Joel Embiid Wants Sixers to Enact This Major Offensive Change

Joel Embiid Sixers

Getty Philadelphia 76ers star Joel Embiid fires up a three-point shot during a 2019 game against the Atlanta Hawks.

Regardless of the way in which the Philadelphia 76ers‘ 2020-21 campaign ended, Joel Embiid and his crew were nonetheless one of just a handful of teams that were legitimately competing for an NBA championship. As good as the Sixers were, though, there’s no denying that they fell well short of winning it all.

Clearly, Philly had some big-time deficiencies, particularly on the offensive side of the court. So, it should come as no surprise that Embiid was proposing a pretty significant change to the Sixers’ attack when he spoke at their September 27 Media Day.

Simply put, Embiid is looking for the team to get back to firing away in 2021-22.

“I’m usually pretty wide-open. I just want to take advantage of it and help the team,” he said. “I feel like over the years — probably except my first two years here playing — when we had JJ [Redick] and Marco [Belinelli] we used to launch threes and shoot a lot of them,” he said.

“I feel like, since then, we haven’t taken advantage of it.”

The Math Supports Embiid’s Plea

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In the modern NBA, math leads the way and the numbers speak loudly about the incredible value of the three-point shot.

As tracked by Basketball Reference, the league-average conversion rate for three-pointers last season was 36.7%. That equates to just over 1.1 points per shot attempt. By comparison, the average point creation on two-point shots was just 0.93 points per attempt.

Coaches have different systems, of course, and must also tailor those systems to the personnel at their disposal. However, using as many possessions as possible within those confines to take three-point shots is crucial in today’s game, and the Sixers have been falling woefully short.

Last season, Philly languished near the bottom of the league in terms of generating three-point offense. Doc Rivers’ team attempted just 29.8 three-point shots per 100 possessions, a mark that ranked 28th across the Association. So, despite the fact that they were tied with the Boston Celtics with the league’s tenth-best three-point efficacy (at a healthy 37.4%), the Sixers’ offense was hindered by shot distribution.

Some of this can be attributed to Ben Simmons; when your primary ball-handler refuses to shoot a three, there’s going to be a natural regression there. However, at least some of the shortfall is schematic in nature, which is why Embiid wants the scheme to change.

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More Than Capable of Lighting it Up

Even with Simmons in the fold, the Sixers are more than capable of putting up major points from behind the arc. It’s a fact that Embiid is keenly aware of, which has prompted him to call upon his teammates to aid in the cause.

“It has to be on all of us, not necessarily [just] me,” he said. “Seth [Curry] has to shoot; he’s a great shooter, one of the best ever. He has to shoot way more. Tobias [Harris] definitely, he’s just got to let it fly. And then, obviously, we’ve got Danny [Green], who’s not afraid to let it fly. But I think as a team, we just need to shoot more of them.”

Those three players shot a combined 41.6% from three-point range last season. Furkan Korkmaz is also a steady hand from deep, connecting on 37.5% of his nearly five attempts per game in ’20-21. Meanwhile, the addition of Georges Niang — a career 40.4% three-point shooter — should give the Sixers additional firepower going forward.


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