DENVER - Joel Embiid is checking things off his list, 76ers coach Brett Brown said.

"He's ticking boxes in regards to increased time on the court and reduced weight," Brown said of the rookie center. "His weight is going down."

The Sixers, who won't disclose Embiid's weight, opted to sideline the 7-foot center this season after he had foot surgery in June. The 21-year-old has been participating in pregame workouts with Brown on the court.

Embiid has been displaying a soft shooting touch and athleticism that are rare for a man of his stature.

"His needle is clearly pointing in the right direction," Brown said. "And you heard me say this a lot lately, he's setting the stage for a great summer. He sees his reward will be summer league, trying to get ready to actually play again."

Hot early

Ish Smith had the best start of his NBA career Tuesday in a 107-106 setback to the Sacramento Kings at Sleep Train Arena. The point guard scored the Sixers' first nine points by making four of his first five shots. However, he shot 1 for 9 in the rest of the game and finished with 13 points, eight rebounds, seven assists, and seven turnovers.

Night off

Sixers power forward Luc Mbah a Moute sat out the game in Denver on Wednesday to rest a sore left shoulder. He is expected to play against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday at the Wells Fargo Center.