Sixers: Why Doc Rivers should be pacing Joel Embiid

Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Doc Rivers, Joel Embiid, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Philadelphia 76ers can never just have a completely normal offseason and start to the season, can they? It was revealed that All-NBA center Joel Embiid is said to be still adjusting to his right thumb surgery. The bigger reveal was that Embiid dealt with plantar fasciitis this offseason. The team (through reports and overall vibes) seemed more connected going into this season and was just together at training camp in South Carolina.

Why is this just becoming widespread public information now? That question isn’t worth answering because it is the past. The focus needs to be on how to get Embiid in midseason form and keep him there. That is why Doc Rivers should be pacing Joel Embiid.

The Sixers need to let Joel Embiid play his way into shape

Doc Rivers is applauded for being a good guy and a player’s coach. A guy that players like to play for and listen to. Embiid and Rivers know that Embiid wants to be out there as much as possible. Even that is still somewhat of a fact after so many injuries and their untimely manner. Joel Embiid is a superstar and one of the best five players in the world.

Rivers, in his veteran presence, that he puts so much weight in, should know that a guy like Embiid will appreciate the easier go of it to begin the season. The first few months should be a part of Embiid’s conditioning. Embiid and Shaquille 0’Neal’s names have been mentioned together in sentences before. Why not treat Embiid the way Shaq used to get treated and let him play himself into shape over the course of the season?

To make pacing Embiid a priority will give Rivers, the coaching staff, and the team time to figure out different lineups. It is the perfect time to see if Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, and Matisse Thybulle will stick in the rotation as wing players. I can’t believe I typed that in 2022. That wandering question should be answered already by now, but here we are.

Doc Rivers’ reputation and common sense logic would lend him to follow the idea of pacing Joel Embiid. The Philadelphia 76ers’ season success hangs in the balance. No Finals talk. No advancing in the playoffs. Even this risk of playing Embiid major minutes to begin the season is not smart. Rivers’ being a pretty good regular-season coach should get to making this adjustment as soon as possible.

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