Philadelphia 76ers: Potential Joel Embiid-Josh Richardson two-man game

Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images)
Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid (Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers lost one of the main staples of their offense from last season, but it’s possible to have a similar replacement for this year.

For the past two seasons, one of the key staples to the Philadelphia 76ers offense was the two-man game between Joel Embiid and J.J. Redick. Sadly, as a result of free agency, Redick is now a member of the New Orleans Pelicans. Luckily, the Sixers acquired a high quality wing in Josh Richardson this summer that could takeover Redick’s role in the two-man dynamic.

Last season, Redick and Embiid on average scored 45.6 of the team’s 115.2 points per game. Both players enjoyed the two highest scoring seasons of their respective careers together. The duo had the third highest plus/minus rating of any of the Sixers two-man combinations for the 2017-18 season and had the highest for the 2018-19 season.

The two-man offensive games that Redick and Embiid ran for the past two seasons was predicated by two major factors. The first was Redick’s non-stop motor to move without the ball on offense. It allowed him to get to open spots all over the court for Embiid and others to find him for uncontested shots.

More from The Sixer Sense

The other and probably the more important of the two, is the dribble hand-off game between the two. Redick, is arguably one of the great 3-point shooters in NBA, but he can hit shots from any point on the floor. In two seasons with Philly, he converted 40.7 percent from downtown and 50.3 percent on 2-pointers. The dribble hand-off action between Embiid and Redick was so deadly, because Redick was such a marksman from anywhere, which made it hard to defend.

The other part of this was that Redick was able to hit Embiid after the hand-off, whether the popped man popped out or rolled into the paint. Redick averaged more assists with Sixers more than any other teams in his career at 2.8 assists per game in two seasons.

The questions becomes, can Richardson replicate what Redick did for the past two seasons? In short no or at least not at the same level as the veteran sharp shooter. Redick is a better shooter than Richardson, but it doesn’t mean he can’t replicate something similar to what Redick did in that two-man action with Embiid.

Last season, Richardson averaged a career high 4.1 assists, so he’s should be able to hit Embiid whenever the center rolls or pops in the secondary action of the dribble hand-off. Last season, Richardson shot 45.8 percent on 2-point attempts and 35.7 percent on 3-pointers. Both are lower than Redick’s percentages, but are by no means bad. Richardson can still score out of the two-man action, but might be more dangerous as a playmaker than Redick was.

dark. Next. Making sense of Redick’s departure

The Philadelphia 76ers can still run dribble handles this year, but it might be more effective if Richardson looks to pass first and views shooting the ball as a secondary option. This is because Richardson is not an elite shooter, but is better playmaker than Redick has been. With Richardson as his new partner in the two-man game, Embiid could be in line for more shot attempts this season.