February 20, 2024

76ers’ Daryl Morey ‘hopeful’ Joel Embiid can return for playoffs

PHILADELPHIA — 76ers staff president Daryl Morey expressed optimism on Friday that reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid would return from a knee damage in time for a attainable postseason run.

“We’re hopeful,” Morey mentioned earlier than the 76ers hosted the Atlanta Hawks and three days after Embiid underwent surgical procedure on his left knee. “Feedback has been more good than bad since we first heard about what led to his procedure. So, we’re hopeful and we’re building the team to make it better this year. Obviously, it’s not at 100 percent. But with Joel playing at an MVP level, hopefully, he could get back to that. And this is a year that we have a real shot.”

Asked if his method would have been completely different relying on Embiid’s damage information, Morey was clear.

“If the hope wasn’t there in Joel, I think it would have changed things dramatically,” Morey mentioned. “We’re very hopefully. Obviously for sure, it’s not 100 percent. It’s something that is probably unfortunately a good chunk short of 100 percent. But we thought it was the right thing.

“There’s plenty of methods to not win the title. Winning a title is tough; Joel not coming again on the degree we hope is without doubt one of the methods we can’t win a title this 12 months, almost certainly. … But you all the time wish to be among the many finest groups and meaning taking threat on the damage entrance and that is the place we’re at proper now.”

Embiid, averaging 35.3 factors and 11.3 rebounds in 39 video games, has missed the previous 5 contests since Golden State ahead Jonathan Kuminga fell on his left leg, injuring the meniscus that required surgery on Tuesday. The initial report from the 76ers said that Embiid would be “reevaluated” in four weeks. Before that, Embiid had been held out because of left knee swelling in Philadelphia’s two previous games.

Morey declined to describe the exact procedure that Embiid had, which would have provided a clue to the significance of the injury.

Morey said he struck out in a bid to fill Embiid’s shoes and upgrade the team’s backup center position from Paul Reed. He said he was shocked that no bigs were dealt before the trade deadline.

Instead, Morey picked up veteran guards Buddy Hield and Cameron Payne in separate deals. Philadelphia acquired the two as part of four deals that included the departure of Patrick Beverley, Danuel House, Furkan Kourkmaz and Jaden Springer, in addition to ahead Marcus Morris Sr. The 76ers also shipped four second-round picks in those moves while receiving two back in trades with Milwaukee and Boston.

“Our precedence was to get a giant, however we needed so as to add to our playoff rotation this 12 months,” Morey said.

Hield will likely be a key 3-point shooting threat for Philadelphia, helping to assist All-Star Tyrese Maxey, who has seen defenses swarm to him after the Embiid injury.

“We should win video games and it may be a battle,” Morey said. “But we had been centered on playoffs, we’ve got a rotation that we all know can win at an excellent excessive degree and that he was the one participant who moved groups that might play a giant function in our rotation. What he brings to the desk is fairly apparent.”