The Philadelphia 76ers announced Thursday center Joel Embiid will not play in tomorrow night’s preseason game against the Charlotte Hornets. He will play in the following game on Sunday when they travel to Orlando.

The decision shouldn’t be surprising since both Embiid and the team have said they want to be careful about his playing time. This cautious approach will not only be applied in the regular season but in the preseason as well.

Sitting Embiid certainly provides more intrigue leading up to the game since there’s an open spot in the starting rotation. The starting lineup Brett Brown uses against the Hornets could perhaps be a preview to what he will do when Embiid sits games during the regular season.

Who gets the start?

Not surprising Al Horford will get the start at center replacing Embiid, which opens a forward spot. There are a couple different directions Brown can take to fill it.

Maybe he will move Tobias Harris to the power forward position and start the rookie Matisse Thybulle at small forward.

Thybulle appears to be gaining the trust of Brown since he was, alongside James Ennis III, the first substitution of the bench in their first preseason game on Tuesday. But since it was a preseason game against a non-NBA team, it’s questionable if it meant anything important.

If he gets the start, it could be a telling sign about what the coaching staff thinks about what he can do for the team this season.

Another alternative is for Brown could go with Mike Scott at power forward. Scott playing at the four would keep everyone else at their regular positions and establishes a more experienced lineup.

An opportunity to find a solution.

There could be other less clear options Brown is contemplating to experiment with different lineups and rotations. (That’s one of the biggest reasons for having a preseason). It’s unclear how many games Embiid will sit this season, but he will not play in all of them. Decisions will need to be made about what to do in those games when they come.

Whatever his decision is with the lineup tomorrow isn’t necessary an indicator of what is to come when the games count, but it could give us a glimpse into his early thought process.

Tomorrow’s game gives Brown an opportunity to start finding an answer when Embiid sits.

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