Sixers Lead

Embiid’s Knees Provide Jump Into Spring

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Embiid In The Spring

As the winds of winter shift to sticky, sewage-tainted breezes, life begins to retake the streets of Philadelphia. These precious few weeks of spring are pretty much the only great days of weather that the city sees all year, so people really do get outside and enjoy it. It’s a beautiful process to behold.

Unless, of course, you’re The Process. See, springtime has never been kind to Joel Embiid. Going back to his days at Kansas, the superstar center has yet to experience a healthy month of April. From his initial back injury to his problematic foot, to the… yeah, it’s a hell of a list. The Sixers are desperately trying to ensure that the list ends right here and now. Embiid played Sunday for the first time since the All-Star break, and the team has expressed plans of extreme caution moving forward. This is a team that absolutely cannot afford any excuses during the upcoming playoff run.

Time’s Up

Time is up. Philly needs to find out whether this team can compete against the Celtics, Raptors, and Bucks. Is Brett Brown the coach of the future? Should Jimmy Butler and/or Tobias Harris wear Sixer uniforms next season? What does this team even need to improve?

All of these question marks, along with many, many more, have to be eliminated by July 1st. It’s never wise to go all in when you haven’t even really had a good look at your cards. A playoff run with a healthy Embiid goes a LONG way towards doing just that.

If the team plays well, then there’s a clear path forward. Harris has a relatively small cap hold, so the team can theoretically rescind the rights to Butler, beg Tobi to be patient, and go out and sign a guy like Kawhi or KD to a max contract right before giving Harris the money he deserves. If the team flops horrendously, then the team MIGHT be able to retain cap flexibility for one more offseason, or they can just completely cut ties with Harris and Butler and go talk to Kyrie and Klay over the summer.

Lessons Learned

What the team can’t do, however, is stumble around like they did last year. The front office couldn’t get a good read on their roster’s standing after their playoff run, as Embiid and Fultz were so clearly hampered by their injuries. We don’t yet know what the failures of the last offseason have cost the Sixers moving forward, but we do absolutely know that they can’t repeat those mistakes.

Sitting Embiid was the best decision that the team could have made. He now has the perfect amount of time to find his rhythm before the most important playoff run the Sixers have seen since 2001. GM Elton Brand is looking toward the future, which the the last regime found clouded by collars and shoulder scrutiny. Let’s see if he can keep heading in the right direction.

 

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About Jeff Weissman

I'll be shouting Philly Philly from the rooftops until the day I die.

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