Sixers Notes: Reed, Bamba, Embiid, Jones

Paul Reed is helping the Sixers battle to avoid the play-in tournament while Joel Embiid recovers from meniscus surgery, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. At 6’9″, Reed isn’t an imposing physical force like Embiid, but he has learned how to be effective against larger opponents.

“I understand what the team needs from me,” Reed said. “And I understand where my shots can come from. And what shots are cool for me to take within our offense.”

Reed is trying to shake a slump that has seen him average just 5.5 PPG over the last four games while shooting 24.8% from the field. But offense isn’t Reed’s primary contribution, and he’s managed to deliver 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.7 blocks per game during that time while sharing center duties with Mohamed Bamba.

Reed was inserted into the starting lineup when Embiid was injured in late January. He was eventually moved back into his traditional reserve spot, with Bamba taking over as the starter, and both players are more comfortable in their current roles.

“He plays so much bigger than his size,” Bamba said of Reed. “His ability to rebound, his ability to just kind of make plays off of broken plays. It looks pretty unique out there, at times. But when the ball goes through the net, it’s all right. The crazy part is … he works a lot on the stuff he does.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Embiid has entered the “ramp up” phase of his recovery process, coach Nick Nurse said this week (Twitter video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). He will start with 1-on-1 work, eventually move to 5-on-5, and then must be cleared for contact before attempting to play in an actual game.
  • In a mailbag column, Pompey examines when Embiid might be able to return to the lineup. He states that the ideal time would be an April 2 home game against Oklahoma City, which would provide nearly two weeks to prepare for the playoffs. Philadelphia has a three-game road trip after that with stops in Miami, Memphis and San Antonio before concluding the season at home against Detroit, Orlando and Brooklyn. The Sixers are a half-game out of the sixth spot in the East, and the number of games they get from Embiid could go a long way in determining where they finish.
  • Kai Jones suffered a hamstring injury in his second G League game after signing a 10-day contract last week, Pompey adds in the same piece. Jones’ deal will expire on Sunday, and the injury may prevent him from getting another 10-day opportunity. The team signed Jones with the intention of keeping him in the G League to monitor his game, according to Pompey.
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