On the eve of the Sixers preseason opener, fans are waiting anxiously to see what their new-look team has to offer. Based on comments to reporters from Brett Brown this afternoon, it appears rookies Joel Embiid and Dario Saric will start in the team’s first preseason game against the Boston Celtics.
Before you get overly excited about watching Embiid tear up Boston for a full game, there’s a catch. Embiid will be on a minutes restriction, as was expected, though Coach Brown did not reveal the exact timeframe the team is shooting for.
Courtesy of our own Max Rappaport:
Talking about Embiid's minutes for tomorrow, Brett Brown wouldnt give a number but possibly maybe using it all in 1 half. So maybe 10-15ish?— max (@MaxRappaport) October 3, 2016
Specifically, Brown said he didn't want to give Embiid "4 minutes here and then not put him in again until a couple periods later"— max (@MaxRappaport) October 3, 2016
The philosophy appears sound -- get Embiid a decent chunk of minutes in the first half to test his conditioning level, then let him rest to avoid over-exertion in a meaningless game.
As we’ll discuss in the coming weeks, Dario Saric is a primary benefactor of the Ben Simmons injury. He’ll receive a bump in minutes and likely a larger role with the team’s No. 1 overall pick on the shelf, and his first chance to strut comes tomorrow night. Saric will have plenty of time to work through mistakes and continue developing his skills.
On the negative end, Brown also relayed to reporters that Jahlil Okafor will sit out of tomorrow night’s game. While not on the level of the Simmons heartbreak, it’s a bit of a shame we won’t get an early preview of Okafor in a live setting yet. Fans will have to wait at least two more days to see what progress he made over the summer.
Regardless, the Sixers’ 2014 Draft class is about to debut together as starters. That’s reason enough to put bad news in the background for now.