Having your best players fully healthy at the right time is everything if you want to win.
Every championship caliber team needs their best players in the biggest moments in the most important games. Those games are played in May and June not in December and January.
But sometimes tough choices need to be made.
Is winning a big game at the expense of a player’ health the most important thing? Or perhaps putting aside winning to protect your star player’s future is what’s right in the end?
Health of the player first
The Warriors are not a fault with what happened to Durant in Game 5.
Their backs were against the wall in the series and presumably Durant pushed to play for the first time in a month.
The result was devastating for both the Warriors and Durant, and his injury will have a ripple effect on the league.
But if the Sixers were to find themselves in a similar position to what the Warriors face now, hopefully their decision would be different.
Embiid will never escaped injury concerns in his career. As he gets older and more minutes accumulate on his body, the more likely his knee will get sore or he will get back tightness.
Rushing him back for the sake of winning playoff games could possibly put his future in jeopardy. His long-term outlook is something the Sixers can’t afford to risk.
Plus, Durant and Joel Embiid are at different stages of their careers and have dissimilar looking contracts.
The Warriors don’t have Durant signed long-term like the Sixers do with Embiid.
They didn’t draft Durant with the third pick in the draft and then had to wait two years for him to play.
The situations are different and therefore, the decision should be different in deciding whether to risk Embiid’s health to win a Finals game.
The organization’s priority should be the health of Embiid. Keep him well rested during the long season and hope his body holds up in the playoffs.
If his body breaks down and he can’t play in June, then so be it.
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