The Process can be insufferable.
That’s how Joel Embiid felt while he missed two entire seasons rehabbing from a broken foot. And that’s how the Sixersrookie center felt Wednesday night — despite making an impressive 20-point NBA debut.
“It sucks. I can only play 20 minutes,” Embiid said — though he would actually play 22 after a103-97 loss to the Thunder.”I felt like I could play more but you have to trust theprocess you have to trust those guys.”
“Those guys” — Brett Brown and the coaching staff —are really micro-managing Embiid’splaying time.
“He’s going to have a minutes cap for the foreseeable future and should sit in some back-to-backs,” Sixers beat writer Tom Moore wrote on twitter after the game.
There are few, if any relevant comparisons to the process by which the Sixers are ingratiating Embiid to the NBA. Most players who have minutes restrictions are either older players — like Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce in Brooklyn — or players who are back on the floor after nursing injuries like Derrick Rose a few seasons back in Chicago.
Embiid’s most recent setback was over a year ago and he’s been on the continual upswing since. But he’s barely ever played competitive basketball. He played one season in college — at Kansas — and that’s really it. He was a late bloomer who discovered a love for basketball in his late teens. It is this reason that is making his indoctrination so slow.
So while he is clearly the most talented player the Sixers have, there is no point in rushing him back.
Was his restriction the reason Philly lost a winnable game to the heavily favored Thunder? Perhaps. But it’s better to be cautious now so they can work Embiid up to being unrestricted on a team competingfor a title.
“If I have minutes restrictions I will go with that,” Embiid said,”but I want to go more and more.I want to help the team.”