4 takeaways from Buddy Hield's first month as a 76er

Buddy Hield has excelled in his first month as a Sixer while flashing skills that go beyond his scouting report. Hield can turbocharge the Sixers offense while also complementing Joel Embiid.

Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics
Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics / Adam Glanzman/GettyImages
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Hield and Joel Embiid will thrive together

Buddy Hield, Joel Embiid
Philadelphia 76ers v Indiana Pacers / Dylan Buell/GettyImages

It's easy to imagine how Hield will fit into the lineup once Embiid returns and how the two players will benefit each other. The MVP center and sharpshooting perimeter player both have elite gravity in different ways. Embiid’s dominant interior scoring and playmaking forces defenders to collapse, while Hield’s limitless range and sniper-like accuracy forces defenders to stay with him even when he is 35 feet away from the basket.

Putting these two players on the court together will pull the defense in different directions, and this puts immense stress on opposing players. It's a Sixers fan’s dream to imagine a scenario where head coach Nick Nurse has his offense clear out one side of the floor, with Embiid posting up on that side in the low post and Hield out on the wing. Hield is decent when it comes to entry passes, so he can feed the ball to Embiid. At that point, the defense has two choices. They can either give Embiid a one-on-one matchup or Hield’s defender can sag off to help. 

Leave Embiid one-on-one and he will score. If Hield’s defender drops down to assist, the big man can kick it out to Hield for a wide-open three. Assume that the other three players are around the perimeter on the other side of the court, one in the corner, one on the wing, and one near the top of the key. If any of those defenders drop down to provide help guarding Embiid, the big man can find them for an open three. If the defense rotates to cover the shooter, Philly can pass the ball around the perimeter, forcing the defense into scramble mode until somebody finds themselves open.

This will be particularly important in the postseason, where teams have historically collapsed their defense on Embiid and forced him to shoot inefficiently and turn the ball over. It will be much more difficult for defenders to help off of their assignments and pester Embiid with a dead-eye shooter such as Hield lurking on the perimeter to make the defenders pay for leaving their assignment.

Even if it isn't Hield’s defender that ventures away to help on Embiid, somebody will have to provide help or the reigning MVP will go off for 50 points. Leaving a man open will still cause the defense to break down and lose its integrity. When this happens, defenders will scramble to cover the open man and the ball can move around the perimeter. Eventually, the ball will likely find its way to Hield, who can convert open looks from deep as if they are layups.