Can the Philadelphia 76ers Overcome Their Offensive Issues?
The Philadelphia 76ers are currently 15-7 and are sitting in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They’re off to a decent start, as they are only four and a half games out of first place. However, they have high expectations. Many believe the Sixers are the favorites to come out of the East, but so far the Milwaukee Bucks are the ones that look like the favorites.
Now it’s still early and it’s not time to panic, but the Sixers have some issues that they need to address and it’s all on the offensive side. The question is, can they overcome it? Well, let’s identify some of their issues and see if they can.
Defensively, the Sixers are one of the best teams in the NBA. According to basketball reference , the Sixers are sixth in the NBA in defensive rating and fifth in points allowed with 103.7 and 104.4 points respectively. It’s their offense that’s the issue.
The Sixers are currently 17th in the NBA in points per game with 108.8, 19th in offensive rating with 108.1, and 17th in pace at 100.2. These aren’t good number for a decent playoff team let alone a team that has a strong chance to make the NBA Finals. Why are their offensive issues so prevalent?
Problem: One of the biggest issues heading into the season was three-point shooting and whether the Sixers could live without it. Well, they are surviving so far but they will be another second-round exit if they do not fix this issue.
The Sixers are 27th in the NBA in three-point attempts. Even if they made their attempts at a high percentage, that wouldn’t be enough in a three-point driven league. But don’t worry because they don’t. They are 12th in the NBA in three-point percentage. No one in the starting lineup shoots higher than 38 percent and the person that does (Josh Richardson) is only making two per game. Once again defensively they are great as they are number one in the league in guarding the three, but if they don’t make more of them they can’t be successful.
Solution: The Sixers would either have to increase the minutes of Furkan Korkmaz or James Ennis who are the better shooters on the team or wait until trade/buyout season and look to pick up some shooters. The loss of JJ Redick really hurt them, but they definitely have a chance to pick up some new talent before the playoffs begin.
Problem: Joel Embiid is the number one option on the team and so far, he has led them to a top four spot in the East. The problem is that he is not playing as well this season as he did last season. Once again it’s still early, but Joel has already played about 1/3 of the games he’s played last season and he’s down in almost every statistical category.
He’s also shooting the worst field goal percentage of his career this season. To keep it short, the main area Joel has regressed in is his shot attempts. Last year he shot 18.7 shots per game and this year he’s only averaging 15.7 . With Ben Simmons not being a primary scorer, Embiid must pick up the slack, and in order to do so he needs to shoot the ball more.
Solution: Joel Embiid needs to be more aggressive if the Sixers are to move up in the standings. He needs to shoot the ball more, primarily in the low post as he can open up more three-point shots for his teammates. Embiid shoots a lot of threes and isn’t too good at making them, but he is very dominant inside. If he can stay off the perimeter and get to 10-15 ft around the basket, he will score more efficiently and help the team more.
The Sixers are currently trending upwards, but will have trouble remaining among the elite if they do not fix their offensive issues. Luckily they have a lot of time before the postseason to get more shooters.