The Philadelphia 76ers look strong this season, now holding a 16-7 record. The Sixers are proving to be one of the best teams in the NBA and have a great chance of going all the way.
Doc Rivers Has Made a Big Difference
The Philadelphia 76ers look strong, currently standing as the first seed in the East, we have to give major credit to Doc Rivers.
Sixers fired Brett Brown after seven seasons in charge. They went from Brett Brown to one of the best coaches in the league, getting Doc Rivers was one of the most significant moves on the season.
We’ve heard complaints about how Brett Brown ran things.
“Me as a person, as a player I didn’t know who the fuck was in charge,” Butler said. He also recalled team meetings where “Nothing got accomplished”.
He then highlighted some of Brown’s decisions and their impact on players. The Sixers began to run their offense through Butler a lot more in the postseason that year, 2019. However, during the regular season, they ran their offense through Ben Simmons.
Butler said: “I don’t think that that was fair because the entire year, Ben had the ball. The entire year Ben had the ball.
“So you mean to tell me that in one playoff series you just switch it up like that
“I would be [annoyed] like he [Simmons] was. I would feel a type of way.”
Redick has spoken about how Rivers would tell everyone clearly what their roles were before, during Redick’s time at the Clippers. The Sixers already seem more disciplined, and everyone seems to understand their role to their team.
I think it is fair to say most Sixers fans weren’t happy with Brown, and the change to Rivers has brought in a completely new level of coaching.
One of the players where it looks like Rivers has made a big difference, Tobias Harris.
Tobias Harris Has Been Great This Year
Tobias Harris has emerged to become a key reason why the Philadelphia 76ers look so strong. The Sixers gave Harris a five-year, $180 million contracts, one of the NBA’s best contracts.
Whether Harris will prove to be worth such a lucrative contract is yet to be seen, but what we do know is he has been having a great season. Under Rivers, he had what many think was an All-star caliber season.
He averaged 20 points and was a key piece in Rivers and the Clippers’ 2018-19 season. In that season, Rivers said: “He deserved to make it” to the All-star game.
So far, Harris is averaging 20.2 points and 7.2 rebounds per game. He is also shooting 45.5% from three, the best he has ever shot in his career.
One of the most notable games Harris has had was against the Los Angeles Lakers. In a battle of championship contenders, we saw Harris perform at a high level. He dropped 24 points and hit the game-winning shot.
Harris wasn’t being utilized to his full potential by Brown. Brown had Harris in too many isolations plays to get himself a bucket. Whilst Harris can do this to an extent, it’s not what he’s best at.
Rivers went on Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson’s youtube channel, ‘SHOWTIME Basketball,’ and spoke on Harris.
Rivers recalled his first practice session where he saw Harris “Tobias that’s just not you.” He added: “He’s confident catching it and shooting it, catching it and attacking.”
He noted how he is best at being quick and decisive with his movements and getting his shot. Rivers also said that they were working on giving him more stuff in the post. “Putting the post-game back into him, so it’s been really nice.
“As a guy, listen you need great guys on your team and he’s one of them.”
Joel Embiid Is Having an MVP Worthy Season
Joel Embiid is the biggest reason why the Philadelphia 76ers look strong. He has been unstoppable this season. Embiid is averaging 29.1 points and 10.8 rebounds so far and is firmly in the early discussion for MVP.
Embiid is the ‘X factor’ that can get the 76ers out of the East. When it comes down to it, who in the East can guard Embiid? No one comes in mind.
With a fully fit team behind him, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Embiid dominate the East in the playoffs.
Embiid is one of the most difficult players to guard in the NBA. He’s got elite footwork considering he is seven-foot tall. He is shooting the ball well, 42.3% from three, and in particular, the mid-range has been looking very good this season.
Embiid having a good mid-range makes it hard for defenders to give him space, but he can go by you as he is one of the best centers at getting to the rim in the league.
This leads us to another thing Embiid excels in, getting to the free-throw line. We saw in the game against the Boston Celtics where he shot 21 free throws, knocking down 17 of them.
He’s averaging 11.1 free throws again and shooting 85% from the line. Again, extremely well for anyone, let alone a seven-footer.
Another thing we’ve seen from him is how good he is in the clutch. The Philadelphia 76ers look strong in the clutch when Embiid is having a good game, he tends to have many of these.
For example, in the first game of the regular season against the Washington Wizards. Embiid dropped 29 points, and 15 of them came in the fourth quarter. He made the go ahead basket, to put Philly up 105-103 with a minute and nine seconds to go.
The Philadelphia 76ers Look Strong but Does Ben Simmons?
Ben Simmons divides a lot of opinions. The two-time all-star is only averaging 13.4 points a game. He’s also averaging 8.1 rebounds per game and 8 assists.
Last year, he averaged 16.3 points per game. It made many people question whether his game has really improved since his rookie year, where he won the rookie of the year award.
A lot of this is to do with the fact that he still hasn’t developed a reliable jump shot, more so that he rarely attempts to shoot even one three a game. So, therefore, some people think that he has been a disappointment.
However, it should be remembered that Rivers coached the Boston Celtics to a championship in 2008 with Rajon Rondo, a point guard that couldn’t shoot.
Simmons has also continued to grow as an elite defender. Last year, Simmons led the NBA in steals per game (2.4) and made the NBA First-team All-Defensive team.
Rivers spoke on Simmons and what he brings to the team. “He does so many different things to affect winning that analytics and numbers can never justify on what he does.
“He’s one of the few guys, Kawhi had a little bit of this too, where defensively he can literally swallow you.”
Having a guy like Simmons, who can guard one to five positions at an elite level, can make all the difference in a championship team. Whether or not he is putting up the number of points you’d expect, you can trust him to deliver on the other end. The Philadelphia 76ers look strong, and a large part of that is thanks to Simmons.
Simmons is also an elite playmaker. He is undoubtedly one of the most skilled passers in the league. Rivers touched on his ability and how he’s developed.
He spoke on how Simmons used not to like double teams. He said: “He invites double teams now,” and emphasized how if they double, the Sixers will usually get a bucket from the possession.
Simmons is a big part in running the offense and arguably more importantly, the Sixers defense.
Simmons, Embiid, and Harris are the team’s core, and you may even consider them a big three. The Philadelphia 76ers look strong because of the rest of their roster too.
A lot of credit has to be given to Daryl Morey, of course, the Sixers’ new President of Basketball Operations.
It was expected that he would bring in shooters to surround Simmons and Embiid, and he has done that better than expected. Bringing in Seth Curry was an amazing addition for the Sixers.
He’s a player that can go off in periods of the game. He gets to the rim well, has underrated ball-handling skills, but of course, the main thing is that he is one of the best three-point shooters in the league, and he can go off from beyond the arc. Curry shoots 44.5% from three over his career and is shooting 48.5% this season.
The additions of Danny Green and Dwight Howard also deserve mention. Green has his off nights but has shown in some games what he can do and why the Sixers signed him. Howard brings great energy off the bench. He is an effective second center that the Lakers most definitely miss having.
He has fit into Philly well, the only problem with Howard is he picks up fouls quite quickly. Sixers will be hoping he can control this in important decisive games if he’s needed.
Here are two key players from the Sixers bench, Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey. Milton especially. After Harris, Embiid, and Simmons, it is a fair argument to say Milton is their most important player.
Credit to Doc Rivers again, as he made Milton come off the bench rather than to start. Perhaps this is because of the success Lou Williams had off the bench for his previous team, the Clippers.
Milton can do most things on offense. He is averaging 14.1 points and can get those points whether he is attacking the rin and trying to get a mid-range jumper off. The impact Milton has off the bench will be crucial to the Sixers’ postseason success.
Tyrese Maxey is one of the most exciting prospects in the league. He went at number 21 in the NBA draft and has proven he can give quality minutes off the bench. Maxey is particularly great at getting to the rim and staying aggressive.
The Philadelphia 76ers look strong and ready to cause problems in the East. Matt Barnes hailed doc Rivers as one of the greatest motivators in sport.
He will need to continue motivating the Sixers’ young stars if he wants them to deliver in the playoffs. Harris and Embiid continue to look great, and although Simmons isn’t putting up as many points as people expect from a star, his impact on the team is evident.
The Philadelphia 76ers look strong and will be a tough team for anyone to beat in the postseason if they manage to stay healthy.
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