June 14, 2016, 10:51 am
Philadelphia beat writer Tom Moore reports that Bryan Colangelo has ruled Joel Embiid out of summer league play.
It’s disappointing for the Sixers and their fans who have been waiting to see Embiid on the floor since he was drafted in 2014. The organization still views the big Cameroonian as a key piece of the future and have been handling him carefully his entire career. Embiid, if you’ll recall, was drafted third overall out of Kansas just six days after undergoing foot surgery. That injury kept him from playing as a rookie, and a setback and subsequent second surgery held him out of what would’ve been his sophomore campaign.
Embiid’s return will likely push one of Jahlil Okafor or Nerlens Noel out the door in Philly, as the Sixers are awash with promising frontcourt players and need to clear minutes so the ones they value most highly can get the necessary playing time. With the Sixers eschewing what can be politely described as a ‘draft pick accumulation strategy’ this year, they could grab some much needed backcourt help in an effort to climb out of the NBA basement.
Realistically, Embiid was never likely to play in summer league. It makes sense for the team to hold him out of action and have him ramp up activity in a completely controlled environment. The fact that his Las Vegas participation is being discussed bodes well, as does the fact that he’s spent some time at team facilities working out and getting shots up. If he progresses as planned, it seems likely that he’ll finally take the floor for Philadelphia this season.