Let’s get some stuff out the way real quick;
- The NBA is back
- The 76ers played a game
- it was ONLY scrimmage
- It was against the young Memphis Grizzlies
- They looked GOOD!
- They won 90 – 83
- Ben Simmons shot 2 3’s and made 1
Now that’s out of the way, let’s have some fun and talk about the game. I could recap the game, tell you they were up 26 at half, the Grizzlies made a run in the second half, Joel Embiid didn’t play the second half, blah blah blah. Ultimately, it was a scrimmage and I am going to look at it as we would watch tapes of scrimmages back in my playing days.
I am not going to focus on stats like Shake Milton having 6 points 3 assists, and only 1 turnover. I am not going to focus on the 7 steals the Sixers had, or the massive lead they built up in the first half. I don’t even care about the 15 points 10 rebounds for Tobias Harris. I am not even going to care about Matisse Thybulle posterizig Jaren Jackson JR, ok maybe I am going to care about that one!
Instead on focusing on normal game recap stuff, I am going to treat this as a film session, like the kind we had when I played college ball, Junior College ball, but still college. So, let’s look at some stuff that happened in the game today!
Brett Brown has talked a bunch about a line up that he wants to use come playoff time. It’s a pace and space line up with Ben Simmons as the ball handler, meant to push the pace off a miss, and get quick high percentage shots. I recently wrote about this line up and the minutes they played together during the season, you can read it HERE. But how did it look today? Well, you be the judge:
When I talk about pace, and what I believe the Sixers want to do, it is not just fast break, it is ball movement, and moving off the ball, cutting and screening. The design is to get players into positions for easy points, either it being dunks or corner threes like we saw Matisse do here. Expect to see much more of this in Orlando.
If I didn’t mention it yet, Ben shot a couple threes and made one. Watching the game it was refreshing to see Simmons, with no hesitation, fire a three. Even more refreshing was that even when he missed his first one, he didn’t shy away, and took and made another one.
Off a missed shot, Ben is able to run down the court get in his spot in the corner. The Sixers’ ability to have multiple players push the ball up the court is a huge advantage. Embiid sees Simmons in the corner and doesn’t hesitate to pass him the ball. This is where my favorite part of this play happens, and it’s not Ben shooting. Simmons is such a smart basketball player, he see the defender flat footed with no intention to come play him, so he shoots. If the defender was running towards him, he pump fakes and goes, then it’s an easy dunk, or dish to the open man. He even follows his miss, basketball 101.
And now of course the make!
When the shot comes, and it’s coming, defenses aren’t going to be able to guard him at all, and that should be scary for other teams.
Here is more of the pace the Sixers want to run, and something that they will benefit off of it by using Ben’s passing ability to their advantage.
Off the miss, Simmons gets the outlet pass and sees GRIII leaking, launches a decent full court pass, getting Robinson an easy dunk. The pass wasn’t perfect but Ben has that ability to make that pass. Easy high percentage shots.
The 76ers return did not disappoint. In fact I was pleasantly surprised, they looked energized. Shake, who I personally believe is a huge factor into this teams success, looked poised and under control. Ben shot the ball. Joel did some work in the limited time he played. And guys like Glenn Robinson, who had trouble finding his role, seems to be getting settled in.
This Sixers team is one of the deepest and most talented we have had in the city for quite some time. The break really may have benefited them. The team is focused and playing loose and fun. The other teams in the bubble should be a little concerned because they look like a team that is starting to put some stuff together. Again, just a scrimmage but….. HERE THEY COME!
Their next exibition game is Sunday afternoon at 12 on NBCSP+ vs OKC Thunder.
Also, Happy Birthday Furkan