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November 30, 2016

Sixers increase Embiid's minutes limit, starting immediately

Sixers NBA

It's been a week since Joel Embiid kicked a chair on the Sixers bench when he was told his minutes restriction would prevent him from playing in the second overtime against the Memphis Grizzlies. 

His team would go on to lose that game as he could only sit and watch after playing a season-high 27 minutes and 10 seconds, well over the 24-minute cap that's been placed on the 7-foot-2 rookie.

But prior to Wednesday night's game against the Sacramento Kings, head coach Brett Brown announced that Embiid will begin seeing more time -- the Sixers (4-14) have increased his limit to 28 minutes per game. He also said there's a little wiggle room should the game go into overtime.

For the most part, Embiid has played in segments typically lasting about four to six minutes. And rather than extending those, Brown said that he'll likely just add another four-minute segment.

In the limited action he's seen this season, Embiid has been stellar. He's averaging 18.2 points (on 48 percent shooting, 50 percent from three), 7.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in just 22.9 minutes per game. To put that in perspective, that's 28.6 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.8 blocks per 36 minutes.

Ideal, indeed. 

His points per 36 are fifth in the NBA this season among players with at least 250 minutes played. The guys in front of him? Russell Westbrook (31.5), Anthony Davis (30.8), DeMarcus Cousins (30.4), and DeMar DeRozan (29.3). He's also 20th in rebounds and first in blocks per 36 minutes.

Against the Kings (7-11), we'll get to see Embiid play alongside Jahlil Okafor for the first time since the second game of the season. Aside from both players being restricted in their playing time -- that's no longer the case for Okafor -- they haven't had many matchups that favor them pairing the two bigs. The Kings, who like to run big, present just such a challenge. 

The next step for Embiid will be playing back-to-back games, but no decision has been made about that yet. The next one is Friday and Saturday, and Brown said that they'll make a decision on that as early as tomorrow.

Follow Matt on Twitter: @matt_mullin