Composing without their usual playmaker, the Sixers know how to do it since since the start of the season, they have been playing without Ben Simmons. Tyrese Maxey took over from the All-Star, but what can you do when the same Maxey is also absent? Isolated for three matches, he joined Shake Milton, injured in the back, on the absent list and the Sixers are therefore greatly diminished in this position. To get by, Doc Rivers has decided to dilute the responsibilities: there is no longer a leader, but only “ball carriers”.
“That’s what we want to do all the time, with an attack that can start from anywhere, anywhere on the pitch”, explains the Philadelphia coach to NBC Sports. “Given the absentees, we have to operate like that. We talked about it and we work on it every day. When Tyrese, Shake or Seth Curry are on the floor, we give them the ball. There, we can no longer do it, and our attack begins faster. We start with 21 seconds to play, and no longer when we have found our leader. We gain a few seconds on the clock. “
Having the ball circulate more in the hands of Furkan Korkmaz, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid has not had a negative impact so far. The Sixers are saving time on the 24-second clock, but also efficiency. In three games without Tyrese Maxey, they have averaged 122 points out of 100 possessions and are averaging 29 assists.
“I feel like a playmaker right now”, Slips Furkan Korkmaz however. “I’m trying to set up the systems, Doc gives me that freedom. I really have the feeling of being a leader, much more than just a player hitting the ball. “
“We go through Joel Embiid, that’s for sure, but not when we are static, we do it in rhythm”
The symbol of this change of style is Joel Embiid, who not only destroys defenses with his shots, points and power, but also shines with a more developed sense of the pass. He thus turns to 7 assists on average over the last three matches.
“The ball finds the right player”, continues Doc Rivers. “I think we’re starting to get it right. We go through Joel Embiid, that’s for sure, but not when we are static, we do it in rhythm. “
What allows the Cameroonian pivot to find such good passes, which offer easy baskets to his teammates near the circle, is the “dunker spot” of the Sixers. That is, this baseline position, between the basket and the 3-point line. It was important for the Bucks last season, in order to relieve Giannis Antetokounmpo against the wall that often presented itself in front of him.
And this is an excellent solution to play behind the back of a defense and thus vary the offensive game, to avoid having only 3-point options, when Joel Embiid is caught in two.
“All the players evolve at this” dunker spot “”, advert Danny Green. “Matisse Thybulle is comfortable in this position because he’s so athletic and can catch the ball and finish close to the circle. Tyrese, he’s been doing this for the first year. Playing with Embiid is not complicated. He attracts two-man catches and gives assists. “
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