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76ers coach Nick Nurse to play Joel Embiid more next season


New Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse intends to give 2022-23 MVP center Joel Embiid more minutes next season. The six-time All-Star averaged a career-high 34.6 minutes per game last season. The ex-Toronto Raptors coach replaced former Sixers coach Doc Rivers in June.

“I think that we are looking at it maybe a little different than people think we might be,” the 2020 NBA Coach of the Year said in an interview with Sixers Wire. “We’re trying to get him [Embiid] to play more games. Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not the other direction, and some people would say, ‘Oh, that’s playoffs. Is he going to be?’

“We’re just trying to get it going the other direction. I think that’s just what our people believe here that he can play and again, knock on wood, cross our fingers, all that stuff. There’s always things that can come up with that stuff, but I don’t know. I believe in the guys playing as much as they can, and let’s see what happens.”

Per multiple NBA betting sites, the Philadelphia 76ers hold ninth-shortest odds to win next season’s championship in 2024. Check out which sportsbooks are showing better odds for the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat.

Last season, Joel Embiid joined Wilt Chamberlain (1966, 1967, 1968), Julius Erving (1981), Moses Malone (1983), and Allen Iverson (2001) as 76ers players to win the MVP award. The 7-foot center is the first Sixer to win the award since Iverson won it 22 years ago.

Embiid made 66 starts in the 2022-23 season, averaging a career-high 33.1 points per game. Along with logging 10.2 boards, 4.2 assists, 1.0 steal, and 1.7 blocks per game, he shot a career-best 54.8% from the floor.

Philadelphia 76ers coach Nick Nurse plans on giving center Joel Embiid more minutes in the 2023-24 season, working to establish consistency in the playoffs

The two-time scoring champ is the first MVP to average 30 points and 10 rebounds per game on 50% shooting since Moses Malone in 1981-82. Plus, Embiid’s 33.1 points per game average was the highest for a center since Chamberlain’s 33.5 PPG average in 1965-66.

In addition to leading the league in points per game, Embiid also led in field goals (728) and 2-point field goals (662). The 76ers center finished second in total points (2,183), player efficiency rating (31.4), and box plus/minus (9.2).

Furthermore, in Philadelphia’s 105-98 win over the Utah Jazz on Nov. 13, 2022, the Sixers big man scored a career-high 59 points on 19-of-28 (67.9%) shooting from the field and 20-of-24 (83.3%) at the foul line.

76ers coach Nick Nurse is striving to improve Embiid’s rim protection and blocking power. Winning back-to-back MVPs could be in his future. Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic won consecutive awards in 2021 and 2022.

More importantly, one has to imagine that Nurse is working to help Embiid establish some consistency in the postseason. The five-time All-NBA member scored under 15 points against the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3 of Philadelphia’s first-round series.

The 7-footer also recorded under 20 points in Games 2 and 7 versus the Boston Celtics. When Embiid played 39 or more minutes against Boston, he managed to score at least 25 points. Of course, Brooklyn held him to under 30 points in all three of his first-round playoff outings.

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