After missing the past nine contests, Joel Embiid will make his return to the court for the Philadelphia 76ers. He will start the contest.
The big man had been pushing for a return to the court, as our own Mike Greger relayed earlier today. Embiid was motivated to get back on the court tonight, as the team will honor Legend Kobe Bryant.
“I think usually this stuff takes a month to get back from,” Embiid said before being cleared. “It’s been two weeks. It can take longer, but I am not happy with where we are and just gotta keep praying and hoping it keeps getting better so I can get back out there with my guys.”
The Sixers have gone 6-3 without Embiid in the lineup. However, team had a four-game losing streak earlier this month and they currently own the sixth seed in the conference.
“The way I’m being guarded, I’m being doubled every time I have the ball and everybody crowds the paint, so it’s kind of hard to just move the ball and just keep it moving and find ways to score,” Embiid told ESPN. “So it is frustrating. I care about winning. It’s taking a toll on me. All I care about is winning. It sucks. We’ve got to find a way. I guess we’ve got to keep fighting.”
Embiid, who was the No. 3 overall pick back in the 2014 draft, has appeared in 31 games for Philadelphia this season. He’s 30 minutes or more in 20 of those contests while seeing 29 or fewer minutes in the remaining 11. There’s no word on whether Embiid will be under a minutes restriction tonight against Golden State.
Embiid Willing To Change His Game
With the team finding success behind Ben Simmons’ great play, Embiid has considered making changes to his game to help his All-Star teammate thrive with him on the court.
Embiid has attempted 3.8 shots from behind the arc this season. That figure is actually down from his 4.1 attempts last year. For his career, the big man has attempted 3.7 treys per game.
Trade Chip Zhaire Smith Also Returning For The Sixers
Zhaire Smith is available for the Sixers tonight against the Warriors. If Philadelphia is going to make a major trade at the deadline, it’ll likely need to include Smith.
Smith made his season debut against the Lakers on Saturday, though he was only able to play for three minutes before he suffered an ankle injury. His availability tonight may be vital, as the team is without Josh Richardson, which opens up opportunity on the wing. (Richardson is expected to be re-evaluated in a few weeks).
The shooting guard has appeared in a total of seven contests in his short NBA career. He’s made 14 out of his career 34 attempts, including making 6-of-16 from behind the arc.
Smith was the No. 16 overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft. He was acquired by the Sixers in a draft-night trade also brought the team a future first-round pick. GM Elton Brand used that first-rounder to secure Tobias Harris from the Clippers last trade deadline.