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The Philadelphia 76ers promise to look a little bit different when the 2021-22 season tips off in New Orleans. For one, they are likely to have only one half of their star duo. Ben Simmons has officially requested a trade, and the odds of him being on the roster on opening night are slim.
That means they have committed to Joel Embiid, and they are going to build around the superstar big man.
To do that, they will need to focus on perimeter shooting and giving him enough space to operate. That shooting needs to be reliable enough that when Embiid gets doubled, he can kick it out to those shooters and make the defense pay.
ESPN has put together its concerns for each contending team and for the Sixers, the worldwide leader is not sure they have enough shooting surrounding Embiid at the moment:
Philadelphia’s success hinges on Joel Embiid. And it’s also known that the big man benefits — both through floor spacing and assist opportunities — from the Sixers’ snipers pouring in 3s around him. But Philly ranked 23rd in 3-pointers made last season, and while the team was 11th in 3-point percentage, it wasn’t a squad reminiscent of Daryl Morey’s free-wheeling Houston Rockets rosters.
The Sixers added Georges Niang in the offseason. The forward shot 42.5% from 3 for Utah last year. They also drafted Jaden Springer late in the first round out of Tennessee, where he shot 43.5% from 3 as a freshman. Perhaps the biggest room for 3-point growth in the Sixers’ rotation — again, forgetting about Simmons — will be Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle. Both guards hovered around the 30% mark from 3 last season, diluting the impact of Seth Curry’s outstanding 46.7% clip from the outside.
The good thing for Philadelphia is Maxey has constantly been in the gym all summer working on his 3-point shot in order to add that aspect to his offensive game. The young guard out of Kentucky figures to be a big part of Philadelphia’s plans now that Simmons is most likely going to be gone here very soon.
As far as Embiid is concerned, the big fella is the most dominant big man in the game. He can take over a game at any second in order to lift the Sixers to wins and the same will have to continue in this upcoming season regardless of if Philadelphia has the proper shooting or not.
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