What the Philadelphia 76ers need is time on the court to get all their new players used to each other, their rotations set, and just to find a way to get the most talented starting five in the East to gel before the playoffs start. They have 24 games to make it happen.
This does not help that cause.
The Sixers announced Joel Embiid will miss at least a week to get treatment on a sore left knee, the team announced. Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia has the details.
Embiid felt some soreness and was getting treatment before the All-Star break but did not miss games.
Obviously, what matters most is Embiid being healthy in the postseason, so rest now is better than the alternative.
But this is still not ideal. Especially as the Sixers try to make up a game and climb past the Pacers to ensure home court in the first round of the playoffs.
Through four games (73 total minutes) the new starting lineup of Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Embiid has been a force — a 116.5 offensive rating and a 91.9 defensive rating. Small sample size theater is at play here, things have not always looked completely smooth to the eye test (see the loss to Boston), and both Butler and Embiid have chaffed against coach Brett Brown’s system at points this season, but a +24.6 net rating through four games is an auspicious sign.
They just need more time to come together, and this injury cuts into that. At least a little.
The more significant concern starts when the bench comes into play. In the playoffs, Brown will likely want to keep two of his big four on the court with the subs (probably an eight-man rotation, nine tops). That’s where the real interesting stuff comes in the next few weeks: Which players would be willing to get their rest a little earlier in the first half to get more opportunities (read: shots) with the ball in their hands with the second unit? Butler? Harris? Which four work best together when it gets down to pairs?
Finding all of that out is now on hold temporarily.