Tonight the Sixers will go into Detroit and will be without Joel Embiid. Thinking this may happen a few more times this season, I thought I’d re watch and throw some videos up of how they played when Joel wasn’t in the game the other night.
Before I begin, please excuse any little voices or cries in the background of my videos. I am home with both kids today. I am still trying to learn how to get the game on my computer and take clips from there rather than my phone. So bear with me in the mean time as i tried to teach my old self some new tricks.
This team is built for Joel to miss a few games. And against a team without Blake Griffin I don’t think it will hurt the Sixers too bad. But I think you’ll see a little different style of play.
First things first, without Joel, Ben needs to continue to dominate and attack. There is nobody on the Pistons that can guard him. Especially when he attacks down hill on the break.
Let’s look back at some of the Sixers offense when Joel was off the court.
This is what I would expect a lot of from Ben tonight. Whether he gets the rebound and runs or another player gets the rebound, like we see Ennis here do, and a quick outlet to Ben for a foul or an easy bucket. I would have liked to see Ben take maybe one more dribble and attack the rim, but using the euro took away the defenders ability to try and take a charge.
Here we can see the offense run without Joel. Off a made shot, you see Ben bring the ball up, and immediately hit the post knowing he has a mismatch against Hayward. Ben actually gets decent position but Hayward is able to move him a little. I don’t know who will be guarding Ben for the Pistons but unless it’s Drummond, not many other guys they have will be big enough to move him. I like Ben in the post because his passing ability translates to anywhere on the court. You can see Al start to slip out to a sideline 3 but his man still needs to play off because if Ben gets passed Gordon it’s an easy bucket. Meanwhile Harris’ man is distracted by Ben too, so when Harris can move off ball it creates enough separation for an open look, he will hit that in the future. One thing, I’d like to see is Harris going the opposite way his defender is looking. This would create a few extra seconds because the defender has to turn around.
I like this play, and I am curious to see if this is a standard set without Joel in the game. Bringing Horford up the high post, to a hand off where Horford roles. It looks like Horford then goes and screens Harris’ man. Ennis knows that he will be open. Again I believe Harris’ will begin to hit these. Remember it was the 1st quarter of the first game, it will take some time to get in a rhythm. There should be a bunch of options come out of this too if Harris isn’t open. They could have Al in good position down low, Ben on the baseline (maybe a 3) or a cut to the basket. The shot didn’t go in but the execution was on point. Harris shot will start to fall.
This was going to be my favorite play of the game if it went in. The Wells Fargo would have absolutely erupted. Again off the miss, quick outlet to Ben and everyone running down hill. Ben’s vision is so good he could see the Celtic defenders back peddling, they basically had 4 dudes in the paint, mainly for the threat of Ben’ drive, and the trailer had to make a decision between Going to Thybulle or going to Harris, and then Ben just finds the open man for a 3. Hopefully, Thybulle can hit that shot, and when he does, if the Sixers are home, the crowd’s reaction may knock down the Wells Fargo down.
Tonight and games without Embiid, I think we should see a lot more stuff like this. I believe (for no good reason other than hope) that the open shots will fall. As far as tonight my guess is it’s going to be the BEN and TOBI show. No one on Detroit can guard Ben. As long as he comes out with the determination to impose his will, no one can stop him. As far as Tobi, I like him getting his shot back a little here. More shots for him with the absence of Joel, and he was a player here. For half a season, this arena was his home. He shot 40% from 3 during that stretch. I think he will get on track tonight, knock down some early shots and get hot in his old home.
Elton did a great job to build this team to be able to still win without Joel. Even last season with an improved roster they made games without Embiid against weaker teams a stressful fight. They have the ability this year to lose Joel for a game and hopefully still be able to handle lesser teams like Detroit easily. Also helps that Blake isn’t playing.
I used to hate when Joel wasn’t playing, felt like the games were boring and we didn’t have a guy who can take over and carry the team. This year with this team I believe Ben is that guy. They have so much more support around him without Joel this year, and I’m on record thinking Simmons takes a leap this year. It’s the perfect combination.