The Sixers are experimenting with a three-back system
After another terrible Joel Embiid, the Sixers rattled off their 10th straight home win over the Pelicans on Monday night. A feat that allows you to see the five of three defenders at work during the match, especially.
Since the arrival of De’Anthony Melton, the question has often arisen: Should we match three backs in Philadelphia? D’Anthony Melton’s versatility and defense combined with James Harden’s playmaking ability and Tyrese Maxey’s speed/shooting combination made him a viable option. Not forgetting Joker Shake Milton.
Also, Doc Rivers hasn’t had the opportunity to put those three elements together due to injuries to James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. Finally, the arrival of the Pelicans allowed this configuration to be tested. As a testament to that, PJ Tucker played just 18 minutes against New Orleans, allowing the practice with three defenses.
“It’s a line we can use because it allows us to increase the tempo” Doc Rivers explained. “When Joel is on the field, we appreciate it more because it gives us three defenders who can play pick-and-rolls with Jo. “We have two quick defenders who can create something if they help.”
An effective system in attack
Recently, Shake Milton has been used alongside James Harden and De’Anthony Melton and has been effective at +17.7 points per 100 possessions, albeit in limited minutes.
Tyrese Maxey’s return offers other solutions, as we saw against the Pelicans. When Herb Jones didn’t release James Harden, the Sixers found themselves in a scenario where CJ McCollum moved to guard Joel Embiid. That gave James Harden the luxury of playing a key role for his height and weight advantage, while also being able to compete with Tyrese Maxey (41% on 3-pointers this season) or De’Anthony Melton (40%). Nice variety of offensive options for this back three system on the Sixers.
“With this system, we have to do a very good job of rebounding. I think we did it tonight.” James Harden insists. “The more opportunity we have to fine-tune this structure, the better it is for us.”
If anyone is benefiting from this new back three setup, it’s Joel Embiid. The Sixers All-Star center had 42 points and 11 rebounds against the Pelicans.
“They will definitely make my life easier” the king was happy. “You have three very good shooters, you have a great creator with James and everybody knows what to do defensively.”
Defensively, there were some collective and individual lapses in the final five minutes, most notably Tyrese Maxey, who left Trey Murphy open for a 3-pointer. Doc Rivers attributed it to a lack of pace after several weeks of running. Nevertheless, the weak point of the formula with three “minors” will remain defense and rebounding, but Doc Rivers will always have PJ Tucker in reserve.
|Players||GM||Minimum||Shots||3 points||LF||Turn off||Def||Early||p.d||bp||Int||CT||party||Points|
|Furkan is not afraid||20||11.5||39.1||32.4||66.7||0.3||1.2||1.4||0.9||0.7||0.3||0.2||0.5||4.2|
|Paul Reed, Jr.||30||9.5||53.6||0.0||66.7||1.1||2.0||3.1||0.4||0.6||0.7||0.6||2.0||2.7|
|Michael Foster, Jr.||1||1.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0||0.0|