This time next week Philadelphia 76ers I will be training at The Citadel in Charleston, SC Today, we will continue with the second batch of key questions I have regarding the Sixers product on the field this season.
In case you missed Part 1focused on him James Harden (who seemed to be enjoying himself at The Linc on Monday night) and Therese Maxi. Now let’s turn our attention to the MVP candidate and the rest of the front zone. Here are questions 6 to 10:
6. Will Joel Embiid Increase the density of defense?
After every game last season, Embiid usually said something unique. Even after the January win New OrleansHe admitted that he did not play at the highest level in the disappointing first half.
Joel Embiid on organizing himself: “Looking at the first half, that’s what I was doing. I was doing it to an extreme level, I can tell. In the third quarter, I really had enough at halftime.”
“It’s hard to play with that energy throughout the game, and sometimes you have to kind of speed yourself up.” pic.twitter.com/RJXoFbzwNq
– Rich Hofmann (@rich_hofmann) January 26 2022
There is a way to madness. The way Embiid learned to pick his spots and pace himself during an 82-game season is perhaps the most paradoxical component of a career under scrutiny. Finding that pace is a difficult balancing act. When Embiid tries to conserve some energy, it can become obvious even to the untrained eye. The Sixers usually play worse because they relied on Embiid to do everything. But he also shouldn’t be playing at full capacity for long stretches of a grueling season.
As Embiid mentioned in the video above, availability was one of his main goals last season. Mission accomplished: Outside of a three-week COVID-19 absence, he played 68 games and only missed a night managing occasional loads. This level of durability requires some luck, but also knowing when to stop gassing. Embiid’s days of diving in third grade are over because he has been cut back to a 20-minute max and will not play in the next back-to-back game.
While Embiid’s numbers may be slightly better in 2020-21, last season’s difficulty score was higher. This boils down to Ben Simmons He refused to play on a roster created to rely on his sport, game industry and defense. Looking ahead, this season’s squad is deeper and includes a teammate who plays basketball. Embiid shouldn’t carry too much of a load, however this Sixers might need it in a more specific way: defense.
As I mentioned in the first post, Maxey and Harden present issues defensively. The rest of the roster is full of capable defenders, and if Embiid can lead that group into the top five, he could be in a race NBA Defensive player of the year. Lost in the MVP hype over the past few years, this is an award to look forward to, too.
This does not mean that Embiid will not score around 30 points per game. he will. It’s just an admission that Harden, Maxey, and Tobias Harris It is a capable support crew surrounded by 3-point shooting. Last season, when Embiid was tasked with doing it all, the Sixers gave up 109.0 points per 100 possessions while on the ground. That’s fine, the 80th percentile for each player in Cleaning The Glass, but it was the lowest mark of his career. With a better and deeper team, could Embiid burn more fuel on the defensive end?
7. What next after Embiid as an offensive player?
According to Synergy Sports, that’s the number of pick-and-roll possessions that Embiid has finished over the past four seasons: 133, 123, 162, and 316. Since he was only with James Harden on the team for a third of the season, you’d expect him to put another high profile In this category if he remains in relatively good health.
This part of the game does not come naturally to Embiid, the recorder say, “I don’t really want to pick up pimples and jump all over the place.” Staying on the ground in more situations allows him to play more games. But what Embiid began to realize was that with Harden playing Pick-and-Roll, he didn’t need to jump like Clint Capella to achieve success. Harden’s pass, combined with his size and skill, Embiid earned him a lot of easy baskets.
It’s a fun time for Embiid offensive game. On the one hand, Harden provides him with a high-quality look that doesn’t need to be innovated. But Embiid is also always looking to push the boundaries of his game, which won’t change now with Harden here.
One thing we learned about Embiid and his coach Drew Hanlin is that it’s all geared toward playoffs. He usually takes lessons from the previous postseason and applies them to his game the following season. When Toronto Double it at the post in the 2019 qualifiers, and it’s more ocean-oriented. The changes made by Embiid mainly featured in the regular season, where he placed second in the MVP vote for two consecutive years.
What’s Next? The problem with last season is that every post-season lesson on the field could be foreshadowed by the fact that Embiid suffered a broken face and a concussion. But there is always something. One area to watch could be the Game of Solitude, which has picked up pace in each of the past four seasons. This usually means catching the ball in the middle of the floor and facing the opponent’s centers.
8. with montrezel harrel On board, how will Doc Rivers handle backup center turnover?
I’ve come to accept that in covering this franchise, we are bound to spend a lot more time discussing the position of the backup center than the other 29 teams combined.
Instead of reformatting a file Deandre Jordan And the Paul Reed Calculus from a year ago, and it’s fresh in everyone’s mind, let’s go back to the first season of the Daryl Morey-Rivers era. Then, the Sixers stuck with Dwight Howard all season and moved on to the No. 1 seed. As a regular backup for the season, Howard proved his worth. But this team didn’t try because there was no legitimate small ball position on the roster. They weren’t ready when Howard proved unplayable. The backup position status was far from the only reason the Sixers came out in the second round to Atlantabut it certainly didn’t help.
As of now, Harrell is a better player than Reed. Harrell is an excellent center for snorkeling and diving Which has a body and texture around the edge, which is why Harden has been so aggressively recruiting him. But Harrell’s defensive limitations, and the problems she might pose in playoffs similar to Howard a few years ago, are well dated. In fact, Rivers He had a front row seat for them.
The main difference between 2021 and 23 is that the Sixers seem to have multiple internal alternatives already on the list. Reed held up reasonably well in the first round against Toronto – the plus-2.2 net worth rating over six games doesn’t seem like much, but given the recent history of this position, it is – and then was put into an impossible spot after Embiid went down.
There is also history PJ Tucker plays like small ball five In successful formations with Harden, heavy-duty combinations provide Harden with a perfectly spaced ground. Not only does The Sixers have the center to play this (Tucker) style, but they also have a few extra 3D wings. Harrell should perform in the greater part of the minutes, but Reed and Tucker should get their chances reasonably well if they only see what he looks like in short breaks.
The way Rivers deals with this issue would be remarkable. On a related question…
9. How much switching will the Sixers defense experience experience?
This is something I touched upon when writing about Tucker’s additions, D. Anthony Melton And the Danwell House Jr.. These three players, along with Harden, Reed, Harris, and Matisse ThibaultForm a group of seven players who can switch most screens from 1 to 5. Embiid is also capable, although that’s not something the Sixers want to do very often in the regular season.
This wouldn’t be the Sixers’ primary defense because the Embiid is here, but could it theoretically be something we might see more of? Probably not, because Rivers and his assistant Dan Burke belong to the same school as the team whose basic defensive principles are perfect. But the staff is here to experience more if they choose to go in that direction.
10. Will the added sports be translated on the ground?
There was a time when Simmons and Embiid were tasked with managing crime as junior players in the NBA, and turnovers were the Sixers’ biggest problem. That has changed in recent seasons, due to Embiid’s individual improvement (he has reduced his turnover in each season of his career) and the team’s improved performance on guard. Last season, it was clear what a bugaboo was from the Sixers: They couldn’t grab a rebound.
Before Harden’s arrival, the recoil approached disaster. Despite having Embiid and Drummond, the Sixers finished 15th on defensive rebounding and died 30th on offensive glass. This was the area where the Sixers missed Simmons the most. maxi, thipul, George NiangAnd the Danny Green And the Seth Carrey They are all weak wearers of their position, while shake milton And the Furkan Korkmaz Slightly below average. Due to the team’s lack of sport in general, Rivers and Burke made the decision to essentially avoid the attacking glass to return to the transitional phase. Overall, the 2021-22 Sixers were a non-sporting team by NBA standards.
List turnover should help. Milton, the guard, is a plus guard on both ends. Harden is an excellent defensive rebel. Harel hits the offensive glass hard. Tucker is an upgrade over the Niang, and as mentioned earlier, the Embiid may have more energy to recoil in defense.
Rebounding is probably the best evidence of a lack of exercise, but there are other areas to point out. The Sixers dropped from third to 17th in forcing the opponent to turn without Simmons. Despite giving up the offensive glass, it was also statistically one of the worst defensive transition teams in the league last season. How far can new employees break into these weaknesses?
(Embiid and Harrell Image: David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)