With the 76ers preparing for their first scrimmage on Friday against the Memphis Grizzlies, coach Brett Brown says he won’t overextend his main players in the three preseason tune-ups.
The eight regular-season “seed” games begin Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers.
“I am not going to play our heavyweights extended minutes in our exhibition games,” Browns said during a zoom interview before Monday’s practice at Walt Disney World near Orlando. “I suspect somewhere in the 20-minute mark for my heavyweights. That may change a little the last game before the regular season.”
During the first scrimmage, the teams will play four, 10-minute quarters and then there will be the standard 12-minute quarters in the final two.
How Brown appropriates minutes for Joel Embiid will be interesting. The oft-injured three-time All-Star center has played in just 44 of the Sixers 65 games. Brown continues to have an ambitious minutes goal for Embiid once the postseason begins.
“Once the dust settles and the regular season begins, I’m looking anywhere from 34 [minutes] is the easy number for me to talk about,” Brown said. “In the playoffs I said what I’ve said and I’ll say it again, like I hope I can play Joel 38 minutes and Ben [Simmons] not that far off either.”
This season Embiid has averaged 30.2 minutes while Simmons averages a team-high 35.7.
Brown said the preseason will help him sort his rotation and he will have some difficult decisions to make.
“In the scrimmage games, the preseason games, there will be more than enough time to look at different rotations, especially given the lack of extended minutes our starters will receive,” Brown said.
On Monday the NBA and NBA Players Association announced that of the 346 players tested for COVID-19 on the NBA campus since test results were last announced on July 13, zero have returned confirmed positive tests.
Simmons, with two All-Star appearances already on his resume, turned 24 on Monday. Brown said he feels that Simmons’ better days are truly ahead of him.