MIAMI — Joel Embiid is back.
Embiid will play Thursday in Game 3 of the Sixers’ first-round series against the Heat, which is tied 1-1.
The big man has been sidelined since March 28 because of a concussion and left orbital fracture. He cleared the NBA concussion protocol but the fracture had kept him out.
The Sixers have been looking forward to his return as his absence was glaring in their Game 2 loss.
“He does everything,” Marco Belinelli said pregame.
There likely will be an adjustment period for Embiid. He will have to get used to playing with a protective mask.
(USA Today Images)
He also will have his conditioning tested in a physical matchup. Embiid has said he falls out of game shape when he does not play consistently. In this case, he has been out for three weeks.
Then there’s the style of basketball. The Sixers have been playing at a faster pace with more three-point shooting. Brett Brown has said he plans to morph the pre-injury and post-injury styles together when Embiid returns.
“Probably more assists for me," Ben Simmons said with a laugh. "No, but he just changes the game, gets other guys shots, rebounds the ball, blocks shots. He really does everything.”
Kyle Korver decided to head to the Bucks, while FiveThirtyEight's statistial model thinks the Sixers have the best chance to win the NBA Finals in 2019-20. Danny Pommells and Noah Levick discuss on this episode of Sixers Talk.
With Korver off the board, which other remaining free agents make sense for the Sixers?
Tobias Harris will have more responsibility for the Sixers in the fourth quarter this season. Can he handle it?
Plus, an explanation of Christ Koumadje's Exhibit 10 deal and a breakdown of two-way player Marial Shayok.
That and more below on this edition of Sixers Talk.
Sixers fans hoping for a Kyle Korver reunion got disappointing news Saturday afternoon.
The veteran sharpshooter is reportedly signing a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Korver’s decision was down to the Bucks and the Sixers. Ultimately, Korver chose the Bucks because of his relationship with head coach Mike Budenholzer. It makes sense. Korver enjoyed the best stretch of his career in four-plus seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, including his only All-Star appearance. The 2014-15 Hawks, which featured Sixers general manager Elton Brand and forward Mike Scott, won 60 games and got to the Eastern Conference Finals.
While the Sixers could’ve used Korver’s shooting to help space the floor, he’s 38 years old — he’ll turn 39 in March — and would’ve occupied the team’s 14th roster spot. It’s a slight disappointment, but not a huge concern. With all things even between the Sixers and Bucks as far as both teams’ ability to contend, Korver chose to play for his former coach.
The veteran free agent pool is getting thinner, but there are a couple guys that might be able to help. Iman Shumpert is a veteran wing with championship experience. Shaun Livingston has even more of that experience from his time with the Warriors. Thabo Sefolosha is a 3-and-D type that is used to fitting into roles on winning teams.
The Sixers on Friday signed 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje to an Exhibit 10 deal, which we explained here. Koumadje is more likely getting a look for the Delaware Blue Coats than anything. The team has the minimum 13 players signed to guaranteed NBA deals. The maximum is 15.
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