Joel Embiid looks destined to carry an even bigger role for the Sixers come playoff time, as coach Brett Brown desires to play him 38 minutes per game, “I hope I can keep him somewhere in that range, 38 is probably ambitious, I said it, I’ll own it, and I’ll stand by it.” The coach also had this to say about Embiid’s conditioning, which should benefit his plan, “His fitness base has been well earned…there is zero doubt that he would have had to put a lot of time to arrive into Orlando in the shape that he has arrived in.” (Serena Winters on Twitter)
In last year’s playoffs, Embiid averaged 30.4 minutes of playing time, 20.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.3 blocks, and .7 steals throughout 11 games. It is difficult to say that a player who averaged a double-double in the playoffs could have done better, but such is the case with Embiid. His production fell significantly from where it was during the 2018-19 season and could have been attributed to the heavy workload he bore during the season, as he had 29 games (out of 64) in which he played 35 minutes or more. This year, it’s a different story as he has played in only 44 contests, of which 11 of them required him to play 35 minutes or more. In those 11 games, he averaged 31.1 points, 15.4 rebounds, 2.8 Assists, .7 steals, and 1.5 blocks, all while shooting 52.2 percent from the floor and 41.3 percent from beyond the arc. It is also important to point out that out of those 11 games seven were against teams currently participating in the NBA restart. Embiid’s lighter workload this season and his rested game-ready physic should make coach Brown’s decision to play him more minutes a success. If everything goes according to plan, Embiid would be more than a must-start; he would be a “super” lock-and-load play in all formats, no matter the price.