Can the 76ers survive without Joel Embiid? | Devine Intervention

Yahoo Sports NBA writer Dan Devine is joined by former NBA assistant coach Steve Jones Jr. to discuss Joel Embiid missing at least four weeks after Tuesday’s knee procedure and what Philadelphia can do to keep their head above water without their superstar center. Hear the full conversation on “Devine Intervention” - part of the “Ball Don’t Lie” podcast - and subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Spotify or wherever you listen.

Video Transcript


DAN DEVINE: Tuesday morning, the Philadelphia 76ers announced that Joel Embiid had a, quote, "successful procedure" to address the injury to the lateral meniscus in his left knee. And he will be re-evaluated in approximately four weeks, depending on how the rehab goes, potentially a longer absence than that. So Steve, your first blush thoughts on the news that Philly is going to be without Embiid for at least the next month.

STEVE JONES, JR: It's a bummer. It's a bummer for Joel Embiid to face injuries again. It's a bummer, especially because he's playing at such a high level every single night. I mean, you imagine-- just look at the game log. How many times have we seen him score 30 points this year? The 30 and 10 streak that he had, the man was averaging, what, 35?

DAN DEVINE: Yeah, he was up near 36, yeah.

STEVE JONES, JR: And shooting 53%, which I think only Wilt and Michael Jordan had done for a full season. So it's like--

DAN DEVINE: Decent company.

STEVE JONES, JR: --hey, I wish we appreciated that a little bit more because, again, remember, he's doing this off an MVP campaign. And this is a Sixers team that, once the James Harden stuff happened, expectations changed. And they were able to exceed those. So it's kind of a shame he doesn't get to finish that story in that sense. And they don't get to understand, how good is this version of us.

DAN DEVINE: The issue, as we spin it forward and we look forward, they are now-- they're basically a Tyrese Maxey putting up 51 away from a six-game losing streak since Embiid went down, 26-8 with Embiid in the lineup, now 4-11 without him. And there are some confounding variables there. Other guys have been in and out of the lineup. Tobias Harris has been knocked, De'Anthony Melton. They've Nick Batum been in and out. So they've had-- it's not just that they've been without their main guy, it's they've been without a lot of their main guys.

And now they're going to be without their main guys for a lot longer. And the concern that you look at is, their point differential without Embiid for the season is still positive. But that's because Maxey's been cooking, right? And now you're going to have more of those minutes where neither of them are on the court because Maxey-- as much as Nick Nurse might want to play Tyrese Maxey 48 minutes, he's going to have to at least ease off a little bit of that. And that's when it all goes sideways. They're -6.4 per 100 without Embiid or Maxey on the floor, according to Cleaning the Glass.

There is a possibility that instead of-- oh, a couple of weeks ago, we were talking about Philly being up in the, can they get to two conversation. And now we're talking about, are they going to have to fight their way out from seven, eight. And that's kind of a dicey spot to be in, given everything that they've put into building this roster for this season.

STEVE JONES, JR: It's tough, especially with some of the teams that are chasing them. But if you wanted to add a piece to your team, what would you add? And would that piece fit with Joel Embiid? So I think that part gets tricky.

DAN DEVINE: Within that context, who even is the offensive piece? Because we're hearing, Malcolm Brogdon, he's out there, publicly saying, I don't want to go. Keep me in Portland. I want to stick around. It's nice up here in the Pacific Northwest. There's questions about how active Utah is going to look to be. Toronto is going to have multiple suitors for Bruce Brown. What the evaluation that Daryl Morey has for that front-- that roster-- how can we keep it together the next month? Is it worth adding, or is it worth keeping our powder dry? I think that's going to be-- that could be one of the big domino pieces to look at as we head into the trade deadline.