Brett Brown Reveals Ideal Number for Joel Embiid's Playoff Minutes
We're over two months into the NBA's COVID-19 pandemic suspension, and there's still been no word on whether the season will resume or not. Before, there were plenty of doubts, as it was reported that some decision-makers behind the scenes believed the league was angling towards cancellation.
As each passing day goes by, however, the gut feeling changes. Soon, we'll officially find out if the NBA season will continue or conclude. And lately, it's been feeling like the 2019-2020 NBA season will make its way back to action in some capacity. If that's the case, then the Philadelphia 76ers will have the opportunity to see this prepared-for-playoffs roster go to work in the postseason.
If and when that happens, Sixers' head coach Brett Brown is optimistic about his All-Star center Joel Embiid's health, and conditioning. "He's got a real desire to be at a playing weight that equals his best since he's been in the league," Brown said, in regards to Embiid. "With the restrictions, everybody has, if you live in a home and you've got a yard, or a one-bedroom apartment and have to take those parameters into account, our medical staff and strength and conditioning staff have been all over that part of it."
Remaining in shape and staying healthy are two of Embiid's most notable concerns. This year, the superstar big man has continued to struggle as he's dealt with several injuries throughout the course of the season. Many believed that since the Sixers are on a hiatus, Embiid would lose progress with his conditioning. However, he was fortunate enough to be granted access to the team's practice facility during the suspension.
Soon enough, Brown and the 76ers are hopeful that they will return to the court for unrestricted team practice in order to prepare the 2020 NBA Playoffs. And if the league gets back to action, the 76ers head coach hopes that Embiid can stay on the court for nearly 40 minutes during each game of the postseason.
"My ideal thing is I'd want to play him about 38 minutes," Brown mentioned. "In a playoff situation as the head coach, that's my ideal number. In the regular season, you bring him along, and I think 30 was the number where he ended up."
Over the last two years, Joel Embiid has appeared in 19 playoff games for the Sixers. During that time, he has averaged roughly about 32 minutes-per-game.
Granted, Embiid has dealt with his fair share amount of health issues during both the 2019 and 2018 NBA Playoffs. The hope for Embiid is that he's benefitted from the time off by getting healthy and back in shape. As we know with Embiid, though, his health and conditioning status is always unpredictable.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_