The 2020-21 NBA season is underway, and what an exciting start to the season we’ve seen around the league. The Sixers came back and beat the Wizards on Opening Night. They handled the Knicks easily at MSG.
The undefeated Cavaliers, however, moved to 3-0 after clobbering the Embiid-less 76ers.
While it was disappointing to watch, it’s important to keep perspective after our first loss of the season. Conclusions cannot be made about this roster and how successful they can be after just three games.
Around the whole league, yesterday was a strange day. Along with Cleveland beating up on Philly, the Nets lost to the Hornets, the Bucks lost to the Knicks, and the Mavs beat the Clippers by 50(!).
As much as we worry about our first loss of the season, there are plenty of other teams with even more significant concerns early in the year.
Ben Simmons: Not Aggressive Enough?
Simmons has attempted 12, 9, and 8 field goals through the first three games of the year. Through two games played, Joel Embiid is averaging 18.5 field goal attempts per game. Ben Simmons is our second-best player, and for him to take a leap offensively starts with his downhill aggression. The jumpshot is essentially meaningless still.
Even though it’s clear that Ben needs to change his approach and be more assertive, we can’t write him off and say he will never improve offensively just yet. Three games are obviously such a small sample size, especially for a player who is coming off knee surgery during the offseason.
As the season progresses, I think it’s realistic to see Ben Simmons more aggressive and looking to get to the rim at a higher rate.
What’s Wrong With Tobias Harris?
Going into the year, we were all hoping to see Tobias Harris return to his near All-Star level from his Clippers days with Doc Rivers. Three games in, we have not seen anything close to that. He’s scored 10, 17, and 16 points in each of Philadelphia’s first three games. However, in the games against the Knicks and Cavs, he did shoot 50% from the field. If the efficiency is something consistent about Harris’ game moving forward, there’s still hope for Tobias on this team.
Quicker decision-making has been the biggest focus for Tobias Harris this year. So far from the team, we’ve seen some beautiful ball movement. Tobias needs to change his style of play in order to get the best out of the roster. Too often, the ball sticks in his hands and disrupts the flow and movement for other players to get open looks.
Throughout the year, Harris should get more comfortable keeping the ball moving and shooting the ball off the catch. Three games in is way too early to judge whether Tobias Harris can fit with the other pieces on the roster. Obviously, the contract is a net negative on the team, but if it can’t be moved, his development as a quicker decision-maker will be hugely important to the team’s success.
Overall, I’m sure we are all very excited that basketball is back. The 76ers have shown us signs of what kind of team they can be, both good and bad. It’s way too early to jump to any conclusions about where this team compares to contenders across the league, but each game allows us to learn a little more about this roster.
Overreacting this early in the season is normal; it happens nearly every year.
Patience will be key with this team’s development, and by year’s end, we may even see a vastly different roster. The NBA is officially back – let’s sit back and enjoy the ride.
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