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#pounditWednesday, September 27, 2023

Nick Nurse reveals interesting plan for Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

If Joel Embiid was hoping to take it easy during his post-MVP season, he is in for a rude awakening.

New Philadelphia 76ers head coach Nick Nurse spoke this week to Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. In the interview, Nurse revealed the team’s interesting plan for their star big man Embiid next season — they want him to play in more regular season games.

“I think we are looking at it maybe a little different than people think we might be,” said Nurse of Embiid’s workload. “We’re trying to get him to play more games. Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not the other direction.

“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.”

For Embiid, who turns 30 next season, he has generally been pretty durable in the last couple of regular seasons, making 68 appearances in 2021-22 and 66 last year (with 34.2 minutes per game over that span). But Embiid has a fairly reckless style of play and always seems to miss time in the postseason with some sort of injury (most notably, an orbital fracture in 2022 and a sprained knee in 2023).

That said, the NBA is attempting to crack down next season on non-injury “load management” absences by star players. It is unclear how much that might be influencing the 76ers’ plan here. But Nurse, an NBA champion coach who just took over for Doc Rivers in Philly this summer, sounds committed to giving Embiid as big of a workload as possible next year.

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