Joel Embiid will not be taking part in tonight’s Sixers game. Due to his absence, Brett Brown will have to modify his starting lineup. Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia wrote about Brown’s statements on the subject after Thursday afternoon’s media availability:
“I am [excited,] because it’s coming,” he said. “To be able to take this opportunity and knowing that it’s coming, that Joel will be out some games this year, I am. What it does is I can move Tobias [Harris] up to a four and fill in underneath. Or I can keep Tobias at a three and start Mike Scott — I’ll figure out what I’m doing. But your point is true, and there are the ripple effects that we have to figure out.”
Brown hadn’t yet made a decision on the replacement for Embid in the starting lineup. Scott is an option, as he said. Starting a wing instead — perhaps impressive rookie Matisse Thybulle — is another possibility. Brown indicated that, at this point, “figuring out what we have” is his highest priority, not tailoring the lineup to best match up against a preseason opponent.
From Brown’s comments yesterday, it seemed that Mike Scott could be the player Brown would chose for the spot start. According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, neither Scott nor Thybulle will be inserted into the starting five and instead it is 2nd-year guard Shake Milton who will get the start in Joel’s absence:
Pompey also notes that Raul Neto will take up backup point guard duties, a role filled by Trey Burke in the Sixers’ first preseason exhibition game.
I don’t think either of these personnel decisions necessarily mean anything in the way of who has impressed and who has not. Rather, it seems like Brown is just making the most of an opportunity to experiment. In any event, it will be interesting to see how Milton fares running with the starters.