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Can the Sixers Remain Competitive Without Joel Embiid?

With Embiid being diagnosed with a meniscus injury to his left knee on February 1st, many fans and critics alike wondered can the Sixers win without their star player in the rotation. It now being March 2nd, a month since Embiid’s injury was diagnosed. We have an answer to that very question..sort of.

The moves since the injury..

Since February 1st, the Sixers have attempted to buff the roster in a, questionable way to say the least. Instead of addressing the glaring issue at center with Embiid now out, Daryl Morey instead decided to target some guards on the trade deadline. Acquiring Buddy Hield and Cam Payne via trade, and Kyle Lowry in the buyout market. Which to all of their credit, they are doing rather well since donning a Sixers uniform.

In his first three games as a 76er, Lowry is putting up 5.7 PPG, 2.7 RPG (rebounds per game), 4.0 APG (assists per game), and 1.3 steals in 21 minutes of work. What’s astonishing, yet more than likely not maintainable is his shooting splits of 58% from the field, 40% from deep, and 100% from the charity stripe. He isn’t taking many shots, but when he does, he makes them.

Cam Payne, in 19.5 MPG, is giving the Sixers 10.4 PPG, 2.9 APG, and 1.4 RPG on 42/37/90 splits. Overall, a solid role player with good efficiency.

But by far the best pickup over the deadline for the Sixers has been Buddy Hield. In 34.6 minutes per game, Buddy is averaging 16.6 PPG, 5.6 APG, 3.4 RPG, while shooting 45% from the field, 42% from the three, and 75% from the line. Buddy has been the sharpshooter and microwave that the Sixers have been craving for years now.

But even with all those additions to the team, they don’t outweigh all the issues the 76ers have had over the month of February..

The ugly truth..

With the Sixers not only giving up Marcus Morris, they also never addressed the issue at the 5 spot with Embiid out. And with that being the case, Nick Nurse has been forced to play small ball lineups, with the likes of Tobias Harris and Ricky Council running the center spot at certain points.

With the addition of Tobias Harris having a recent slump, unfortunately for the Sixers and fans alike, the 76ers aren’t doing well whatsoever. Slipping from the 3rd seed, all the way to the 5th seed. The 76ers have lost 7 out of their last 10 games, going 4-12 in the month of February.

The team is looking absolutely lost on the floor without their anchor Embiid. With fans clamoring for the Sixers to keep Embiid out until he’s 100% ready, it’s a wonder what the Sixers can do to keep not only their championship aspirations alive, but at this point, their playoff hopes too..

The glimmer of hope..

On the bright side of things, despite the losses, and overall slippage in the standings, the Sixers are still managing to keep games close. Signifying that they can be a scrappy, competitive team without Embiid. With a relatively easy schedule coming up in March, it’s fair to say the Sixers should in theory be able to at least hold out a playoff spot until Embiid is able to return sometime in the near future.


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