.
In 19 playoff games, Embiid has averaged 20.7 points, 11.4 rebounds in 32.2 minutes per game. In the regular season, those numbers are 24.1 points, 11.5 rebounds in 30.6 minutes.
So for his career, in more minutes, Embiid is scoring less in the playoffs than he does in the regular season.
That needs to change for the Sixers to stay in Orlando for a longtime.