NBA Playoffs: How the Washington Wizards can stop Joel Embiid and upset the Philadelphia 76ers

Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
Washington Wizards Bradley Beal Joel Embiid (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /
4 of 4
Washington Wizards.
Washington Wizards. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Washington Wizards must exhaust Joel Embiid, both physically and mentally

Joel Embiid is truly a physical specimen. There hasn’t been a center with his movement skills since Hakeem Olajuwon. But if there’s one deficiency in Embiid’s physical profile, it’s his conditioning. The Wizards need to test his improved endurance and play at a breakneck pace like they have all season.

On the offensive end, throw a lot on Embiid’s plate by having the bigs set off-ball screens. Then, when he has the ball, swarm him and don’t allow any easy buckets. And when he’s on the bench, the Wizards must capitalize on the Embiid-less minutes.

Hopefully, the Wizards can come out with a thorough, disciplined game-plan (may be asking too much of Scott Brooks) and embrace the underdog mentality. To have a shot in this series, the Wizards need to take risks and not let Philadelphia’s best player beat them. In other words: if Tobias Harris is making kick-out passes for threes, so be it. If Ben Simmons wants to be aggressive as a scorer, let him. The Wizards’ size deficiency will be a major problem, but perhaps they’ll have the quickness to make up for it. I would start Westbrook (good post-defender, spacy off-ball) on Simmons and Hachimura on Harris. That way, they can switch any two-man action between them. This would also allow Beal to relax on Green while Raul Neto can chase around Curry.

I am predicting a sweep by the Philadelphia 76ers. Even if the Wizards lock in defensively, I expect it to be a complete mess on the other end of the floor. But hey, nothing about the 2020-21 Washington Wizards has been normal, so let’s see what happens next.

Next. 3 matchups that will define the playoff series vs. the Philadelphia 76ers. dark