There was a lot of talk about Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris after the game one loss, but JJ Redick arguably had one of the worst performances we’ve seen from him in a Sixers uniform.
He finished 2-7 on the afternoon, 1-4 from three, and scored five points while making zero trips to the foul line and committing three turnovers. He shot 0-4 when guarded by Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell, who put him through the wringer defensively. Redick was 1-4 on contested field goals and 1-3 on uncontested field goals and logged just 22 minutes as a result of foul trouble.
Most of the Sixers’ half court stuff got Redick nothing but off-balance looks, and the first basket he made didn’t come until early in the third quarter, when the Sixers were able to get into a rare transition movement and find him on the cross-court outlet:
Believe it or not, those were two of the four transition points Philly scored in game one. For context, they scored 17.1 transition points per game at the Wells Fargo Center this season and 15 per game overall. They just could not get out and run as Brooklyn did a nice job tracking back and putting bodies in Ben Simmons’ path.
So they’re gonna have to work the half court to get Redick going, and I’m gonna steal a quote from Brett Brown dating back to the most recent Milwaukee game. He said this in regard to the Bucks sagging off Joel Embiid and inviting the three point shot, after the jump:
“…if you don’t feel comfortable, which he didn’t oftentimes there, you saw it, then play the second side. Your man is so far back. You can play the dribble-handoff game with JJ, as an example. JJ is coming into daylight, which I thought we did a pretty good job of.”
This can be applied to both Embiid and Simmons when they’re given space at the top of arc. With the aggression in which JJ was being guarded Saturday, you should be able to turn these type of looks into continuation to bring him back around and into space:
Great defense by Dinwiddie to deny that look. Ben can probably set a better screen.
What you see then, is that the backdoor cut doesn’t work, since Treveon Graham is sagging at the elbow and inviting Ben to shoot. Ben instead tries the bounce pass to a cutting Redick, but he’s just throwing it into a clogged lane, a lane created by his lack of a jump shot. If Graham is gonna do that, here’s the counter:
Just bring it back around and use that space. Play the second side.
I know a lot of people don’t like the Sixers’ hand-off heavy offense, but they scored a league-leading 1.05 points per possession on hand-off plays this regular season. That took place on 9.5 possessions per game, which was 8.2% of their total possessions, so it really was not like they were beating the Redick DHO into the ground here. They ran it less frequently than I think most people realize, as Brett worked more pick and roll and isolation into the offense to accommodate Jimmy Butler.
Individually, Redick’s hand-off numbers looked like this in the regular season:
- possessions: 5.2 per game
- frequency: 32.4% (of his individual looks)
- points per possession: 1.10
- effective field goal percentage: 56.4%
- percentile: 85th
Those are good numbers.
And the Sixers were an excellent screening team in general, scoring 1.02 points per possession off screens and finishing tied for fourth this regular season. Joel Embiid himself put up four screen assists per game (11th overall), resulting in 9.2 Sixer points each time out.
Philly showed a lot of staggered DHO to punish the Milwaukee sag, plays like this:
Brooklyn was not sitting deep with the same frequency as Milwaukee, but on those possessions where Embiid and Simmons are invited to shoot, this is the better option. Joel didn’t have his legs in game one due to the knee injury while Ben isn’t going to shoot in general.
If that’s the case, get your best sniper involved. Bring him around, throw up a screen or a staggered pair, and run Dinwiddie and Russell into two big bodies. It’s very frustrating for guards to navigate staggered screens and the Sixers oftentimes get themselves into a rhythm when JJ hits early. In game one, the Sixers only mustered two hand-off possessions in the entire game (according to NBA Stats), resulting in zero points on 0-2 shooting. Compare that to the numbers I listed above.
They really, really have to get Redick going in game two, because he’s such a liability on the defensive end that his inclusion can’t be justified if he’s not hitting his shots. That’s a captain obvious statement, for sure. The other half of it is Embiid’s availability, because he as a screener is just as important to the DHO game as the actual guy shooting the basketball.
Both of these guys need to be on their game to get this series evened up.