Here’s the excellent news, Philadelphia 76ers followers: Unlike Stephen Curry and Kyrie Irving (performed for season), Joel Embiid seems like he’ll be prepared to rock in some unspecified time in the future throughout the first spherical of the NBA playoffs.
But right here’s the unhealthy information: It doesn’t look like “ready to rock at some point” refers to the beginning of their sequence with the Miami Heat.
Embiid admitted as a lot whereas talking with the media earlier than the Sixers nabbed their 16th straight victory within the regular-season finale, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic:
Joel Embiid, on whether or not he'll be accessible for recreation 1: "Unlikely, but there's still a chance." #Sixers.
— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) April 11, 2018
SO YOU’RE SAYING THERE’S A CHANCE?
We’ll take it.
Embiid missed the Sixers’ last seven video games after struggling an orbital fracture close to his left eye that required surgical procedure. Returning in time for the beginning of the playoffs all the time appeared like an formidable timeline, particularly contemplating his damage historical past. Other setbacks are unrelated to this one, however the Sixers have max cash invested in him, with restricted outs, transferring ahead.
At the identical time, you may think about them pushing him again as quickly as attainable. After all, they clearly can not win a playoff sequence with out him.
Or can they?
The Heat are a terrifying crew. Postseason units are largely chess matches between head coaches, and Miami’s sideline-stalker, Erik Spoelstra, is among the many greatest at making changes on the fly and over the lengthy haul. But the Sixers are rising into their very own unbiased of Embiid. They’re now a internet plus when Ben Simmons performs with out him for the season, in accordance to NBA.com. They’ve fared even higher throughout his solo stints because the begin of March, outpacing opponents by 12.2 factors per 100 possessions throughout 451 minutes of whole motion.
This issues. It doesn’t imply the Sixers will beat the Heat ought to Embiid fail to return in any respect. It doesn’t even imply they’ll take down Miami with him. They’re younger and comparatively inexperienced on the playoff stage. Any one of Embiid, Simmons, Markelle Fultz and Robert Covington might fold to the second.
That doesn’t change what can solely be touted as an extremely essential growth: The Sixers don’t want to rush Embiid again if he’s not, in reality, prepared. Not solely wouldn’t it be reckless, however, effectively, they’re beginning to present they’ll compete and win with out him.
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