In the summer of 2023, Joel Embiid’s trainer Hanlon revealed that one of Embiid’s offseason training focuses is organizational ability . It seems that Embiid regards Jokic as the benchmark.
Let Embiid, who has averaged 3.5 assists but 3.4 turnovers per game in his career, become a playmaking center? Hanlon’s idea sounded unrealistic. But at the beginning of the new season, Embiid seemed to be like that. He averaged 7 assists per game, far exceeding the 4.2 assists per game in the past two seasons. Jokic averaged 7.4 assists per game, and Embiid significantly narrowed the gap between the two in assist data.
Has Embiid’s passing ability improved? After the games are played one month before the season and the sample is large enough, it is better to observe the phenomenon but not to draw conclusions. The current phenomenon that Embiid and the 76ers are showing is that after Nurse took office and James Harden left the team, the 76ers’ offensive system has undergone tremendous changes.
After the 76ers lost in the Eastern Conference semifinals last season, Rivers was fired. After Nurse took office, Embiid stated in his first communication with the new coach that he didn’t care about personal data, especially scoring, and he just wanted to play “beautiful basketball.” Anyway, he has experienced the feeling of winning the scoring title, and now he wants to experience the feeling of winning the championship even more.
What is “wonderful basketball that can win”?
Embid’s definition is: “Beautiful basketball means cutting and constantly moving. Everyone has to play without the ball and move the ball.” When the ball is moved, the ball cannot be stagnant. We have to unite and play as a whole.”
Embid can figure this out on his own It shows that he has come to his senses. Last season, Embiid’s style of frequently taking the ball in isolation from beyond the three-point line was criticized by countless people. He is obviously born with a center body, but he wants to be a large shooting guard.
Embid’s new concept coincides with Nurse’s concept. In the Rivers era, the 76ers’ offense was mainly based on pick-and-rolls and singles. Role players were generally reduced to fixed-point shooters, and the ball was too concentrated in Embiid. In the hands of Germany and Harden. In Rivers’ system, Embiid won the scoring title and Harden won the assists title. However, the role players had great opinions. For example, Danuel House complained: “River To put it bluntly, Sri Lanka’s system is two core players who dominate the ball. ”
Last season, the 76ers ranked second in the league in isolations 12.5 times per 100 possessions, and ranked fourth in the league in low post offense 5.9 times per 100 possessions. The 76ers only ranked 27th in the 15.4 pick-and-roll ball-handling offenses per 100 possessions. However, if you include the fixed-point shooting created by the pick-and-roll and the pick-and-roll ball-handling offense, the pick-and-roll plays an important role in the 76ers’ offensive system. It accounts for a very high proportion.
When your team has two big-name stars, there is nothing wrong with giving them the ball. The problem is that River Si did not design too many off-ball tactics around the two of them. How thin is the 76ers’ off-ball offense? The frequency of air cuts ranks third from the bottom, and the frequency of hand-to-hand attacks ranks second from the bottom. Harden, Embiid When getting the ball, other players usually stand still, lacking movement and cover for each other, just waiting for the core player to feed one.
Assuming Harden did not fall out with management , Nurse’s system will definitely have a lot of pick-and-rolls around Harden, and he will only fine-tune the system. When Harden leaves, Nurse simply rebuilds the system. Under the new system, the 76ers will not let Maxey replace Harden to launch a large number of In pick-and-rolls and singles, at this stage, the 76ers place more emphasis on using Embiid’s containment when holding the ball in the high post to play without the ball.
At a certain level, To a certain extent, Embiid has become “Looneyized”. One of Embiid’s significant changes is to reduce the free throw line elbow.Ask for the ball in the area and low post, and more often get the ball near the three-point line. Embiid has increased his awareness of serving his teammates and reduced isolation. Maxi passing around Embiid’s hand has become one of the 76ers’ usual play styles. When Embiid is covering, he sticks out his butt to create space for Maxi to catch and shoot three-pointers. After receiving the ball, he breaks through the space smoothly. It looks like Awesome Looney.
This season, Embiid’s screen assists and screen assists for teammates have greatly improved. He has become more Be willing to do the dirty work to create space for your teammates.
Correspondingly, Maxi’s number of hand-to-hand offenses per 100 possessions has skyrocketed from 1.4 times last season to 4.7 times. The 76ers ranked first in the league in the number of hand-off attacks per 100 rounds with 9.2 times. The former Kings, Warriors and Kings were all behind the 76ers in this statistic. Last season, the 76ers ranked 29th in the league with 2.9 times.
The 76ers signed Oubre with a minimum salary and the results have been excellent so far. Oubre averaged 20 points per game and hit three-pointers. The rate was 45.5%, and the performance far exceeded expectations. As a master of chaos who has never been stable in three-pointers, Oubre’s three-point shooting rate cannot be maintained, but his air cuts are already a key part of the 76ers system. Since the Warriors era, Oubre has been criticized for his poor tactical awareness and inability to run complex tactics, but Oubre’s baseline cuts that season were underestimated.
In a system with Embiid as the core, Ubre’s air-cutting threat is far greater than that of Tucker who left. In addition, Nurse set up some cross-screens around Embiid, Maxey, and Harris on the strong side to get rid of the defense and then cut through the middle. Basically, Embiid took the ball on the strong side to attract the defense, and Harris and weak players in the middle Oubre on the side baseline can provide two air-cutting threats. This season, the 76ers ranked sixth in the league with 8.6 air-cutting attacks per 100 possessions, while last season they ranked 28th with 5.5.
From the data point of view, Embiid’s ability to break double teams has always been far behind Jokic’s, but compared to 2017-18 So far this season, Embiid’s double-team breaking statistics in each season, heIn a state of progress, he reached the peak of his career last season. After an offseason of targeted training, Embiid’s passing vision and awareness seemed to have improved. He said with a smile, “Man, I can be considered a point guard now,” which made Nurse’s vision a reality.
“Nas’s system emphasizes selflessness more than Rivers’ system. We will make air cuts to create open shots for our teammates. , you can feel the difference,” House said.
After changing their style of play, the new version of the 76ers places more emphasis on counterattacks and offense without the ball. Their offensive efficiency is still among the top in the league. But can the new version of the 76ers rely on team basketball to win when they encounter a championship team with 2-3 stars? Can Maxi, who has scored most of his points so far this season from hand-offs, catch-and-shoot, and transition attacks, improve his hard-hit ability to a higher level? The most important thing is, can Embiid stay healthy and continue this personal scoring + radiating team-wide style of play?
This is not the final form of the 76ers. In the Harden trade, the 76ers exchanged draft picks and multiple puzzle pieces. It is worth paying attention to whether the players can be replaced with zero in the future. With overflow of forward resources, the 76ers should at least replace the 35-year-old Beverley with a backup point guard of sufficient weight to reduce the burden on Embiid and Maxey.