Among the most compelling early season stories for the upcoming NBA season, the biggest mystery in Joel Embiid. The former No. 3 overall pick is finally set to take the court this year after multiple foot injuries have sidelined him since he was one of the highest-rated prospects in the 2014 draft.
However, the Sixers still have to be careful with the big man, and so this season, he’ll be on a minutes restriction to start the year. First overall pick Ben Simmons, however, will be under no such limit, and will play over 30 minutes per night, as he should. From Philly.com:
The Sixers will have him on a minutes restriction. Embiid also isn’t expected to play on back-to-back nights. They won’t know if he’ll start at center against the Oklahoma City Thunder in the season-opener until after consulting with the medical staff.
This year’s first overall pick, Ben Simmons, won’t have the same restrictions. Look for the 6-10 point forward to play 30-plus minutes a night while initiating the offense. There’s a lot of excitement because of his ability to play anywhere from power forward to point guard.
Embiid will have an aura of concern around him until he makes it through a season without a major injury. He’s had not only big injuries, but the exact ones that you don’t want to hear about with regards to a big man. Fractures in the foot and back are the ones you absolutely hate to hear. Embiid has suffered setbacks which have pushed his start back two full years. You have to be as cautious as possible to avoid another injury, and even then, you just have to hope.
Simmons not having any restrictions is a good move. He needs as many reps as possible. Too often teams are overly conservative with rookies and if you’re not going to compete for a playoff spot, there’s no reason to worry. The Sixers even elected to get playmaking support point guards who aren’t ball dominant in Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez so as to not jam up time for him.
The Sixers have reason to be hopeful, and they’re approaching this season right with those two.
Source: CBS Sports / Sixers reveal minutes restriction for Embiid, aggressive approach for Simmons