Joel Embiid’s durability has been the one issue that’s held him back throughout his NBA career, and it continues to pop up at seemingly the worst possible times.
The Sixers are preparing for the 2019-20 NBA season restart later this week, but, most importantly, for the playoffs that will follow. They’re a team with a lot of star power, but a lot of pressure to boot, as head coach Brett Brown is very much on the hot seat, and there’s talk of the team possibly splitting up Embiid and Ben Simmons if they don’t make a deep title run this summer.
Embiid, when in shape and healthy, is arguably the most dominant big man in the NBA. He’s clearly the best on the defensive side, and we’ve seen flashes where he’s bested even the likes of reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, Rudy Gobert and others.
The problem is that he’s continued to carry a few extra pounds, which has had an impact on his conditioning during games. Not only that, he’s also struggled with a slew of injuries, limiting his availability at times. So when he sat out while the team scrimmaged against the Thunder on Sunday, many took note.
Brown, however, doesn’t see him missing Sunday’s action as being an issue.
“Not really,” Brown said, via Sporting News. “It’s the second game.
“If this had happened three to four games into what we are calling the regular season, [then yes]. There is always frustration, selfish frustration, and I know frustration, at times, for Joel. But initially, [we’re] just trying to be smart with everything and move on.”
That’s fair, as meaningless games clearly aren’t what will move the needle for the team going forward, but Embiid has looked sluggish after time off on the court at times, and he could likely benefit from some extra minutes to help him ramp up into midseason form.