After a turbulent 20-21 offseason, struggling for most of the season with DPOY candidates on the sidelines, it finally revealed a new situation with the bell of peace in Philadelphia.
After The Process came to an end with the departure of Fultz and Simmons, Philadelphia had no excuse to stand still. When the curtain called the process is lifted, the Seventy Sixers must also face up to the distance between them and the East Crown that once shattered the frame.
After a tumultuous 20-21 offseason that struggled on the sidelines of DPOY candidates for much of the season, it finally revealed a fresh look at the Philadelphia Peace Bell.
With Fultz and Simmons gone, the whole process came to an end, and there was no reason for Philly to stand still. When the prologue to the title process comes to an end, the Seventies must also face up to the distance between them and the Eastern Crown who once broke the frame.
Regular season record
- Before Harden: 35-23, seventh in the league
- With Harden: 15-8, ninth in the league
Especially when the Sevens or Sixers record is split in two, no doubt because of that earth-shattering deal. At the start of the season, Maxey's performance was hot, once topping the Eastern Conference leader.
In the middle, Harris, Embiid and others fell in the rankings due to insufficient available troops due to the isolation of the epidemic. It was not until the end of November that the two gradually returned to the team. stable record. The 76ers lost their trusted Curry and Drummond rotations to the trades in the second half of the season, but they also got the ideal perimeter possession while solving the problem.
The qualitative change Harden brought to the team, which has been mentioned in previous articles, has also greatly changed the offensive pattern of the entire team. That said, its reference value will drop significantly before the All-Star Game against Philadelphia.
Team strengths and weaknesses (statistics until April 6, 2022)
Advantage 1: Free throw maker
Although the regular season averaged only 19.5 fouls per game, ranking 19th in the league, but the average number of free throws per game ranked third in the league with 23.8, ranking first in the playoffs. Some people might think that whistle blowing standards in the playoffs will become stricter and free throws may be useless.
But judging from the data from last year’s playoffs, Embiid still averaged 10 free throws per game, while Harden made 7, and his scoring was quite stable. Among the players who averaged more than 4 singles per game in the league, the Philadelphia Twins had foul rates of 28.6 percent and 16.6 percent, ranking among the top five in the league.
Harden has benefited from the magic ball theory of 3-pointers and free throws. With an average of 2 free throws every 4 rounds, and the league’s first 7.4 singles, he paid an outrageous efficiency value of PR90.8. Not only is fouling an effective way to score, but it can also disrupt opponents’ lineups.
While it’s a matter of opinion whether relying on free throws is good or bad, this Philly-specific weapon does give opponents a lot of trouble on a regular basis.
Advantage 2: Comprehensive and stable first-mover strength
Perhaps because of the relationship between the center and the team, Philadelphia’s lineup is a bit more advanced than the current flanking sea league, but this position is selected temporarily.
With Embiid’s ability to cope this season, there are more options to partner with top ball-handler Harden. You can play short pick-and-rolls and have Embiid find a weak-side shooter to shoot, or draw the defense’s attention and give a 45-degree cut.
When it comes to touch points, it is natural to mention Maxi, who is extremely destructive and has the ability to drop three points this year. From 54.5% of non-assist shots before the All-Star Game to only 32.4% of long-term shots after the All-Star Game, Maxi’s suitability as a catch point is fully demonstrated, and his keen sense of space on the court also allows him to shoot frequently.
Now requires shooter Step In C&S position hits. Behind these excellent physical players, there are Harris, who continues to play steadily, and Thybull, who has won the Defensive Team of the Year affirmation. Take a look at the table below to see how powerful this group of starters is:
With the Celtics' time lords deciding not to play in the first round due to a torn meniscus, Philadelphia's starting five were the best group to perform in the second half of the season.
Harden switched defenses in the frontcourt to keep Embiid in the penalty area; on the offensive end, Thybull, who had been difficult to achieve before, could participate by covering or emptying the knife. In a system where everyone can play, the first is the no-worry part.
Disadvantage 1: Single-function and weak substitute group
Behind the healthy starters who perform their respective duties, what is sacrificed is the reserve team that can stabilize and make up for losses.
After all, with the Harden trade, Philadelphia sent two rotation players who could play a combined 48 minutes. From the data point of view, after the All-Star Game, Philadelphia ranked second to last in the league in minutes played off the bench, with a score of 24.7 points at the league’s melting pot master level, behind the Eastern Conference leader Heat by 23 points.
Of course, the score on the bench does not directly reflect the strength of a team in a game, but in a series of continuous and intense collisions, whether a team can make a different rotation list for injuries is the key. The key to determining whether a team is competent. play in the game.
An important factor in how far a team's primary lead can go.
Expand the Philadelphia bench list: Green, who has fallen sharply in defensive lateral movement, Niang, who has played a career for a year but still has a single function, was abandoned by the Nets and the Lakers and transferred to the 76ers. DAJ, and he has just renewed his contract and entered his career trough.
Korkmaz, compared to the solid bench of other early teams (the Bucks at least have the righteous Portis), is really inferior.
And Milton, a relatively formidable ball-handler, recently joined Harden as a corner shooter under Rivers, which reduces the firepower he can provide.
Despite attempts to play Maxi and Milton at the same time in the final few games of the season, evenly splitting the possession work, it remains to be questioned whether the same pattern can be maintained in the playoffs.
Philly’s lack of backup depth may not be a big deal under an old and conservative schedule, but combined with the rich injury histories of the two main players, it will be the key to deciding whether to go out early this season.
Disadvantage 2: Unable to punish the double main players who switch infinitely
From March 20 to April 7, Philadelphia lost a total of five games against the Raptors, Pistons, Suns and Bucks by less than 10 points each.
Judging from the content of the game, these games do have a chance to win, but there is always a lack of shot opportunities at critical moments. The common feature of these teams is that they all have the capital to switch defenses.
In fact, statistically speaking, Philadelphia’s clutch-era net-gaining (NETRTG) after the All-Star Game ranks 8th in the league, but only has a 7-6 record. It’s not hard to see that there are definitely problems with the content of the game.
And Harden’s declining explosiveness and preemption are important factors that are always associated with Philly when facing opponents who can switch defenses in key possessions. From the game against the Pistons (3/31), we can see the mystery.
Perhaps because of the team in the squad, Rivers changed his winning approach to using Harden as the playmaker and instead used a lot of screens to complement Isiah Stewart and Harden, hoping to build a beard by hitting a beard. Offensive confidence is small – but the result is a clear failure.
After a few rounds of correcting his position, Harden not only failed to pass the ball smoothly, but also failed to hit the iconic step-back three-pointer.
In situations where referees are usually demanding in crunch time, the buyout is often a malfunctioning technique, and Harden’s isolation efficiency is greatly compromised.
In the crucial round between the Raptors and the Raptors, Harden was also difficult to attack under the leadership of the active Aqiuwa, and had to choose to cut in and fall into the trap set by Siakam.
Among the potential opponents in the Eastern Division, except that the Bulls do not have the cost of forced switching, each team is a strong team with strong defensive discipline and sufficient frontline reserves, which will be a headache for Philadelphia and will be difficult to solve in the short term.
While Harden’s shooting percentage against forwards is the highest relative to any other position this season, it’s only 41.8 percent. Although Embiid’s ball-handling ability has improved significantly, Jokic’s center handles every key in the post.
It’s hard not to miss the ball. In my opinion, maybe Harden and Embiid run the pick-and-roll in crunch time and then pass the ball to Harris or Maxey to finish, which would be a better option – ironic indeed.
Battle Analysis: VS. Toronto Raptors
- Post-Star Game results: 0 wins, 2 losses
Although they defended successfully late in the regular season and retained home-court advantage in the first round, they still had to face their toughest opponent, the Toronto Raptors.
The offense isn’t the same as the Sixers who are used to positional play through the pick-and-roll or the post. The T-Rex, the second-leading offensive rebounder in the league, is used to it
to using quick offense-defense transitions as a starting point, and the attack modes of Transition and Put Back dominate the game. 25%, although the efficiency is not very ideal, but there can be a lot of points in
the quantity instead of quality. What’s more, Philadelphia’s fast-break defense is limited by the fact that top defender Embiid is difficult to quickly return to defense, and its PR value ranks third in the league. . In addition, the Tyrannosaurus is also very good at promoting early attacks, making it difficult for opponents to place their defenses as originally planned, thereby creating opportunities for dislocation attacks. On the premise that Siakam has the ability in the middle distance (the data hit rate is only 34%), he can find
Quantity rather than quality.
What’s more, Philadelphia’s fast-break defense is limited by top guard Embiid’s difficulty in quickly returning to defense, and the PR value ranks third in the league. . In addition, T-Rex is also very good at promoting early attacks, making it difficult for opponents to deploy defenses as originally planned, thereby creating opportunities for dislocation attacks.
On the premise of Siakam’s mid-range ability (the data hit rate is only 34%), he can find Embiid to fire from the mid-to-long range in the early offense,
Or use the conduction ability developed this season to wait for teammates to create space by running off the ball,
Then it spread to the already leaky Philadelphia restricted area. In short, the Raptors’ offensive model hit a sore spot in Philadelphia’s defense.
As an opponent who hated key steps of the process from the start, Coach Nurse took good care of the Sixers on the defensive end.
All rotations are above 6-foot-7 except for Vanvleet and GTJ. They have excellent defensive discipline. They can double-team and make mistakes in real time. impressive.
The characteristics of the lineup that can switch defenses frequently also make them less vulnerable to being attacked by dislocation. Even if it does happen, they can minimize damage by double-teaming.
Under the open strategy, Embiid’s isolation space will no longer be able to find one-on-one opportunities with other teams.
Harris will also be difficult to use as all opponents are similar to him and the offense has been lacklustre this season. Harden was even worse at the end of the game (16 on average over the two games).
And against the Raptors, there is a huge disadvantage that other opponents don’t have – Thybulle can’t play on the road. Due to Canada’s vaccine policy, two or one doses of Johnson & Johnson’s vaccine must be given 14 days before entry, and the fight in Toronto on April 7, US time, exposed the reality that Sable was not vaccinated.
According to the latest report from Shams, Thybulle does not appear to have been vaccinated, and it has been confirmed that he will be absent from G3 and G4 at the Air Canada Centre.
As the team’s best off-ball defender, Thybulle could give GTJ and VanVleet a lot of restraint, and Trent’s two games after the All-Star break were starkly different due to a lack of league-defensive-caliber players.
Without the top and backcourt locks, there is only Maxi, who is clingy on defense but easy to be deceived. Facing the old Jianghu VanVleet, it cast a greater shadow on Philadelphia’s chance of winning the championship.
Of course, Dr. Rivers actually made some tweaks to the rotation, including putting Green back in the starting lineup, filling in where Thybulle was unavailable, and using his body to match Thybulle.
Reed, who fought the frontline, was not a tall but relatively slow, distracted DAJ. It can be seen that Lao He, who is not good at instant reaction, is well prepared, but the road ahead is still long and unknown.
Key to promotion: Harden’s drop-back 3-pointer
With the relative stability of Harris, Embiid, Maxey and others, I believe a large part of the outcome will depend on Harden’s output beyond the free throw line.
Although from the game data alone, Harden’s three-point shooting rate did not have much impact on Philadelphia’s winning rate, but in the playoffs that often rely on the ability of stars, compared to Embiid, it can be launched from the outside. Break out of the box. Trimming the extreme beard will be the key to the game.
And in the case where the first step has lost the threat, the confidence of retreating three points will further determine Harden’s ability to intervene in defense – after all, the mid-range beard fighting ability is unqualified.
Looking at the gap between Harden’s three-point shooting this season and the playoffs, most of them will drop by about 4 percentage points on the number of shots that are not far behind.
The second shot), and in last season’s formation with a wide offensive space, the Nets also gave a good performance of 36.4%. I think as long as Harden can hit at least 2 3-pointers per game at 35 percent, it will lay a solid foundation for the 76ers to advance.
First-round result prediction: 3:4 Tyrannosaurus advance
Judging from the current situation of the two teams, the results, and the composition of the team, it is difficult not to make predictions about the promotion of the Tyrannosaurus Rex.
After all, the Raptors have a way to punish the Sixers for their defensive disadvantage, and the Raptors’ defense can magnify Philadelphia’s offensive disadvantage.
That, combined with Thybulle's ability to miss away games, will tilt the winning balance even further.
Of course, if Harden can regain his offensive skills beyond the free-throw line and achieve the goals I set for him above, he’ll be the first in the series to win two at home and then go on a series-win streak.
And the above is indeed not a fool's dream.
When the prologue is called the end of the process, Philly has run out of opportunities to make excuses, the encounter with new friends and the city of love is short-lived, but I hope he doesn't shake his level of confidence so that the grand finale doesn't end in tragedy.
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