The timing for Thursday night's clash with the Sixers could not have been worse for the Wizards.
Not only are they going up against one of the best and biggest teams in the NBA, but they're going to have to do it with a cascade of injuries to their frontcourt.
Thomas Bryant is out for at least the next three weeks with a right foot injury, and while Moe Wagner and Ian Mahinmi were both upgraded to questionable for Thursday night, neither will be playing at 100 percent and it would be Mahinmi's first game since March 18.
Scott Brooks will have to rely on Rui Hachimura to continue to give him minutes at center and play more small-ball lineups, which isn't exactly the best recipe for success against Philadelphia.
Here's a look at some players to watch on the Sixers and what the Wizards can do to slow them down.
If Mahinmi gets activated for the first time this season, Embiid would be a big reason why. He's an overwhelming force in the low post and consistently gets opposing bigs in foul trouble with an assortment of timely pump fakes and flops.
Few players can shut him down one-on-one, so it'd be wise for the Wizards to focus on sending double teams in the right spots to force him to make plays under duress.
One of Embiid's weaknesses is his passing and decision making when doubled. Given the Sixers' lack of shooting from the outside, Washington may be able to get away with this strategy a few times in this game.
This is much easier said than done, especially when you look at how the Wizards' defense was unable to keep Orlando, the 29th-ranked offense in the NBA, under 120 points in both meetings this year.
The 15-6 Sixers are still bonafide title contenders, but it has almost everything to do with their defense. Ranked third in the league in defensive efficiency, Philly has unrivaled size down low and length on the perimeter.
Simmons may be their most important defender with his ability to switch and defend practically every player on the floor and his activity defending ball handlers.
Add that to his ability to grab a rebound and speed down the floor in transition, and you have a sizeable problem on your hands. The Wizards are the worst team in the NBA at defending in transition.
On the flip side, Simmons is the main reason the Sixers' offense has underachieved this season. The fact that he is a non-threat from anywhere outside the paint allows teams to pack the paint and prevent dribble penetration.
We noted how it'd be smart for the Wizards to send double teams at Embiid. When Simmons is on the floor it'll be easier for the Wizards to do that and not give up easy looks Again, easier said than done, especially for this Wizards defense.
MORE WIZARDS NEWS:
- The Return: Justin Kutcher predicts that John Wall will return at an All-Star level
- Bryant out 3 weeks: Wizards options to replace him
- Bad paint defense: Where the Wizards' problems start