Joel Embiid playing any position other then center is a huge waste of time and the Sixers need to realize this soon.
We all knew this was coming.
We’ve known the Philadelphia 76ers were going to have a massive problem, both literally and figuratively, at the center position sometime this season. And now with Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor all healthy, the question of how the logjam in the backcourt is going to be fixed takes center stage as the season goes forward.
All three of the Sixers big men are talented enough to be starters on almost any other team in the NBA. It is painfully obvious that there are just not enough minutes to go around, especially when you factor in Richaun Holmes, who has played well enough to also deserve some time on the hardwood.
It was thought that Sixers president Bryan Colangelo would have solved this problem before now, but injuries prevented that and now here we are. A Sixers roster with a surplus of bigs and no clear answer what to do about it.
Thus far, head coach Brett Brown has been trying out different combinations on the court, trying to see what might work. Last season he played Okafor and Noel together with less than spectacular results. This season has recently seen Okafor and Embiid play together and the outcome was not much better.
Then on Wednesday, Brown tried something new. He had Embiid, who has been averaging 17.6 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game playing center, move to power forward so that Okafor could play at the 5.
The result? Embiid had one of his worst nights of the season, where he scored only nine points and missed both threes he attempted as the Sixers lost to the Toronto Raptors 123-114. Okafor on the other hand scored 17 and had four rebounds and three blocks.
Embiid seemed very ware of his less than stellar performance, telling a reporter after the game:
“For [the first time] since I’ve been a Sixer, I didn’t trust the process tonight. I was just standing, I wasn’t moving, standing on the perimeter, I wasn’t active on defense.”
Of the three centers the Sixers have, Embiid is the most talented and has the highest ceiling, of that there can be no question. While Noel and Okafor have some skills that make them much better than average, they just aren’t in Embiid’s league and likely never will be.
Which is why trying Embiid at power forward is just a massive waste of everyone’s time.
Once the trades are done and the roster has shaken out, Joel Embiid is going to be the Sixers starting center. Period. There is just no way he should be playing any other position, no matter how much Embiid may want to. He is a center, he is beyond excellent at it and playing him anywhere else is a waste of material.
The sooner Brown and the Sixers staff realize this, the sooner they can get a deal done to move either Okafor or Noel. Because there is no way Embiid should ever play power forward again.
In a very short amount of time Embiid has proven that yes, he is every bit as good as advertised. He is the future of this franchise and spending time pairing him with Noel and Okafor, neither of whom may be in the Sixer’s long-term plans, is doing both Embiid and the fans a disservice.
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Brown has a tough task trying to maintain some kind of balance and keep all three men content. All three want to show what they can do and be successful in the NBA, but the priority has to be Embiid. He is the future of the 76ers and even if it makes Okafor and Noel unhappy, that is the simple truth.
Stop wasting time and leave Embiid at center and let him play the position he was born for.