Thoughts On The Sixers’ First Three Games

Positives

  • Ben Simmons has without a doubt been the brightest part of the Sixers’ first three games. Simmons has double-doubled in each match, and has also become the first player to start his first three games with 10 points, 10 rebounds, and five or more assists since Oscar Robertson.
  • Simmons has primarily stuck to driving towards the basket, rarely attempting any outside shots. The few that he has gone to have come from fairly short range, and to his credit he’s hit them. Ben is so raw right now, it’s scary to think what he’ll be able to do once he becomes more polished.
  • Jerryd Bayless has added a nice little punch to the team’s lineup. Bayless has averaged more than 15 points per game, and has hit at least two threes in each game.
  • So far, so good for J.J. Redick, who has been exactly what the Sixers have brought him in to be: an excellent shooter and veteran presence.
  • Jahlil Okafor saw his first action of the season on Saturday in Toronto, and delivered a pretty solid showing, with 10 points, nine boards, and two blocks against the Raptors. Okafor played with a hustle that just wasn’t there last season. I’d like to see him get more time in the rotation.
  • The Sixers hung tough with two playoff teams in the Wizards and Celtics, coming very close to pulling off upsets over both teams.

Negatives

  • As a team, the Sixers are taking way too many threes. Whether its Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Robert Covington, or even T.J. McConnell, everyone on this team with the exception of Ben Simmons has been camped out beyond the arc trying to be shooters. This is something that Brett Brown has to address and fix.
  • With guys like Redick and Bayless on the team, its just not necessary for all of these guys to be shooting so many threes. Embiid and Saric in particular need to be focusing more down low. Embiid should get a certain amount of looks from long-range in each game, but it should never be his primary plan of attack, not with the other shooters that this team has on the floor. The need much more of an inside presence than what they’ve gone to in the first three.
  • Not sure if this is just me, but Embiid has looked a little slow in his first two games.
  • Markelle Fultz isn’t doing the Sixers any good in his current state. The shoulder problem that he has going on has to be addressed. Right now, Fultz doesn’t have any confidence in his outside shot. All he’s been able to do is drive to the basket, and when he’s been fouled, his current free-throw motion is about the ugliest thing you’ll ever see. Shutting him down and getting this issue corrected isn’t what the fans want, but it’s just painful to watch him play right now.
  • No one on the bench has really given this team much. Amir Johnson brings some grit to the table, but gives you very little offensively. It’s early, but Timothe Luwawu-Cabbarrot has shown very little. Richaun Holmes is really going to be a sight for sore eyes once he gets healthy.
  • The Sixers as a team were schooled and embarrassed by the battle-tested Raptors on Saturday night, being run out of the gym shortly after the start of the third quarter.

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