Does load management save Al Horford’s tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers?
There where a lot of interesting things that Doc Rivers said in his introductory press conference as the Philadelphia 76ers new head coach. One of the things that stuck out that Rivers spoke on was the idea of load management, especially in regards to Joel Embiid.
Considering the All-Star center’s injury history, it’s not surprising that his new head coach was open to the idea. Former head coach Brett Brown tried to manage Embiid’s load last season with moderate success.
Working under the assumption that Rivers will load manage Embiid in a similar fashion that he did with Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers, Rivers will need a solid backup center. This is to make sure the club’s play doesn’t fall off too much when Embiid rests.
Al Horford’s Sixers tenure may become extended.
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Last summer the 76ers front office brought Al Horford to be a legit backup for their All-Star big man. While they did grossly overpay the veteran center, he did do a good job being Embiid backup despite the fact that the two played very poorly together.
There’s no denying that Horford is past his prime, but he’s still good enough to be an elite backup center and solid starter when needed. If Embiid is going to load managing this season, it wouldn’t be the end of the world if Horford stayed on the roster.
Rivers appears to be committed to load management with Embiid based on his comments and how’s he’s managed players like Leonard, Kevin Garnett, and Paul Pierce in the past. Rivers may want to keep Horford for the time being if he does go that route.
It was already going to be tricky trading Horford based on his contract, so keeping him, for now, may make sense for Rivers and the Sixers front office. Until they can find a deal that makes sense for the franchise involving the veteran, there is no reason to end his time with the 76ers prematurely.
Obviously, the Philadelphia 76ers should always have Horford on the trade block, but if Rivers wants to load manage Embiid, then the front office may not be in a rush to end Horford’s tenure with the franchise until the right deal comes along.