Philadelphia 76ers coach Brett Brown has called on fans to lower expectations about returning star Joel Embiid as the Cameroonian center works his way back from a long-term injury.
Embiid scored 14 points but the 7ft (2.13m) player’s contribution was not enough to stop the Sixers sliding to their sixth loss of the year, 109-84 to the Utah Jazz.
The Sixers (0-6), the worst team in the NBA last year with an abysmal record of 10 wins and 72 losses, are looking to Embiid, who has missed all of the last two seasons due to injury, to help transform the franchise’s fortunes.
But although Embiid has impressed in the games he has played in so far this year, Brown said it was easy to forget that the 22-year-old, the third pick overall in the 2014 draft, remained massively inexperienced.
“We all get excited, you know, that he’s going to come out from the get-go and be Joel Embiid and play like a poised veteran,” Brown said.
“But it’s just not fair, or true. There is a level of realization that we have to go through to wait and watch and make him grow.
“He’s still going to produce some of the numbers you see. But there are still lots of times where it’s clear he’s a young man who hasn’t played basketball for two and a half years.
“He’s finding his feet, all wrapped up in this big frame, with a hell of a lot of talent.”
Brown’s plea for patience however could not deflect attention away from another disappointing loss.
The Jazz were without George Hill (thumb injury) and Rudy Gobert, who fouled out after playing just 20 minutes. However even with those absences, Utah remained firmly in control with Gordon Hayward’s 20 points and 16 from Derrick Favors leading the way. Rodney Hood added 18 points as the Jazz improved to 5-3.
“I think (the victory) speaks to our depth,” Hayward said. “I think it speaks to our inner drive a little bit, because we have some expectations for ourselves this year. You’ve got to take care of these games.”
Jazz coach Quin Snyder said the club’s depth on the bench had been crucial. “They really picked it up,” he said. “That group of guys picked up the intensity on defense, and it carried over.”
© 2016 AFP
Article source: http://www.france24.com/en/20161108-brown-calls-embiid-patience-76ers-fall-again