The Philadelphia 76ers have a Joel Embiid problem

Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers
Cleveland Cavaliers v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

The Philadelphia 76ers are currently 12-6 and sit fourth in the Eastern Conference. This team's start to the season has been pleasantly surprising and even with the loss of last season's assist leader, James Harden, the team appears to be better. One of the key reasons this is the case is due to the new head coach Nick Nurse.

Nick Nurse has been a revelation and it is not just his utilization of unique lineups. Nurse has been challenging defenses by having all five players on the floor bring the ball up to show different looks. By using every player to get into different offensive sets, the unpredictability in this offense has been its' best asset.

What is the Sixers biggest concern at this point in the season?

Joel Embiid's backup is the answer. That is abundantly clear through the first couple months of the regular season. Do you remember this summer when the jokes were rampant about the Sixers having 7 centers on the roster. It made no sense, but it aimed to address the main concern of the Joel-Embiid era, which was never having a competent backup for him.

Well the plethora of centers in the offseason have panned out as well as the thin picking did in years past. This Philadelphia 76ers team is still missing a consistent center to rely on in the absence of Embiid. Through 18 games, Embiid has played 16 of them. In the two games without Embiid, the Sixers are 0-2 and have lost both games by double digits.

The two losses came to two quality teams in the Western Conference in the Minnesota Timberwolves and New Orleans Pelicans, but the issue is these games could have been blowouts. Minnesota had a 17-point lead in the first quarter and the Pelicans were up 21 points heading into the fourth quarter last night. The bottom line is without Embiid, the Sixers struggle to keep games close.

With the assets acquired in the Harden trade it was widely assumed the Sixers might go star hunting to pair another player alongside Maxey and Embiid. I suggest they go another direction and search for a backup center that will give this team the frontcourt depth to allow Embiid rest when needed.

The Sixers can get back on track tonight against the Celtics and FanDuel Sportsbook is giving you a $150 bonus if they win! Sign up here, deposit at least $10 and bet $5 or more on Philly's moneyline odds right now and you'll get an extra $150 in bonus bets if the Sixers beat Boston. Sign up for FanDuel now!