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Chemistry is a clear issue for this year’s Philadelphia 76ers. On paper, a team consisting of Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid seems like the perfect formula. Yet, here we are with one week left in the regular season and once again, the Sixers are third in the Eastern Conference having made minimal improvements.
Since acquiring Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, the Sixers are 41-21 and 14-7 respectively. These stats are not astonishing, although, Everyone knew it would take a little while for the Sixers to mix. With just 6 games to go, it still doesn’t feel like they have come close to their full potential. The road win at Milwaukee and a long-awaited win against Boston showed promise, but losing to Orlando and Atlanta is simply unacceptable.
So that begs the question: Why would the Sixers rest their catalyst, Joel Embiid? Sure, he’s thought of to be injury-prone, but this team is not capable of simply “flipping the switch” come playoff time. Only LeBron James has been able to turn it on at will successfully, and even he ran out of magic this year.
The Sixers need to be at full strength in every game possible to tune up and ride into the playoffs with the same momentum as they did last year when they were on a 16 game win streak. This Sixers team is much better than last year, but with Embiid resting for the next two games and possibly more after that, they all may find themselves resting with him.