Embiid will finally get a long overdue DNP-CD for rest, in tonight’s game against the Pistons. Which, as sad as I am to miss him beast on Drummond again, is really the right thing to do.
Embiid has played more minutes than any other center in the NBA so far, and the Sixers played more games than any other team early on. It has definitely begun to catch up to him, as he looked sluggish and frustrated against Toronto and struggled a bit in the previous 2 games before that.
Regardless, this is most likely the product of Brett Brown coming to terms with the fact that Joel can’t play 35+ minutes in every single game this year, regardless of whether or not the team needs him to (or if Joel wants to).
The reality is, Embiid is playing well enough when he’s in, and the team has mostly enough surrounding Simmons and Butler to survive the second half of back-to-backs, especially against weaker opponents. So, I think it’s fair to assume we’ll see some more games where he sits, although probably not as many as last year.
I’m personally hoping that this provides Jimmy Buckets the opportunity to just take over a game. We’ve seen him close games, and we’ve seen him seal them at the buzzer (from that one spot on the floor, every freaking time!), but we haven’t seen him just decide that he wants to put a game to bed in the 3rd quarter.
This isn’t necessarily because Embiid and Butler are competing for touches, but more so that the lineups are going to be more angled towards optimizing Butler and Simmons separately, as opposed to kind of switching between lineups of Embiid/Redick and Butler/Simmons. I own Simmons on fantasy too, so a good Big Ben game would be good for the brand.
Anyways, I’m hoping this will be a game that provides a little morale boost, and a little bit of confidence in the 3 most talented guys, that they aren’t reliant upon one another for the teams success, and that just having 3 guys this talented at once can help the team win the games needed for a top 3 seed in the East. That’s not to say that I don’t want them invested in one another for their own success, because this team will be better if they are. It’s just that Simmons and Butler could both use a game where they say to themselves “I’m Jimmy F. Butler (or Ben F. Simmons) and I’m about to make this game my bitch.”