When the Sixers selected Joel Embiid with the third overall pick in last summer’s NBA Draft, it was widely assumed that he’d miss the entire 2015 season.
Not only did recovering from a foot injury that required surgery dictate as much, but Philadelphia hasn’t been shy about its desire to be on the long-term tanking plan, so keeping assets like Embiid sidelined only helped the team’s chances of earning a high lottery pick in the draft once again.
But at some point, the Sixers’ players need to, you know, actually play in order for the team to get better. And though Embiid was projected to sit out the entire regular season all along, if he can’t begin to develop his NBA skill set this summer, head coach Brett Brown admits that it will be somewhat of a disappointment — if not for the team, then for him personally.
From Keith Pompey of Philly.com:
Brett Brown said he “personally” would be disappointed if Joel Embiid didn’t play in the summer league.
“Personally, I expect him to play in the summer league,” Brown said. “But if I guessed any of this wrong, I want to make sure that the club is on record not being definitive. We are not in the position to say that now.”
Brown raised a few eyebrows Wednesday when he would not commit on whether the 7-foot rookie center would play this summer. Embiid has missed the entire season as he recovers from right foot surgery. …
“I just feel like it’s too definitive if we come out and say he’s definitely playing now,” he explain on Friday. “It’s not so much any trepidation I have to 100 percent declare it. I don’t feel like it’s responsible to say that now. He’s heading in that direction.”
The clarification comes from Brown wanting to make it clear that the organization isn’t expecting anything where Embiid is concerned.
But, honestly? Come on.
While the team certainly needs to be cautions with its newly-acquired big man’s foot injury (just ask Kevin Durant about that), at some point, the draft picks are going to need to pan out in order for the team to move on from its somewhat embarrassing rebuilding strategy.