Recovery Game in Denver opens 2 way opportunity

The Philadelphia 76ers embark on a 4 game west coast swing in the midst of a brutal 12 game stretch. Coming off an improbably late victory against the San Antonio Spurs, the Sixers have decided to use Saturday night’s game in Denver as an opportunity for rest and recovery for some key players including Joel Embiid. 

Jimmy Butler has missed the past 2 games, both victories against Houston and the Spurs. He will see a specialist about his wrist in Los Angeles.

Brett Brown said at Friday’s practice in Camden that the specialist consultation is “just getting further sort of peace of mind and confirmation that things are OK”

As for Embiid, he is coming off a 3 game stretch where he averaged 32 points and 13.6 rebounds despite struggling with some back soreness. Missing the game in Denver will be a blow for fans who like to compare and argue over Analytics darling Nikola Jokic and Embiid. 

Looking from a matchup standpoint, Jokic’ ability to operate from the high post, potentially negates some of Embiid’s rim protection capability. Resting this game will allow Embiid to get 5 days rest leading up to Tuesday’s game against the Lakers in Los Angeles. 

Rest and Opportunity

This “Bulk Rest and Recovery” game opens the door for 2 way players Shake Milton and Haywood Highsmith to play on Saturday as they traveled with the team. 

This presents a challenge to the Blue Coats as they play back to back games at the newly opened Fieldhouse in Wilmington. 

“If they were with us, they’d be starting” Said Coach Connor Johnson prior to Friday’s game. 

The Blue coats are 10-15 on the season but just 4 games out of playoff contention. The balancing act of building an integrated program that feeds the Sixers with talent prepared to play a role with the same terminology and scheme is often at odds with winning individual games. It is a challenge that Johnson embraces. PFO caught up with Johnson before Friday’s game in Wilmington versus the Miami Heat G-League affiliate. 

Blue Coats versus Skyforce

So what is the challenge with the Skyforce? (20-10)

“Just really talented. At every position they have players that are multi-dimensional. They can shoot 3s, they can drive. It’s not that you can just game plan that guy is a shooter. That guy is a drive. Throughout their entire roster, especially 1-4, guys can shoot, drive. Robinson is basically the best shooter in the league so we got to do a good job to take him away. They are also still athletic around the rim. Putney, Terry, those sorts of guys, making plays. We got to be physical and take them away. But they’re good.” – Blue Coats HC Connor Johnson

Johnson discussed the role that the Coats can play in rehabilitation and recovery process for injured young Sixers players Smith and Patton

Yea they have been here just the past couple of days, Zhaire and Justin as part of their rehab.

When discussing points of emphasis for players in the Coats program

We talk a lot about playing with a high motor and elite skill. Some guys play with an elite skill as a three-point shooter. Some have it as a big time shot blocker.

Finally some schematic points of emphasis. 

Trying to have the Batman set in front of the rim should put him in very good position to get a lot of rebounds.