The infancy stages of any process are often the most crucial, as they tend to establish the stability of the foundation. Philadelphia has a big piece in the most infant of stages, Joel Embiid. As the No. 3 overall pick from a year ago recovers, the team wants to collect as much information as possible about his recovery and how to support. This would be the case for any player on their roster they see suffer an injury, as well as attempting to minimize injuries altogether.
To improve their chances of doing so and collecting the most educated opinions out there, they have hired Dr. David T. Martin as new Dir. of Performance Research & Development, the team announced today.
General Manager Sam Hinkie claims improving this department of the organization has been prioritized, alluding to the investments in players, namely Embiid, they have made.
“Building up our sport science capabilities has been an important focus of the Sixers under Josh Harris and David Blitzer,” said Sixers President of Basketball Operations and General Manager Sam Hinkie. “To give our players every opportunity to be healthy and remain healthy, while also allowing them to perform at their best, we have made many investments – adding staff and integrating outside experts, partnering with pioneers in sports science and technology, and adjusting our day-to-day training, practice and recovery plans.”
“But none like David Martin. He is a scientist. He is also a coach to some of the world’s highest performing, most resilient athletes and coaches. We are delighted to add someone of his immense talents to lead and grow our efforts.”
Hours before the hiring, Head Coach Brett Brown nearly announced the move himself, while adding perspective in specific areas it could help his very young team. Speaking to Sixers TV analyst Malik Rose on NBA SiriusXM radio, Brown, speaking before the hiring (and another one he alludes to) took place, noted how it could really help Embiid’s progress.
"I think people often don't understand," Brown said. "You take a whole year off, and Nerlens went through the same thing, you want to talk about the discipline of being perfect when you're not playing, it's kind of unfair in some ways. They are 19, 20 years old, they don't play basketball for 12 months, the buying-in stuff, he got it, because he's smart."
We can assume the “discipline” aspect he is talking about is getting Embiid committed to a recovery plan, which is understandably not easy for a young man just anxious to play ball.
Brown said the second hiring, in addition to the Martin one, would be an assistant. He concludes by saying the moves were made to reflect the values of the organization.
“It's a double-edged powerful asset that we're going to deliver to the market place soon. It's all pointed to the health of our players, bottom line. Next year we're going into a $75 million practice facility. I think we're last in pro sports. We always said, 'if we're going to be last, we better be best.' And best we will be. You've got to fill the chairs, fill the people in the offices who can mirror the values of the club. Wellness and sports science is number one with development of the players a close second. These hires will make a real statement confirming those goals."
You can listen to the full Brown interview here.
No word on if Allen Iverson, currently being pushed on the Sixers by Larry Brown, was considered for the position. I would assume not.