The NBA playoffs are just around the corner, and once again, the Sixers are in contention to make a deep run.
The Sixers have not gotten out of the second round since 2001.
They have suffered horrific second-round defeats in the last five seasons — while there is plenty of blame to go around as to why, the truth is that the Sixers have been unable to survive the few minutes Joel Embiid has to sit on the bench.
According to (Statmuse), Joel Embiid has a plus-minus of +282 in the playoffs in his career. While that’s absurd, the Sixers are equally as bad without him. Take the Raptors series in 2019 when the sixers were a -109 in 99 minutes without Embiid on the floor. While the Sixers have improved in the four games with Embiid in last year’s six-game series loss to the Heat, the Sixers were -16 when Embiid was off the floor. If you combined the whole series of games he didn’t play, they were a – 46.
While in the past, it was the likes of Greg Monroe, Amir Johnson, Dwight Howard, and Deandre Jordan, it now looks like it will be no other than B-Ball Paul Reed. So the question is: is Reed the answer? The fears are obvious; while Reed lacks any offensive game, he will give 100% effort at all times. Doc has been so reluctant to play him because of his inability to be smart defensively. Reed leaves his feet too much, or he’s stuck out of position and tends to foul at an alarming rate. Paul Reed leads the NBA in Fouls per 36 min at 6.5 (NBAUniversity). While Reed will be the last offensive option on the floor, I don’t believe he is ready to take on 10-12 minutes of NBA playoff action.
So what should the Sixers do? Go small!
I believe the Sixers acquired Jalen McDaniels for multiple reasons. First, he was another potential athletic scorer who was a more consistent player than Matisse Thybulle. Secondly, he is 6’9” with a 7’0” wingspan that can guard positions 1-4. Then you have PJ Tucker, who had guarded fives in the past when he was on the Rockets and Bucks. The key is, just like Paul Reed, neither of these guys needs to be an option on offense to be effective, but they are better defensive options and fit James Harden’s 5-out style better.
Prioritizing Harden’s style of play when Embiid is out will be vital for a Sixers championship run.
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