what did you do Joel Embiidinjury means to Philadelphia 76ersChances of reaching the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since Embiid was drafted in 2014 as a cornerstone of the rebuilding process?
On Friday, the Sixers announced that Embiid had suffered Orbital fracture and concussion During the late stages of the match 6 win on Thursday to close Toronto Raptors. Philadelphia has not provided a timetable for Embiid’s return.
With Game 1 of the 76ers Conference semi-final match against the top seed Miami Heat On Monday in Miami, Philly is set to prepare to play without Embiid, the finalist for this season’s NBA Most Valuable Player award. Embiid has been a strong candidate in part because he has played 68 games this season, and missed just four games a while ago in the NBA’s health and safety protocols in November.
Let’s take a look at how Sixers can modify their attack with James Harden He’s set to play without Embiid for the first time since he was traded in Philadelphia and so is how quickly Embiid could come back. Can he resume a great campaign and delve deeper into the playoffs than ever before?
How Philadelphia’s attack should turn out without Embiid
Embiid’s durability this season makes it difficult to predict how Team 76 will play in his absence. Remarkably, Harden has yet to play without Embiid, having missed the two games (including a seven-point home loss to the Heat in March) that Embiid missed after the trade deadline.
It’s hard to guess that Philadelphia’s attack will be different in style. Embiid was a big part of the team’s offensive; His 37% usage rate this season has ranked him 10th all-time since single shifts have been tracked from 1977-1978 (minimum 1,000 minutes) Per Stathead.com. Due to Embiid’s unique ability as a post scorer and out of seclusion, the Sixers cannot turn this property over to his replacement in the lineup.
Instead, most of them will definitely go to Harden’s Triple Ocean, Therese Maxi And Tobias Harris. Harris has boosted his 36-minute average score from 17.4 to 21.2 in nine games without an Embiid this season, while Maxi has jumped from 16.2 to 24.8.
After the veterans Paul Millsap And Deandre Jordan Proving to lack Embiid backups, Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers embraced the use of a lively big guy in his sophomore year Paul Reed In those late minutes of the regular season and against Toronto. Reed bolstered the non-Embedd squads, though the Raptors still edged the Sixers by seven points in 44 minutes with Embiid on the bench and Harden on the field. During the first round.
Harden and Reed developed capture chemistry, and Reed will undoubtedly play a major role in Embiid’s absence. However, Philly’s best strategy with Embiid may be to be small and stretch the floor George Niang as a center.
Admittedly, the 6-foot-7 Niang offers limited resistance at the edge. His 13th block this season has been the highest of his career. This is why Rivers gave up using Niang in the 5 after trying it out early in the season; 72 of Niang’s 91 minutes came as the Sixers in October and November, per analysis of lineup data from NBA Advanced Stats.
Philadelphia may need Niang’s floor spacing to give Harden and Maxey access to the basket when they beat the defenders in the series. Miami’s opponents attempted 17.3 shots in the league with fewer than 17.3 shots per game in the restricted area, according to the second Spectrum Tracker, a measure of how strong the Heat is at protecting the edge.
The flip side of that strategy: Miami also give away 3-pointers in sets, as 46% of their opponents’ shooting attempts came from outside the arc. Niang, a 40% career 3-point shooter with a career-high 2.1 per game this season, can enjoy those opportunities when defenders help him and make them think twice before jamming the paint.
Playing Niang in the center may be more acceptable in this series because the heat doesn’t put much pressure on the edge when attacking. Their own attempts to fire 18.2 per game in the restricted area were the fourth lowest in the NBA, on the second spectrum.
Why is Embiid’s schedule uncertain?
It remains unclear how long Embiid may be abroad. The schedule for orbital injuries often varies greatly depending on the location and whether or not the bones have displaced. A few players with orbital injuries have only missed a game or two, while others – including Embiid in March 2018 with a similar injury requiring surgery – have been absent for an extended period.
Embiid sustained the injury on March 28 of that year and missed the remaining eight games of the regular season as well as the first two games of the Round of 76 against Miami. He returned on April 19, 22 days later. Of course, this kind of schedule would rule the Embiid up for the entire series.
Unfortunately, serious orbital injuries are more common. Note Jeff Stouts from InStreetClothes.com The average time lost due to an orbital injury during the regular season is about 10 games.
Of course, even if Philadelphia gets a breather from the severity of an orbital fracture, an Embiid concussion is a serious concern in and of itself. In order for Embiid to return, he must first clear the concussion protocol.
As a result, the Sixers should prepare to play at least the first two games of the series without Embiid, as they did in 2018. At the time, Philadelphia managed to split their first two games at home using a smaller lineup before winning the game. Three games to come after Embiid returns to finish the Heat.
This time around, the 76ers will have to start on the road, making timing of Embiid’s injury even trickier – especially with Miami potentially affected by injuries. Jimmy Butler And Kyle Lowry At the beginning of this series. With Harden, 76 players have enough attack to win without an Embiid, especially if he’s small.
The bigger questions are whether Philadelphia can get enough stops without a defensive anchor – and whether he’ll be able to come back in all this series.
The betting market is not optimistic about these answers. Before the Embiid news, the lines were in Caesar’s sports book (+150 for the Sixers, -180 for the Heat) guaranteed a 38% chance of Philadelphia winning the series. The current streak as of Friday night (+300 for the Sixers, -380 for the Heat) has reduced that to 23%.
We’ll have a better idea after the first game, if Philly can find the right answers.