Points by Ben Simmons during Game 3 victory over Nets

High risk, high reward

Posted by Eric Fisher On October 9

Both of the Sixers’ options with center Joel Embiid were risky.

If they signed him to an extension before next Monday’s deadline, they would be risking that the often-injured center is never healthy for long enough to transform the Sixers into a contender. If they didn’t sign him, however, the Sixers would risk losing him as a restricted free agent next summer and watching him lift another team into championship contention.

The Sixers opted for the first risk, agreeing to a five-year, $148 million contract extension with Embiid, according to multiple reports.

The Sixers are certainly taking a major risk with Embiid. He sat out his first two NBA seasons with injuries, and was limited to 31 games last season.

Embiid had surgery to repair a torn meniscus last March. The Sixers described the surgery as minor, but Embiid still hasn’t been cleared to participate in a game. In fact, he wasn’t cleared for 5-on-5 practice until last Thursday.

There are questions regarding whether Embiid will be ready to play when the Sixers open their season on Oct. 18, or how much he’ll be able to play this season. Embiid admitted recently that he’s not going to play every game.

But the Sixers are banking on the potential Embiid demonstrated last season. During the 31 games he played, Embiid averaged 20.2 points and 7.8 points in an average of 25.4 minutes per game. That small sample size whet the appetite of Sixers fans.

If healthy, Embiid can be a game-changing player. He can be a franchise player.

The key words in the preceding paragraph are “if healthy.”

It’s a risk the Sixers are willing to take.

It’s a risk they couldn’t afford not to take.

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