The Philadelphia 76ers apparently have Team Joel and Team Al.
Recently, Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown spoke with reports covering a wide range of subjects. One of which was the co-existence of his two centers in Joel Embiid and Al Horford. According to Keith Pompey of Phily.com, Brown had this to say.
Sixers coach Brett Brown when asked about Al Horford’s role moving forward: “There is kind of like a team Al and team Joel and and there’s an integration of the two of them to the team.”
— Keith Pompey (@PompeyOnSixers) July 1, 2020
This shouldn’t come as a surprise, as Brown chose to bench Horford in February. It became clear that the two big men proved throughout the course of the season that they couldn’t co-exist, especially when non-shooting point guard Ben Simmons was also on the court.
Based on the comments above, it seems that Brown took time during this hiatus from play to figure out a solution. The solution is pretty straight up, there are incarnations of this team where lineups built around each center and one built around both.
Out of the three “teams” mentioned in Brown’s quote, “Team Al “seems like the one that would get the least amount of playing time. This is mostly due to the fact that Horford is more than likely coming off the bench and based on past comments from Brown stating that his goal for Embiid is to play 38 minutes a night during the postseason.
With that in mind, that would indicate that Horford would only get about 10 minutes per game on the court without sharing it with Embiid. Below is a potential lineup of what “Team Al” could look like.
- Alec Burks
- Shake Milton
- Josh Richardson
- Tobias Harris
While surely Simmons could and probably will appear on “Team Al”, this lineup maximized Horford’s skill set. Simmons takes the ball out of Horford’s hands as a playmaker and he clogs up the paint for the big man as well. Burks plays to Horford’s strengths as a pick-and-roll guard.
Horford’s a pretty solid outlet passer and this lineup is built to be efficient in an uptempo offense looking for baskets in transition. On top of that, both Burks and Milton are pretty good ball handlers in the pick-and-roll which is also a strength of Horford.
This lineup allows Horford to run the offense just like he use to back with the Boston Celtics. It may only be for roughly ten minutes per game, but this lineup can be pretty effective for Philly.