Despite Joel Embiid’s monster effort on Sunday, the Philadelphia 76ers still fell prey to the New York Knicks on the road, 108-97. Embiid exploited the Knicks’ defense for 31 points to go with 14 rebounds in 36 minutes. If only either of Embiid’s backups was even remotely close to his performance, the Sixers would have likely pulled off a victory.
Whenever Joel Embiid was resting on the bench and Montrezl Harrell or Paul Reed was sent to the floor to give him a breather, the Sixers seemingly degrade from a serious NBA title contender into a lottery team.
Just look at this observation from Tim Bontemps of ESPN:
“Montrezl Harrell is -15 in 3:17 tonight. Paul Reed is -14 in 8:25. That’s how Joel Embiid can be +26 in 30 minutes and Philly can be losing 91-88 with 5:21 remaining. Sixers led by as many as 21 in the first quarter of this one.”
Some depth in the frontcourt is apparently a major area the Sixers could address ahead of the NBA’s trade deadline. Joel Embiid will be Joel Embiid, but the Sixers can’t afford to play him 48 minutes every night. James Harden has been more than solid in the Sixers’ backcourt and has better help there than what Embiid is getting from Philly’s big-man reserves.
The Sixers could be looking in the direction of the likes of Andre Drummond or Naz Reid if they are really bent on giving their center depth a major boost.
On the season, Joel Embiid is averaging 33.4 points on 53.1 percent shooting from the field to go with 19.2 rebounds and 4.1 assists.