The Philadelphia 76ers want to get All-Star center Joel Embiid more “playoff-like” reps to prepare him for the postseason in the 2023-24 campaign.
Embiid, who won the league’s MVP award this season, took a bit of a step back in the postseason against the Boston Celtics, especially in the Sixers’ Game 7 loss in Boston.
Daryl Morey said he had a long conversation with Joel Embiid about his regression in the playoffs, specifically the second round
Morey says the conversation was sparked by Embiid and that he is taking it very seriously and getting regular playoff-like reps is a priority
— Sean Barnard (@Sean_Barnard1) May 17, 2023
It’s unclear how the Sixers plan to go about getting Embiid those reps, but the team clearly wants him to keep up the same level of play from the regular season through the playoffs.
Embiid struggled mightily in Game 7 against Boston, scoring just 15 points on 5-of-18 shooting (0-of-4 from beyond the arc). He added eight rebounds, one assist and two blocks in the blowout loss to Boston.
Boston was able to slow Embiid down with veteran Al Horford, as the team also threw a variety of double teams at the big man to limit his scoring chances.
The Sixers may want to play Embiid in more high-pressure situations, but it’s hard to do that in the regular season if teams defend him differently than they would in the playoffs.
A knee injury that Embiid suffered in the first round against the Brooklyn Nets certainly didn’t help things this season. He missed Game 4 of the team’s sweep of Brooklyn and Game 1 of the second round against Boston.
Shockingly, the Sixers upset the Celtics in Game 1 in Boston behind a huge 45-point performance from guard James Harden.
However, the team went just 2-4 in the six games that Embiid played against Boston.
It’s no secret that Embiid and the Sixers have come up short in the second round of the playoffs on several occasions, and it appears Daryl Morey wants to do everything he can to avoid that happening again.
During the regular season, Embiid averaged a league-high 33.1 points per game to go with 10.2 rebounds, 4.2 assists and 1.7 blocks per game. He shot 54.8 percent from the field and 33.0 percent from downtown.
In the playoffs, those numbers took a hit across nine games. Embiid averaged 23.7 points, 9.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. His shooting saw the most regression, as he finished the playoffs shooting 43.1 percent from the field and 17.9 percent from beyond the arc.
It will be interesting to see how Morey and Embiid work on the big man’s “playoff-like” reps for the 2023-24 season.