In a thrilling update, the reigning NBA MVP Joel Embiid is all set for his eagerly awaited debut in the preseason exhibition. This news comes straight from the team’s head coach Nick Nurse who stated after Sunday’s practice at the Sixers’ training complex that he expects Embiid to take the court in the team’s penultimate preseason game against the Nets at Barclays Center. After opting out of the previous two preseason losses against the Celtics, the six-time All-Star center is finally ready to make his mark. “He’s played quite a bit live now, so we’re expecting him to be out there,” Nurse mentioned.
In other news, James Harden expressed on Friday his intention to ramp up his performance and make an appearance in the final preseason game. Harden aims to acclimate himself to the intensity and physicality of the game while testing his skills against defenders. “I think we’ve got a good plan in place,” Harden affirmed. Alongside the aforementioned players, Furkan Korkmaz is another player to keep an eye on. Although he participated in practice, it is unlikely that he will get the opportunity to play against the Nets due to a hamstring cramp he experienced during training camp. Korkmaz, however, is optimistic about his progress and recovery, stating, “I feel much better… I will be happy to see myself back on the court.” As head coach Nurse evaluates his new team and considers his rotation options, Korkmaz has yet to showcase his potential. With the loss of last year’s valuable shooter Georges Niang, the team is still on the lookout for players who can complement Embiid’s playstyle. Perhaps Korkmaz will have the chance to impress Nurse in this aspect.
However, even with the regular season opener fast approaching on October 26 against the Bucks, Nurse’s rotation strategy remains uncertain. Harden’s trade request has complicated matters further, and the competition for wing minutes remains fierce with players like Kelly Oubre Jr., Danny Green, Danuel House Jr., and Korkmaz all vying for a spot. Nurse admitted that it’s difficult to determine the rotation during the preseason since not all players are available for evaluation. “I’ve got to look at some guys that I haven’t seen yet to figure out the rest of it,” Nurse explained.
In an interesting turn of events, Jaden Springer, though initially considered a long shot due to the high number of competitors, has managed to put himself back in the discussion for rotation. Nurse praised Springer’s dedication and performance, stating, “He’s just done everything we’ve asked him to do and played really well. That’s how you do it.”
Grabbing the whiteboard … for a day
During the Sixers’ Blue-White scrimmage, Jaden Springer had the unique opportunity to be coached by fellow Tennessee product Tobias Harris, while PJ Tucker provided assistance. On the opposite side, Patrick Beverley actively coached alongside veterans Embiid and Green. After the fan-centric event, Nurse revealed that Beverley is intrigued by the prospect of coaching once he concludes his playing career. When asked if he would ever consider coaching, Harris jokingly responded, “Never. At one point I was like, ‘All right, I’ve got to calm down because I’m going to lose my voice.’ And then I was just like, ‘There’s too much emotional energy that goes into it.’ But it was fun, though. It’s all good fun.”
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