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Joel Embiid’s minute limit will be enforced for rest of season, Sixers say

The Philadelphia 76ers made it clear there are no plans to lift the minutes limit for Joel Embiid for the balance of the season, despite the center making significant progress in his development and recovery from seasons-robbing injuries.

Embiid, after averaging around 23 minutes per game at the start of the season, has seen his per-game average jump up to right around 28 minutes on a regular basis.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown indicates the plan is for it to remain that way.

A broken navicular bone in Embiid’s right foot required multiple surgeries robbed him of his first two seasons after the Sixers selected him with the third-overall pick in the 2014 NBA Draft. But Embiid is making up for lost time, averaging 19.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 28 games.

Extrapolating those statistics out to their per-36-minute counterparts (28.0 points, 11.0 rebounds and 3.5 blocks), Embiid’s numbers are practically unprecedented, with David Robinson, Patrick Ewing and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar only coming close in standout seasons.

Not only that, the 13-26 Sixers, winners of five of seven, feed off Embiid’s play, with the squad 13.9 points better per 100 possessions with him on the court.

In other words, it may take a few seasons, but the Sixers’ ascension from years-long NBA laughingstock to legitimate organization will be led by the 22-year-old budding superstar.

Embiid is quickly emerging as one of the most talented — not to mention charismatic — young players in the NBA. Sixers fans and the NBA community at large of course would love to see Embiid on the floor more often this season. But the Sixers’ cautious approach with their dynamic young superstar merits praise, not criticism.

[Pro Basketball Talk]