The Sixers need to get Joel Embiid the ball differently

Joel Embiid, Sixers, Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Joel Embiid, Sixers, Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

After all the preseason talk and hype of this revamped Philadelphia 76ers roster around Joel Embiid, the Sixers have skidded out to a rough start. The Sixers have gone 0-3 to begin the season. An obvious question is begging for an answer, and that is what is the big problem with the team? The big problem so far has to do with the big fella Joel Embiid. The problem is that the Sixers need to work to get Joel Embiid the ball in different ways.

Statistically, Embiid is off to a good start in his usual dominant scoring and rebounding fashion as he is averaging 27 points and 13.3 rebounds. In this case, the phrase stats don’t lie is kind of a lie. The numbers posted by Embiid suggest that Embiid is doing regular Embiid things. The eye test and the way games have unfolded have revealed similar problems of the past to having an offensive anchor and talent like Joel Embiid as the focal point of a contending team. The team as a collective have struggled to find Embiid in comfortable, favorable positions.

How can the Sixers better involve Joel Embiid offensively?

One flaw the team has carried over is the inability to throw passes down to wherever Embiid is posted up on the floor. Habits are tough to break, especially old ones, but something so simple but important needs to be rectified. The extra second or so that a good to great dump down awards Embiid that time and not the defense, who will be unleashing their defensive rotations to counteract the offensive force of Joel Embiid.

The passing down to the post problem has a two-way street of solutions. Embiid needs to give more clear effort to make space for the ball. There have been times this season where Embiid hasn’t established clear post-up position for himself, most notably in the season opener against the Boston Celtics’ backup big in Noah Vonleh. This flaw being improved is vital due to Embiid being one of the very few true post-up players in the present NBA.

The easier the offense is for Embiid the more effective he can be on the defensive end of the floor for the Sixers where he is just as an important piece. Another suggestion would be to spam pick and pops. Embiid loves the mid-range anyway so it’s a good idea to spoon feed him some easy looks. Popping out to to the free throw line or a few feet from behind there doesn’t mean Embiid has to shoot either. Just gettting him the ball there can create a few options like shooting, guys cutting to the rim, spacing to the corner or resetting for a dribble handoff action. The more options and looks there are can help Embiid with his passing and decision making.

It is concerning that after the additions of the team that the best player on the Philadelphia 76ers, Joel Embiid, looks uncomfortable. The good part is that the concern is happening too early on. The point in the year where tanking teams play well to begin because those squads just have more young, enthusiastic energy. The Philadelphia 76ers are no stranger to adjusting to Joel Embiid. Maybe this season around, the team and Embiid realize the right mix to have this team reach its true potential. Like I said, that has a lot to do with trying different things on the court.

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