Robert Covington has struggled, but the Philadelphia 76ers should be more concerned about J.J. Redick.
The Philadelphia 76ers are heavily reliant on shooting. Brett Brown’s pass-happy system runs through Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but his core’s effectiveness can’t be maximized without quality spacing around them That has been tougher to come by in recent games.
Robert Covington and J.J. Redick have both had their fair share of struggles over the last few weeks, seeing their percentages take sizable hits. Neither has been knocking down shots on a consistent basis, and that’s a major hole for a Sixers offense that needs their perimeter threat.
With that said, Covington’s recent drop-off was kind of expected. He has never been an elite shooter, and regression to the mean was inevitable. His value is rooted in defense, and a confident stroke with plenty of range is more than enough from him — even if it’s only falling at a league-average rate.
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The real issue is Redick’s shot. He’s only shooting 34.2 percent from deep over the last 10 games and 38.4 percent on the season — both of which fall well below his career average of 41.3 percent (and well below Covington’s numbers).
Aside from the plays that are centered around getting Embiid the ball, a lot of Brown’s offense is designed to get Redick open looks from deep. The 33-year-old runs off countless screens and is involved in almost every action, all under the assumption that he can hit threes at an advanced rate when afforded good looks.
Teams are never going to sag off Redick, so the spacing he creates on pedigree alone is still invaluable, but he’s starting to become an inefficienct scorer with a relatively high volume. That isn’t the greatest trend for somebody who doesn’t yield many positives defensively, which is the biggest difference between his situation and Covington’s.
Redick is undersized and often not athletic enough to defend wings or point guards at a high level. His role in the offense is confined by average handles and a lack of creation as well, meaning his impact is limited if he isn’t hitting shots coming off the actions Brown and company run specifically for him.
His presence alone does a lot of good in terms of spacing, but that simply isn’t enough for someone who got $23 million this offseason. At the very least, he needs to be consistent, which hasn’t been the case in recent games. Friday night’s triple-overtime loss to OKC was a prime example.
Redick came out of the gates firing, hitting a handful of threes and tallying 15 points in the first half. In the second half and three overtime periods, he scored just four points and ended up shooting a middling 4-13 from deep in the game.
Locker room presence and pedigree aside, Redick can’t have nights like that too often. It’s reasonable to have optimism moving forward — he’s certainly capable of improving — but for now, it’s a trend that needs to be pointed out.
The Sixers are going into a back-to-back with an exhausted Embiid on Monday and Tuesday, so Redick (like Ben Simmons) needs to step it up in a big way.