The Sixers have a three-point shooting problem

Tobias Harris, 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tobias Harris, 76ers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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Despite recent struggles, the Sixers have been off to a solid start. However, the way they are winning is unsustainable. They have had a relatively easy schedule so far, Tobias Harris is shooting at an outlier percentage from the field, and Tyrese Maxey is putting up Steph Curry numbers. The simplest way to transition into a sustainable method of winning is clear: the Sixers need to shoot more three-pointers.

The Sixers currently rank 27th in three-point attempts. That is a recipe for long-term disaster. This old-school style of basketball just does not work in today’s NBA.

Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, 76ers – Credit: Daniel Dunn-USA TODAY Sports /

The following players need to make changes to their game:

Tobias Harris will undoubtedly regress to the mean when his percentages at the rim drop, and he continues to settle for contested mid-range jumpers. Harris has never been comfortable with being a high-volume three-point shooter, yet he is currently shooting the least number of threes per game since joining the Sixers. One cannot expect Tobias Harris to completely change at this point of his career, but at the very least, he needs to be at a similar three-point rate as he was in previous seasons for this team.

Tyrese Maxey may be the only high-volume shooter on the team, so asking him to shoot more is a tall order The thing is though, he should be shooting more. In the last few games, it has been very apparent that Maxey’s confidence wanes when the shots are not falling. This leads to him occasionally passing up open threes even though he is the best shooter on the team by a wide margin. Especially when the spacing of this team is considered, Maxey needs to let it fly.

With so many of these players not being high-volume three-point shooters, Joel Embiid should consider shooting more as well. Because teams are so afraid of Embiid scoring from the post, he often has the opportunity for open three-pointers. Embiid has shown to be a proficient three-point shooter in the past and there is evidence of his shooting touch in general from other areas of the court. He should use this regular season to experiment more from behind the arc. It is easier to get those looks and could be deadly in the playoffs. Being a more willing three-point shooter will also make teams defend him differently and open up other aspects of his game.

Robert Covington is a changed player since his last stint in Philadelphia. He used to exclusively stay on the three-point line and launch threes from the arc. Now, he is seemingly more reluctant to shoot threes but is a much-improved scorer from the inside. It used to be a miracle if Covington finished a shot around the rim, it was akin to De’Anthony Melton, but Covington appears very comfortable doing so now. The three-point percentage should improve as the season progresses, but the lack of attempts is puzzling given Covington’s entire career. It may be how Nick Nurse is utilizing him, but Covington should go back to his old ways soon.