Philadelphia 76ers: Tony Bradley should start when Joel Embiid is out

Philadelphia 76ers, Mike Scott, Tony Bradley, Paul Reed. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Mike Scott, Tony Bradley, Paul Reed. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers need to have Tony Bradley as the starting center when Joel Embiid misses a game.

The Philadelphia 76ers lost their most recent game to the lowly Detroit Pistons, despite beating the same club just two nights before. The major difference being that MVP candidate Joel Embiid didn’t suit up against the Sixers’ Eastern Conference opponent.

Not having one of the best players in the NBA available doesn’t excuse the 76ers for not only losing, but getting blown out by a team with a record of 4-13. The easy issue to point out is that Philly needs to get more from Ben Simmons, but the other major issue that needs to be addressed is how head coach Doc Rivers handles the center rotation in Embiid’s absense.

In the four games that Embiid has missed this year, future Hall of Famer Dwight Howard has started as the team’s center. Howard has seen a modest uptick in production when starting, but the Sixers are 0-4 when he’s the starter, it’s time to shake things up.

Tony Bradley should start over Howard when Embiid sits for the Sixers.

There’s one easy solution that Rivers should imply whenever Embiid misses a game in the future. I suggested it during the Pistons game on Twitter that the 76ers should start Tony Bradley over Howard when Emiid misses a game.

The reason is that despite being a former All-Star, Howard isn’t effective against most starting centers now and playing starting level minutes at this stage of his career isn’t good for the 35-year-old big man. He gets into foul trouble too quickly and isn’t nearly as mobile as a defender than Bradley is at this stage in their respective career.

Stats alone won’t show a major difference between the two.

Per Game Table
1Tony Bradley2020-21236015.0.533.000.552.533.6003.
2Dwight Howard2020-213518417.8.584.429.600.604.5452.

Provided by View Stathead Tool Used
Generated 1/26/2021.

More from The Sixer Sense

While their season stats don’t show a big gap between the two, this past game was evidence enough that Bradley can clearly outperform the veteran.

Howard finished with five points, four rebounds, two steals, one block, one turnover, and three fouls in 24 minutes. Bradley had 12 points, nine rebounds, one block, and two fouls in 23 minutes of play. It doesn’t help Howard’s case that he had the worst plus/minus score for the Sixers and Bradley had the best.

Apparently, the idea of starting Bradley over Howard isn’t new to Philadelphia’s head coach. Rivers was considering that as an option before the game, according to Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly. Rivers did end up started Bradley in the second half of this past game, but the damage had been done at that point. Keeping Howard in his backup role is already on Rivers’ mind and should be moving forward.

This wouldn’t be the first time in Rivers’ coaching history he would opt to have a backup keep their role and bring in the third string player to start. When he was the head coach of the Boston Celtics, Rivers would start Brian Scalabrine over Glen Davis when Kevin Garnett would miss a game, even though Davis was Garnett’s primary backup.

Next. Ranking Simmons as a point guard 2021. dark

At this point in his career, Howard probably shouldn’t be starting, but he’s still a quality backup. Whenever Embiid misses a game, Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers should start Bradley in his place.