Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid will be missed against KAT

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

As the Philadelphia 76ers prepare to face off against Karl Anthony-Towns, Brett Brown will have to get creative without Joel Embiid active.

When most teams see a game on their schedule featuring an All-Star center, they get a bit nervous, but not the Philadelphia 76ers.

No, thanks in large part to the dominant force that is Joel Embiid, the Sixers can patch up in the paint against virtually every team in the NBA with ease and still expect a 20-plus point double-double from their best player.

However, when Embiid isn’t able to go, things can get ugly in a hurry.

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In games where Embiid wasn’t able to play, the 76ers currently hold an 6-7 record.


Now granted, the team has at least faired a bit better since the trade deadline (5-4), in large part due to the emergence of Jonah Bolden and the acquisition of Boban Marjanovic, but most of those game have come against teams not exactly known for having dominant presences in the post.

The Sixers’ next opponent, the Minnesota Timberwolves, do not have that problem.

Now one could argue just how dominant Karl-Anthony Towns really is, as some consider him a top-3 player at his position while others believe he’s a bit of a stat stuffer on a bad team, but without Embiid in the paint, it’s pretty safe to assume the Sixers are going to have their hands full on Saturday night.

Now I’m all for load management with the playoffs right around the corner, especially against a sub-.500 team, but this is just a rough matchup even with Embiid ready to go.

Currently averaging 24.7 points, 9.1 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks a game while shooting a very impressive 41.2 percent of his 4.8 3 pointers a game, KAT’s athleticism and sure brute force are going to be tough to guard, regardless of who Brett Brown deploys in the paint.

While Marjanovic can keep up with KAT in the paint, he’ll be all but useless when the 7-foot center extends his game out past the charity stripe. Alternatively, Bolden, who’s only appeared in six games in March, could help to shut down Towns on the outside, but get bullied in the paint due to his size disadvantage (7-foot, 248 lbs vs. 6-foot-10, 220 lbs).

Really, the best physical matchup for Towns on the roster may actually be his former teammate Justin Patton, who’s only appeared in three NBA games this season, alongside 11 games with the Delaware Blue Coats.

Who knows, maybe this will be the breakout performance that gets Patton a new contract next season, either in Philadelphia or elsewhere.

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Ultimately, if the Philadelphia 76ers are going to earn their 49th win of the season against the Minnesota Timberwolves, they’re going to have to play fast, loose, and let the 3 ball fly. They could also use a huge game from Jimmy Butler for good measure, as the former T-Wolf clearly isn’t a huge fan of a few of Minnesota’s players, and has a propensity for going off in grudge match games. Should be a fun time.