NBA Rumors: Joel Embiid's season is likely over; so are the Philadelphia 76ers

With the Joel Embiid injury news, the Philadelphia 76ers' season is likely over.
Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors
Philadelphia 76ers v Golden State Warriors / Thearon W. Henderson/GettyImages

NBA Rumors: With Joel Embiid's season likely over, the Philadelphia 76ers should begin to look toward the offseason.

Once it became clear that the Philadelphia 76ers were going to trade James Harden, it became abundantly clear just how important Joel Embiid was going to be to the team this season. Embiid has always been an important component of the Sixers' success. However, more than in previous years, the Sixers were going to win or lose on the back of Embiid.

And through the first half of this season, that much was evident. In 14 games missed, the Sixers are just 4-10. In games that Embiid does play, the Sixers are 26-8. But it doesn't take a master's degree to understand that the Sixers are better when Embiid is healthy. Playing at an NBA MVP level, you'd expect that. Now that Embiid is slated to miss extended time with a knee injury, it may be in the best interest of the Sixers to begin to shift their focus toward the offseason.

I'd argue that this is an ideal time to shut Embiid down, even if he can make it back before the end of the season. With little-to-no shot to win this year's NBA Championship, especially with how overwhelming the Boston Celtics have looked, it would be best for Embiid to fully recover from this injury and rest up before the start of next season.

Joel Embiid returning this season would be a mistake

Rushing Embiid back to maybe win a playoff series would be malpractice from the organization. I can't believe that's going to happen. If I had to guess, the Sixers are going to revisit this possibility in a month. They're going to see where the Sixers are in the standings and make the decision to either allow Embiid to work his way back this season or call it a year. Without Embiid, the Sixers are likely going to struggle and could fall to the sixth seed in the East standings. At that point, I can't see how Philadelphia makes the conscious decision to bring Embiid back this season.

The risk doesn't outweigh the reward. In a best-case scenario, the Sixers finish as the fourth or fifth seed and then lose in the second round at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks, Boston Celtics, or New York Knicks. Is that worth bringing Embiid back when he may or may not be 100 percent and, perhaps most importantly, opening himself up to another possible injury?

With the injury to Embiid, the Sixers' season ended as quickly as it began. This season was always Embiid or bust. Heading into the offseason, Philly will have more flexibility to add another star or two and surround Embiid with a much stronger supporting cast. But, for now, this team doesn't have enough.

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The Sixers should waive the white flag, shut Embiid down for the remainder of the season, and begin to focus on how to build a championship roster around their superstar center.