Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Bassey, Hauser, Robinson

Sixers All-NBA center Joel Embiid is playing through multiple injuries as he strives to keep his 6-7 club afloat without injured co-star James Harden, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid is dealing with a tweaked ankle and an injured right shoulder, the latter of which is so restrictive that the big man says he occasionally struggles to lift his arm.

“And when I go block shots, I really feel it,” Embiid said. “I don’t know what’s going on. But it’s whatever.”

Despite the various ailments, Embiid is still having a big on-court impact. Through his nine healthy games this year, the seven-footer is averaging 29.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG, 3.7 APG and 1.2 BPG.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Spurs two-way player Charles Bassey has impressed with San Antonio thus far, so much so that Pompey wonders in another piece if the Sixers erred in letting him go. He is averaging 6.8 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.0 BPG as a reserve in just 15.5 MPG. “He knows his role,” Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich said. “He rebounds, blocks shots, runs the floor, and he does it with a lot of energy. He and [starting center Jakob Poeltl] have been a good pair in that regard.” Pompey notes that the 6’11” Bassey has the size to be more of a “true center” than the team’s current backups behind Embiid — 6’9″ Paul Reed and 6’7″ Montrezl Harrell are more combo power forward/centers.
  • Celtics reserve forward Sam Hauser has been given a larger role in his second year with Boston, and has responded well, writes Jared Weiss of The Athletic. “He’s a guy that can create separation, and so usually guys who can shoot the ball are also really good screeners,” head coach Joe Mazzulla said. “So I think putting him in the action is another guy that they have to worry about, along with Jayson [Tatum] and Jaylen [Brown] and whether it’s [Marcus] Smart or Al [Horford], so when you have him involved, it just adds another layer to how they’re going to guard.”
  • Knicks starting center Mitchell Robinson continues to make progress from his right knee sprain. New York head coach Tom Thibodeau said on Saturday that Robinson’s availability has been upgraded to day-to-day, per Fred Katz of The Athletic (Twitter link). Robinson has played a somewhat reduced role with New York this season, averaging a career-low 19.3 MPG during his eight healthy games with the club. In those minutes, the seven-footer out of Western Kentucky is posting averages of 5.8 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 2.0 BPG. Reserves Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein have stepped up in his absence.
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