Sixers Notes: Embiid, Noel, Butler, Fultz

Joel Embiid‘s back soreness is creating a dilemma for the Sixers as they battle for home court advantage in the playoffs, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia may prefer to rest Embiid, but the team leads Boston by only a game and a half in the race for fourth place and is in the middle of a challenging 12-game portion of its schedule.

Embiid said his back was “pretty tight” after Saturday’s loss to the Thunder, but his first choice is always to play. He missed his first two NBA seasons with a broken bone in his foot and appeared in just 51 games last year as the team was being cautious about his condition.

“I have to keep getting treatment on it,” Embiid said of his back, “and it’s going to get better.”

Pompey observes that Embiid moved gingerly on the court yesterday and used a heating pad on his back when he went to the bench. It could turn into a season-long question for the Sixers as they balance the value of home court advantage against the prospect that Embiid won’t be 100% at playoff time.

There’s more Sixers news to pass along:

  • Nerlens Noel‘s appearance in Philadelphia yesterday with the Thunder served as a reminder that he could have been the rim-protecting backup center that the Sixers need, Pompey notes in a separate story. The sixth player chosen in the 2013 draft, Noel spent two and a half seasons in Philly before being traded to the Mavericks. He signed with Oklahoma City last summer.
  • Two months after acquiring him from the Timberwolves, the Sixers are still working to make Jimmy Butler fit with all their other pieces, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. He finds that Butler’s usage rate when he’s on the court with Embiid is just 18.1%, well below the 28.2% mark when he’s playing without Embiid or 27.8% when he and Ben Simmons are together without Embiid.
  • The Sixers welcomed Markelle Fultz back to the team this weekend, but his future remains cloudy, tweets Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Fultz will remain with the organization as he does rehab work after being diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome, but there’s no timetable for him to start playing again. “It’s great to see him … it’s good to have him back,” said coach Brett Brown, who added that the team needs to assess whether he’s in basketball shape after being away so long.
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19 thoughts on “Sixers Notes: Embiid, Noel, Butler, Fultz

  1. Lefty_Orioles_Fan

    Nerlens Noel could have been the rim-protecting backup center
    Well that would not have prevented George scoring the game winning three pointer and foul last night

    I think the real problem is Brett Brown is an awful coach and gets special treatment from the media, they protect him!


    PS The Sixers need Dennis Smith Jr.!

      • Lefty_Orioles_Fan

        He is as bad as Andy Reid in handling time outs
        He has done very little to improve this team via his coaching
        He can’t win close games

        Other than that he is as great as the media says he is!


        • Nebraska Tim

          I think the Sixers have just been overhyped. I think they’re actually outperforming their talent level.

          They’re just not great this year. No depth, and no shooting.

    • Brett Brown is a great coach, I for one I really like him… by the way DSJ sucks man, what on earth would he do in Philly, I rather Shamet can shoot & is a better player, so glad Philly don’t have DSJ, he is bad news & a discontent. He should be delighted to be 2nd fiddle to Luka. In Philly he would be like 6th fiddle at very best, so go figure dude.

  2. Guest617

    embiid aging like an old man. his injuries will only accelerate. it’s safe to say he’s peaked – trust the process

  3. Z-A

    Noel wanted max money and to be the man. Neither were happening. Mavs offered him a sweet deal, he was a fool to reject it. This is by far his best defensive year, not even close.

    Bolden is a decent backup rim protector. He cant guard straight up yet he fouls too much, but his help defense is good, he can block a shot.

    I imagine the Sixers will draft a Big in the 2nd to replace Amir’s spot on the roster. Patrons options were declined hed a UFA, and isnt healthy anyway.

  4. Reflect

    Phillys chances with a healthy team >>>>> Phillys chances with home court advantage. They should focus on resting Embiid.

  5. Nebraska Tim

    Nerlens Noel would look great on this year’s 76ers squad.

    It’s too bad Bryan Colangelo (and his dad and ownership) completely screwed up the process.

    Should have trusted the process. This could have been an unbelievably great team.

    Now? Flawed, without depth and little shooting.

    It will be interesting to see what Brand can do as the GM this offseason. I think he was a solid hire, but the damage has already been done.

    • Z-A

      He turned down a 70M deal from the Mavs. In what world do the Sixers offer him more to be a backup?

  6. DannyQ3913

    Don’t believe anything Keith Pompey writes. He creates controversial articles cause Sarah Todd outdoes him

  7. Meadowlark

    Philly cheese .. no! Wait. Not STEAK, stake.
    Drive the STAKE in the cheese, the processed cheese
    Embiid, the new Sam Bowie.

    • Z-A

      Bowie was in the league 10 yrs. Never avgd more than 16 pts. Embiid has never avgd less than 20.

      • 123Redsox

        The comparison was an inability to stay healthy. He played in less than half a season’s worth of games in 4 of 10 years and missed an entire year too. So really 5 of 11.

  8. Meadowlark

    Sam he am. Kinda. Sorta. Embiid will never make 10 years or 511 games. He’s as fragile as Sam. Poor guy.

    • x%sure

      He just tries too hard, with too much body weight to safely keep up with his ambitions. If he settles down he will get more durable.

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