On Nic Vucevic:
“NBA All Star”
You got Amir starting tonight?
“He will be. We found out an hour ago that he was available. He is now available so we will start him. No Boban. No Joel. No Jonah. Good news on Amir coming in, but there is a concern at the 5 spot.”
Was Embiid able to do anything more today than yesterday’s practice?
“We rested him after yesterday’s practice. He did some light core work, but in relation to doing more of the same yesterday, he did not do that. There is a chance he may meet us in Houston. We’ll judge that, but he’ll not be going on the plane tonight. What that means as it relates to when he returns, I just don’t know.”
You’ve had to patchwork the 5 spot recently with guys like Scott and Ben. What spirit have they kind of embraced this role with?
“It’s frustrating and a little bit nerve-wrecking when you don’t have that position locked down. I also think it’s an opportunity that will present itself in the playoffs. I feel like it did last year. I had Ersan play Joel’s backup at the 5 a little bit. Whether it’s Ben or Scott in the event we’re playing against a mobile team and Boban is struggling guarding some pick and pop or mobile shooter. There could be an opportunity to play Mike Scott or Ben Simmons at a 5. That situation is being force-fed upon us due to injury. I think they see that situation as an exciting opportunity.”
Is there ever any concern that you’re asking too much of Ben Simmons?
“I’m not concerned from the overloading of information or playing multiple positions kind of at all. From the physical perspective, I get nervous.”
Can you address Markelle’s personality and basketball IQ?
“First and foremost, elite person. Really just a good human being. He’s a point guard. Thinks, speaks like a point guard. He has a nature and instinct from a playing perspective to share and read the game well. Those two things first come to my mind. Good people and point guard. We’re always thinking about Markelle. We truly wish him well, and we hope he can resurface and we think he will.”
Do you think you’ll play Justin at all or is that an emergency situation?
“I think you’re going to see him. With Vuvuevic, he’s an all star and he gets people in foul trouble. I think to think Amir is going to skate through this thing on 30 plus minutes, I don’t see that. To dive in with Ben and Mike at the 5 and guard him, I don’t see that either.”
What are your impressions on Justin having seen him over the last week or so and in Delaware?
“I think he’s incredibly mobile for a big man. I think at his age, he shows a skill that you can see why he was drafted where he was drafted. I feel like the growth is going to be with his body. I’m still learning about his toughness and competitiveness. From the first glimpses, I like it. He’s a caring player and wants to please. He wants to come in and fit in. It’s all good things. It’s a small sample size, but on first glance, it’s impressive.”
What has Connor Johnson told you about Zhaire’s performance last night?
“With Zhaire, we drafted an incredibly gifted athlete that probably has a chance to impact a game more quickly defensively than he does offensively. The words that Connor has for me about Zhaire are more driven towards how gifted he is defensively. Some, in part, because of his athleticism and other, in part, because of the nature of his want to play defense.”
Has there been any talk about anyone from the Blue Coats joining the team?
“It’s on the table still.”