Sixers: Shooting expert on Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle

Ben Simmons | Sixers (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images)
Ben Simmons | Sixers (Photo by Corey Perrine/Getty Images) /

Some of the Sixers’ key building blocks could take advantage of a new shooting technique.

Shooting is the most fundamental skill a basketball player can possess. It makes it easier to see playing time in the NBA (especially nowadays) if you can be a reliable shooter. Oddly enough, the Philadelphia 76ers could use an improvement in that department. From the team as a whole of course, but I’ve decided to focus on three players imperative to the Sixers’ overall success: Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Matisse Thybulle.

Some backstory on how I came to write about this topic is warranted. I’ve been having some discussions with shot-making expert Roger Galo about how the way shooting/shot-making can be improved. Galo embarked on this journey for about 10-12 years.

Now you most likely asked, Who is Roger Galo? Believe me, I asked the same question when we connected on LinkedIn. Galo is a former four-year starter (1975-79) at the NCAA D-III Juniata College where he is second in career points (1,692), leader in free throw percentage for a single game (90.9), season (86.5), career (77.9), and was an NBA prospect coming out of school scouted by the Seattle Supersonics.

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Nowadays Galo is still heavily involved with the game of basketball. Galo helps train kids from elementary school all the way up to the college. Using the GALO Method of course. GALO is an acronym which stands for generating accuracy with linear optimization. Sounds confusing, right?

It’s not, that’s just the big words trying to trick you. Linear optimization means that a player knows where they are in relation to the rim. This helps creates a more effective and efficient shot. The method also emphasizes placing your hands in the center of your head and jumping as little as possible. Galo said, “the traditional way of shooting is not the most beneficial way to have an accurate shot,” to me on one of our phone calls. That would be the goal with anyone but even more emphasized with players like Embiid, Simmons, and Thybulle, who have such physical gifts.

Let’s start with Embiid, the most offensively proficient out of the three. In a simpleton’s mind, Embiid should only stay within the arc and even better, closest to the paint and rim. Well this isn’t Kareem’s, Hakeem’s, or even Shaq’s eras. It’s 2020. Embiid does hold value by spacing the floor occasionally as a decoy or to actually let it fly from 3-point land, whether it infuriates you or not.

This an elementary conversation when it comes to Embiid because of his dominance down low offensively. Really the conversation should be is how Embiid could improve furthermore because of his shot-making ability. Roger Galo expressed this by saying “Joel Embiid is predisposed to become a much better shooter.” What does predisposed mean? It means that Embiid has the tools to reach a higher level of shooting.

Think about it. Embiid is seven feet tall — so basically no one can block his shot unless they have impeccable timing — has a pretty fundamental form (considering he did most of his homework on YouTube), and shows decent touch considering shooting is not a strong suit of his. The reworking of his jump shot would make him more dangerous and in turn help himself as well as the team in terms of offensive spacing.

The hottest button issue is, of course, Ben Simmons. The same controversial non-jump shot shooting man that has great potential in all aspects of his game. Obviously, by now we know he’s been putting in work on his 3-point shot. The shooting stroke he now shoots with looks smoother and he tucks in his left elbow a bit more. If you’re reading this, then you know that Simmons has worked with a sports psychologist to help with his shot, as well as seeing that he one of two first 3-point attempts in the Sixers’ win over Memphis on Friday.

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Simmons finally is making progress to becoming the player that so many people believe he can be. Simmons must’ve changed something up, because beforehand he must’ve been following the status quo. Galo, using his experience and knowledge, pointed this out to me by saying, “Simmons has been running through the same shooting drills.”

The shooting topic with Simmons is always there and now it’s going to be enhanced for two reasons. The first is that Shake Milton will be the starting point guard and that Simmons will become the starting power forward. This change creates an opportunity for Simmons to try something different. Galo suggested, “Simmons would benefit from being more stationary on offense.” That would mean spot up 3-pointers in the corner or on the wing. The simple truth is that Simmons needs to shoot more to get comfortable with it and impact the game.

Thybulle is the least essential one of the three (not a knock just a fact), but he’s pretty important. Thybulle is the team’s best option for a top tier 3-and-D wing. The rookie forward has shown flashes of being an above average shooter while also showing that he’s really streaky.

Thybulle being streaky makes him much less of a threat on offense since he’s not great at attacking closeouts. Galo stated that, “stepping into his shot has predisposed Thybulle to miss more shots.” To expound upon this, Galo is saying that the extra energy or leap into his shot has consistently led Thybulle off his mark or too strong.

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Now it’ll be interesting to see if Roger Galo’s method catches wind with any of the three Philadelphia 76ers. It would be nice if any of them heard him out and evaluated whether what he is proposing has any credence by trial and error. Until then, we’ll see how much the hiatus has helped all of their shooting strokes.