NBA Daily: Evan Turner on Trade Rumors And The West Playoff Race
Over the course of simply 70 profession video games spanning 4 years, Joel Embiid has made a outstanding impression on the NBA.
From double-doubles, to 40-point video games, to Sportscenter blocks, Russell Westbrook poster dunks, and a beginning spot in an All-Star sport, Embiid pressured himself into the dialog as one of many league’s finest gamers after practically being written off due to two foot surgical procedures that brought on him to overlook the primary two years of his skilled profession.
But there’s nonetheless one factor lacking from Embiid’s whirlwind of a profession: taking part in in back-to-back video games.
After residing the primary a part of his basketball life as a medical query mark, Embiid is lastly freed from minutes restrictions and sitting out of two straight video games. After taking part in Friday night time at dwelling in opposition to the Miami HEAT, Embiid shall be obtainable to play Saturday’s contest versus the Indiana Pacers.
This comes at a time when Embiid’s efficiency and availability are greater than a nationwide dialog. It’s duly famous that the 7-foot-2 heart frequently misses practices and video games attributable to what the Philadelphia 76ers categorize as “load management.” Not solely is Embiid beginning the upcoming All-Star sport, however he’s additionally taking part within the Rising Stars Challenge and Skills Challenge over the course of the weekend’s festivities. For a participant whose well being is dealt with so rigorously by his membership, Embiid taking part in a full slate of enjoyable actions at the least deserves to be questioned.
But head coach Brett Brown doesn’t foresee a problem along with his franchise participant going out and absorbing all the expertise of All-Star weekend.
“I’ve had the privilege to coach in two of those games, two All-Star games,” Brown mentioned prior the Sixers sport in opposition to the HEAT. “It’s just fun. When you look at it you’re never really worrying about everyone’s going to get tired because of the games. You worry a little bit about the magnitude of the event, and just the atmosphere more than the actual event that you’re talking about. That’s more on my mind than him getting fatigued in those types of events.”
Fatigue and accidents have been a mainstay within the Embiid narrative, however over the course of this season alone, it’s been extra speak than actuality. Checking into 39 video games to date, Embiid has eclipsed 32 minutes 18 occasions. That features a 39-minute outing in opposition to the Minnesota Timberwolves and his 49-minute triple-overtime efficiency in opposition to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Simply, the Sixers aren’t resting Embiid anymore in the event that they really feel they’ve an opportunity to deliver dwelling a victory.
On the nights Embiid isn’t obtainable, nevertheless, the 25-24 Sixers are a shell of themselves. Of the 10 video games Embiid has missed, Philadelphia is 2-Eight, shedding a few of these video games to the likes of the Chicago Bulls and Sacramento Kings, not precisely playoff-caliber squads.
At a time the place the playoff race is heating up within the Eastern Conference, with seeds Four-Eight being separated by simply three video games, having Embiid on the court docket as a lot as attainable definitely bolsters the Sixers’ possibilities to do extra injury to their opponents information than their very own.
That being mentioned, the step to incorporate Embiid in back-to-backs is under no circumstances indicative of risking his long-term well being for a short-term return.
“Joel’s availability has got nothing to do with desperation or crunch time, it’s all about his health,” Brown mentioned. “Which is exactly what it should be.”
Despite being a results of Embiid’s rising well being, the timing for the All-Star heart to grow to be absolutely uncorked couldn’t be extra coincidental to his crew’s success.
When Embiid fails to make it on the court docket for the Sixers, their offensive score plummets from the 112.6 mark they produce whereas he’s taking part in by 10 full factors. That score can be absolutely the lowest within the NBA. Their defensive score when he’s taking part in, 103.2, can be second to solely the Boston Celtics. While Embiid rests, the Sixers’ defensive score balloons to 110.three, which might rank 25th, smack dab in the course of the Timberwolves and the Atlanta Hawks.
Having the chance to play because the video games come alongside and never sitting out scheduled contests ought to Embiid to develop extra of a rhythm, in accordance with the All-Star himself. As the video games and practices construct up on the second half of the season, Embiid believes he’ll have a greater likelihood to construct up continuity down the stretch.
“We’ve known for the past couple weeks that I’ve been healthy, so this is just another step toward our goal,” Embiid mentioned.
The success the Sixers and Embiid have collectively this season is plain. Together, they present indicators of being one of many extra dominant groups within the league. Apart, the crew struggles to recreate the manufacturing they obtain from their star participant, and the participant himself doesn’t really expertise the grind of a full NBA season.
Moving ahead, the remainder of the league shall be ready to see if Embiid can maintain up beneath the calls for of a real skilled schedule. The Sixers themselves will see if Embiid can proceed to put up his averages of 24 factors and 11 rebounds because the minutes and video games construct up.
Their playoff hopes rely on it.
This subsequent step in Embiid’s profession is simply as essential because the 40-point video games or the poster-worthy dunks. For Embiid, taking part in back-to-back video games is the ultimate hurdle to realizing how particular he can really be.
Playing these video games can be the final step to actually being in the identical class as his star friends.
“Now I’m gonna feel like an NBA player,” Embiid mentioned.