The Philadelphia 76ers thrive on pushing the ball in transition and getting easy buckets for their shooters on the perimeter. They’ve had a ton of success in that department in the 2020-21 season on their way to becoming the top team in the East, but not as much in 2021-22.
By basketball reference, the Sixers are 28th in the league in terms of pace, 95.7. One big reason is the absence of Ben Simmons. But another reason is that they find it difficult to end their defensive possessions with a rebound.
Also in reference to basketball, the Sixers are bottom in the league for rebounds (42.1 per game). They are 22nd in defensive rebounds per game (33.8).
“I think you are doing it as a collective unit,” said Georges Niang. “I think we had some timely rebounds in the Brooklyn game. Obviously we’ve struggled with this, and it’s something that we continue to address, but it will have to be a collective unit every night. It’s on the big guys, or the 4, it’s on the five of us who shoot, box and chase the rebound. I think these are multiple efforts, especially on the defensive boards.
Guys like Niang, Seth Curry, Tyrese Maxey, and Furkan Korkmaz have to get their noses dirty getting into the paint job and helping Joel Embiid complete those defensive possessions. This would allow the Sixers to get out and run and enjoy the athletes and shooters they have available.
“I’m going to play for some of them first, but most of all I think you have to be stronger and not get beaten,” said interim head coach Dan Burke. “Once you got beaten you created a scramble situation and now it’s hard to put bodies on bodies. If you limit the rotations and we can control the ball first, do that first help and don’t need a second or third help, it’s easier to box.
Burke makes a good point. To grab a rebound and gain additional possessions, a player must be solid in his techniques.
In their victory over the Houston Rockets on Monday, the Sixers won the rebound battle 54-42, and that was a big reason they finished the job. There wasn’t a lot of scrambling, and even Korkmaz had 11 rebounds alongside Embiid’s 15 to help Philadelphia.
“If you’re just flying you’re not going to hit the bodies, and with teams like that, everyone crashes,” Burke added. “Guys are cutting from the corner, they are cutting from the top, and we have to do a better job.”
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