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Brett Brown admits Sixers are a ‘different team’ without Joel Embiid

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The Philadelphia 76ers are, unsurprisingly, a quite different team without All-Star center Joel Embiid on the court. Prior to Wednesday’s game versus the Brooklyn Nets, Sixers head coach Brett Brown said what many outside of the organization was thinking, per Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times.

The Sixers have missed Joel Embiid for the past four games as he recovers from surgery on his left hand. Originally slated to miss one-to-two weeks due to the injury, the team could conceivably get their big man back any day now, although there has been little by way of an update as to when he could specifically get back on the floor for game action.

In his absence, veteran Al Horford has shifted over to the center spot. Brown has trusted Mike Scott to step into the starting five on the majority of occasions when Embiid has been absent, but he inserted rookie Matisse Thybulle into the starting group Wednesday for a smaller, more defensive-minded look.

There are few teams in the league that could readily replace a player who has averaged 23.4 points, 12.3 rebounds, and 3.3 assists on a nightly basis. Without Embiid this season, Philadelphia has gone 4-6; with him available, they have rattled off a 21-10 mark. Presumably, in order to win not only the Eastern Conference, but the NBA championship, having a healthy Embiid is vital for the Sixers. The 7-footer’s presence provides the team the rare spacing it needs with his post-up game and can also keep defender’s honest with his decent 3-point shooting.

Beginning Friday, the Sixers have three games in four days, all of which are against Eastern opponents.