November 16, 2016
With Joel Embiid still not available to play on back-to-backs, the Sixers had a difficult choice facing them the next few nights: Do they play Embiid at home against Washington in what shapes up as a fairly winnable game or do they hold him out to play in Thursday night’s contest at Minnesota, which features a sexy individual matchup on national television (TNT) against Karl-Anthony Towns?
Well, they chose the latter. Trust the process:
Shootaround update:— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) November 16, 2016
•Embiid out vs. Wizards (rest); will play Thursday at Timberwolves
•Okafor to start vs. Wizards; 24 minute restriction
In additional news, Jahlil Okafor is now playing his first scheduled back-to-back of the season — He did get three emergency minutes on Friday night’s win over Indiana before taking the floor in Atlanta the next night — and Jerryd Bayless was indeed practicing in Delaware this week:
•Okafor will be available at Minnesota, on minute restriction— Philadelphia 76ers (@Sixers) November 16, 2016
•Bayless went through 2 days of monitored practice with Sevens
In additional news, Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot were recalled from the Sevens. In terms of TLC, it will be interesting to see if he stays up with the big club or this is simply a momentary call-up.
Back to Embiid, it’s totally understandable if anyone who bought tickets for tonight’s game is angry (and judging from my Twitter mentions, they are). But the Sixers seem more concerned with national perception than in past years, and it seems like the Embiid-Towns matchup was tough to pass up. I'm sure the folks at "Inside the NBA" don't hate this decision.
Not that any explanation would satisfy many of the fans on their way down to “The Center” tonight. A world without back-to-backs ain’t easy, and the Sixers might be sacrificing a chance to win (Bradley Beal is out for Washington) while also removing Embiid from a home game for the first time this season.
On the other hand, Embiid vs. KAT should be pretty, pretty good.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann