On Thursday night the Toronto Raptors won the teams first NBA championship. The Raptors did the impossible defeating the Golden State Warriors dynasty and denying their bid for a three-peat. Kawhi Leonard took home Finals MVP averaging 28 points per game along with 9.9 rebounds. What was the reason Leonard was in this position to guide the Raptors to this position you ask? Well according to The Klaw it’s because of load management.
With that being said should the Philadelphia 76ers take this approach with Joel Embiid?
Now we all remember the Kawhi saga and how it ended in San Antonio. Leonard chose his health and sat out almost all of the 2017-2018 season. He was then traded to the Raptors in exchange for DeMar DeRozan and other players. The results are now very clear who won the trade. But the bigger story is how Leonard was healthy enough for the moment. Throughout the season two-time Finals MVP missed games.
Whether it be apart of a back to back or just a game against a lesser opponent. All in all the Klaw missed 22 games during the regular season. However, in the long run, it helped the Raptors and Leonard. When the playoffs rolled around The Klaw was fresh enough to guide the Raptors to the 16 wins needed and the Raptors team gained experience in playing without Leonard on the court.
Keep Embiid fresh
The 76ers took the Raptors to game 7. They aren’t far off but what may have ultimately done them in was Joel Embiids health. Now yes the team was fighting for home court advantage and to get the number one seed but does that really matter? The Raptors had the number two seed ultimately beating the one seed Milwaukee Bucks in 6 games. Often times we see the Golden State Warriors resting players throughout the season as home court does not matter to them.
Yes, it is great to play in front of your fans but ultimately player health is everything. Now yes some injuries can’t be avoided no matter what but if you can have a player be fresh when Late April rolls around you have to take advantage.
Load management is the answer
At the end of the day, the 76ers will go only as far as Embiid can take them. His health problems ultimately were a key factor in that Raptors series. Moving forward it’s key that the 76ers find a good backup center. It’s also critical to get Embiid the rest he needs. It’s a long 82 game season when possible rest Embiid on back to backs. Maybe sit him during some TNT Thursday games.
Now Embiid played in a career-high 64 games this season but maybe push that down somewhere between 55-60 games. Whatever it takes if the 76ers want to hoist a championship they need their star big man as close to 100% as possible and load management seems to be the answer.
featured image via Flickr Smashdown Sports News
All stats via NBA.com
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