When one year ends and another begins, people often time reflect on their past year. That can lead to them looking at things they wish to improve upon. New Year’s Resolutions are very common, even if many of them are not followed out. As the 76ers look to improve upon their season and start 2020 off right, here are some resolutions each of the players can make.

Starters

Joel Embiid

Making Smart Passes out of Double Teams

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As Joel has proven he is the best post scorer in the league, teams have decided to double team him in the post more and more often. At first, Embiid panicked a lot and it led to a lot of turnovers. He is starting to calm down when he gets doubled, but his passing could definitely improve. Kobe Bryant just did a Detail on Embiid and he talked about Embiid needing to improve his passing out of double teams. Bryant said his ceiling would be unlimited if he could make the right pass most of the time. Embiid becoming a prolific passer from the post would make him as close to unstoppable as he can get.

Ben Simmons

Be More Aggressive on Offense

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Being more aggressive on offense is not just taking 3-pointers. Honestly, Ben doesn’t even need to take any threes to be more aggressive and/or effective on offense. He just needs to drive to the basket much more often. It is often frustrating to watch Simmons. Sometimes he attacks the rim relentlessly and makes layup after layup off the glass. Then other times you forget he is on the court. Simmons needs to be much more aggressive on offense to reach his potential. Whether he is afraid to attack the rim because he doesn’t want to shoot free-throws or he just likes passing more than shooting, he needs to drive to the rim more often. Of course, he also needs to work on his shooting too.

Tobias Harris

Making Catch-and-Shoot Three-Pointers

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Harris likes the ball in his hands on offense. It was clear he was slightly uncomfortable in his role with the team last year with Jimmy Butler. Harris looks a lot better out there this year. But just because he has moved back to his preferred offensive role doesn’t mean he has to completely stop taking catch-and-shoot threes. While he has improved his catch-and-shoot 3-point% – making 36% this year compared to 31% last year with the Sixers – he is only 64th out of 97 qualified players attempting at least three catch-and-shoot 3-pointers per game when it comes to percent made. Harris becoming more efficient on catch-and-shoot would force defenders to pay more attention to him on the 3-point line, which would in turn make his offense and everyone else’s on the floor much easier.

Al Horford

Taking More Shots Inside

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Horford has been a Center his entire NBA career. Playing with Joel Embiid is a huge adjustment for him. But maybe Al doesn’t have to completely change his game just because he is playing Power Forward. Horford is making an outstanding 57% of shots within 10 feet of the basket. Yet Horford only has a 46% Fg%. Horford clearly excels inside, and it would help the 76ers if he took more shots in close.

Josh Richardson

Taking Smarter Shots

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Richardson has had an unlucky start to the season. It seems like whenever he starts to get into a grove, he suffers a minor injury, misses a few games, and then has to find that grove again. That has led to Richardson having some struggles here and there. His 43% FG% needs to be improved. That starts with taking smarter shots. Josh likes to utilize the pull-up midrange jumper a lot, which is fine; he is good at it. But sometimes he takes either a tightly contested jumper or a jumper with no defender in the area that could be an easy drive. He also tends to take some pretty deep 3-pointers.

If Richardson can sharpen up his offensive decision-making, it can really help the Sixers offense.


Bench

Matisse Thybulle

Expanding his Offensive Game

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If Defensive Rookie of the Year was an award, Matisse Thybulle would probably win it. Everybody knew he was going to be a defensive stud. What wasn’t known was how he would impact the game on offense. He has made an incredible leap in his 3-point ability since college. Thybulle was a 36% 3pt shooter in college. His percentage has increased by an absurd 10%, as a 46% 3pt shooter now. Outside of his 3-point shooting, though, Thybulle is extremely limited offensively. He has taken just 12 shots the entire season that was not either within 5 feet of the basket or a 3-pointer. Defenses can virtually ignore him if he is either not behind the 3-point arc or in the paint. An expansion in his offensive capabilities would turn Matisse from a solid bench player to a rising star.

Furkan Korkmaz

Continuing to Improve his Defense

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He might not be in contention for Most Improved Player in the NBA, but he is definitely the front-runner right now for this Sixers team. Almost all of his production comes from the offensive side of the ball, where he is playing with a new confidence that he clearly did not have earlier in his career. But Korkmaz has also improved defensively. He used to be a defensive liability, and part of the reason he is receiving more opportunities on offense is that he isn’t hurting the team on the defensive side like he was. Despite progress, Korkmaz is still a below-average defender. Defensive progress will allow Korkmaz to receive even more playing time, especially in the playoffs.

Mike Scott

Becoming More Consistent from Three

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Mike Scott has been the definition of a streaky shooter this season.  Scott has 15 games this season where he is 25% or worse from 3 and 12 games this season where he is 50% or better from 3. There is no in-between with the leader of the Hive. When he is on fire, he can be a game-changer and a deadly offensive weapon. When he isn’t hitting from 3, it can really derail some of the Sixers’ offense.

James Ennis III

Getting Back to his Playoff Intensity

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Players are always going to play harder in the postseason: that’s expected. But Ennis really took his game to another level in the Toronto Raptors series last playoffs. He averaged roughly 24 minutes a game in that series, meanwhile, he is only getting 17 minutes a game currently.

If Ennis can bring back some of that energy and tenacity he showed in the playoffs, it would really help the 76ers on defense and with rebounding.

Trey Burke

Continuing to Improve his Defense

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The offense has never been an issue for Trey Burke. His defense, however, has caused problems in the past. When Burke was brought in by the team, Brett Brown made it a point of emphasis for Burke to improve his defense. It seems Burke has, as he has been rewarded with more and more playing time as of late. If Burke can continue to improve his impact on the defensive end, he can establish himself as the team’s clear backup Point Guard.

Raul Neto

Running the Offense Smoother

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Whoever comes in at Point Guard behind Ben Simmons is never going to be expected to match his production. But the huge dropoff in production that comes when either Neto or Burke is in needs to be fixed. Neto has the defensive edge on Burke, but Burke blows Neto out of the water on offense. Neto can increase his playing time if he can make the offense more efficient when he is out there than it has been. Neto is averaging just 1.5 assists per game in 11.6 minutes a game. His assist numbers need to be higher, and he has to set up more shots for teammates.

Kyle O’Quinn

Continuing to Fight for Playing Time and Being a Positive Veteran Presence

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While O’Quinn’s performance on the court hasn’t been disappointing, the amount of playing time he is receiving is. O’Quinn has played just 18 games thus far, after being brought in to be the backup center. Now a lot of his minutes are going to Joel Embiid and Al Horford, which is a clear upgrade over O’Quinn, but the amount of games he has been sitting lately is surprising. The Sixers do not want Embiid or Horford to burn out before the playoffs. All O’Quinn can do in the meantime is continue to be a good veteran teammate in the locker room and make the most of his opportunities.

Norvel Pelle

Limiting Fouls

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Pelle has been a very pleasant surprise for the 76ers. Pelle spent all of last season on the 76ers’ G-League team the Delaware Bluecoats. The Sixers liked what they saw and signed him to a two-way contract. In limited action, he has provided a huge surge of energy when put into the game. In Pelle’s NBA debut, he had a ridiculous four blocks in just 12 minutes of action. Pelle got himself on some highlight tapes and is becoming known as a shot-blocking machine. Sometimes Pelle can get a little too excited when he sees someone try to test him at the rim, and can rack up fouls pretty quickly. If Pelle can discipline himself more on defense, he could get a lot more playing time.


Shake Milton, Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden, and Marial Shayok

Staying Patient and Continuing to Improve their Game

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This quartet of players has combined for just 12 games this season, 10 of which coming from Shake Milton. The other two games come from Jonah Bolden, who has played just 5 minutes all season. Marial Shayok wasn’t expected to get any playing time, being the 76ers’ rookie second-round draft pick. Milton, Smith, and Bolden, however, were expected to receive at least some playing time. While the rotation seems pretty locked in for the time being, they all have to keep working hard and not get frustrated. Whether an injury or trade happens, that can open up some playing time for them. Furkan Korkmaz is a prime example for them. Korkmaz was not even expected to return to the NBA this offseason because of his disappointing performance. That has completely changed, as he has become the 76ers main 3-point weapon. Just keep working hard and it will pay off.


Whether you’re in the NBA or not we all have things we can improve on. If the work is put in, then there is little stopping the improvement. Let’s all be the best version of ourselves this New Year.

Photos via: Bleacher Report, Sports Illustrated, Chat Sports,
Sixers Wire, Philadelphia Inquirer, TMZ, ESPN, InsideHook,
The Athletic, NBC Sports, New York Times

 

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