Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid have now played three full seasons together, but they’ve never made it past the Eastern Conference Semifinals. The two young All-Stars just haven’t been utilized in the most efficient way yet. However, new Philadelphia 76ers head coach Doc Rivers has a plan in place to get the best out of both Simmons and Embiid on the court.
The Sixers replaced Brett Brown with Doc Rivers
After three seasons of mediocrity and underwhelming finishes, 76ers fans wanted to see widespread changes across the entire organization. Well, that’s exactly what they got this offseason.
Brett Brown was sent out the door after suffering through the ‘Process Sixers’ for four years and watching Simmons and Embiid progress early in their respective careers. He was replaced by former Celtics and Clippers head coach Doc Rivers.
Then, the 76ers hired mad scientist Daryl Morey to be their President of Basketball Operations, and he got to work right away. Morey got rid of Al Horford’s crippling contract and added complementary pieces such as Danny Green, Seth Curry, and Dwight Howard.
Now, it’s up to Rivers to make all the pieces fit around Simmons and Embiid.
Doc Rivers tells Sixers fans what they’ve been waiting to hear
Doc Rivers has admired Simmons and Embiid from afar since they entered the NBA. He’s always had high praise for the impressive duo, and now he gets to explore their potential firsthand.
Rivers spoke to the media on Tuesday as the Sixers gear up to start the 2020-21 season in just three weeks, and he finally told Philly fans what they’ve desperately been waiting to hear regarding Simmons and Embiid.
I guarantee you we’ll run more pick-and-rolls, and I guarantee you’ll see more pick-and-rolls with Ben (Simmons) and Joel (Embiid) in them. But I like a lot of the stuff they ran in the past, too. They had some pretty good movement stuff. We want to make sure that, because of this shortened preseason, shortened training camp, and quick first game, that we don’t try to do too much. We want to make them as comfortable as possible.Doc Rivers
Sixers fans have been begging for more pick-and-roll offense ever since Simmons entered the league four years ago, and they’re finally about to see it.
Will the Sixers’ new-look offense shine in 2020?
The 76ers have unlimited potential as an offensive group, but they haven’t lived up to the hype in recent years. In a league where 3-point shooting is paramount, the Sixers were a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of deep shooting last season.
Philadelphia shot 36.2% from three last year, which ranked 14 out of the 30 teams in the NBA. The problem isn’t just a mediocre percentage, either. It’s who’s taking those shots. Joel Embiid, who’s a career 31.9% 3-point shooter, shot 3.4 threes per game last season. That number should be around two or less.
If Rivers makes good on his pick-and-roll promise, it will create more mismatches down low for Embiid, which will encourage him to focus on what he does best — dominate in the post.
Daryl Morey finally gave Simmons and Embiid the shooters around them to flourish in pick-and-roll situations. With the floor spread out more this season, Simmons and Embiid can dominate the pick-and-roll game and bring this offense to its full potential.
All stats courtesy of Basketball Reference