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Sixers coach Nick Nurse talks NBA’s new resting policy, managing Joel Embiid

New rules approved by the NBA next week will limit the amount of rest stars such as Joel Embiid and James Harden will get throughout the season.

2023 NBA Salt Lake City Summer League - Memphis Grizzlies v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images

Last week, the NBA approved new rules to crack down on teams resting star players.

To summarize quickly, the association decided on a new ruleset forbidding resting more than one star at once, resting stars for nationally televised games, and more under the threat of increasingly expensive fines for violators. For a full breakdown of the new rules, check out our story from last week’s decision.

For reference, the NBA is defining a “star” as a player who’s made an All-Star or All-NBA team in any of the three previous seasons. For the Sixers, that includes Joel Embiid and (if he plays at all) James Harden.

Putting aside Harden, since there’s enough uncertainty surrounding him as it is, Sixers fans might be wondering how that will affect Embiid’s scheduling and playing time.

Sixers new head coach Nick Nurse recently provided his thoughts on the new policy as it applies to Embiid to Sixers Wire’s Ky Carlin earlier this week.

Embiid (and Harden, for what it’s worth) are no strangers to load management rest days, especially on the ends of back-to-backs or in busier months with longer strings of games. Those rest days for Embiid sound like they may mostly be in the past under the new ruleset and under the helm of Nurse, who is looking to keep the big man on the floor.

“I think that we are looking at it maybe a little different than people think we might be,” Nurse told Sixers Wire. “We’re trying to get [Embiid] to play more games. Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not the other direction, and some people would say, ‘Oh, that’s playoffs. Is he going to be?’ We’re just trying to get it going the other direction.”

That might be surprising for Sixers fans who, understandably, often worry about their star center being overworked throughout the slog of the regular season — especially with Embiid no stranger to missing time due to injuries.

Nurse isn’t ruling out those unforeseeable factors throwing a wrench in his plans, but his sights are set on keeping Embiid playing as much as is within his control.

“I think that’s just what our people believe here that he can play and again, knock on wood, cross our fingers, all that stuff,” Nurse continued. “There’s always things that can come up with that stuff, but I don’t know. I believe in the guys playing as much as they can and let’s see what happens.”

The new rules have reignited concerns regarding the need for rest for these stars, insinuating that the regular season in its current form is too long. Regardless, for this season at least, load management may look a lot different throughout the league across those 82 games under the new guidelines.

Sixers training camp begins Oct. 3, with preseason tipping off on Oct. 8 and the regular season finally getting underway on Oct. 26.

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