This Part 4 in a series, following up on my earlier posts following the style of play development of one Joel Hans Embiid.
RISKY STYLE SERIES LINKS
- Embiid's Risky" style
- Embiid's (less) Risky Style and Progress
- Embiid's (less) Risky Style: Part 3, Free the 3 pointer
- Embiid's (less) Risky Style: Part 4, For Ben's sake, free the the 3
In "Embiid's (less) Risky Style: Part 3, Free the 3 pointer" I suggested that the 3 point shot might not be something to discourage Embiid from taking as much. Maybe the 3 pointer reduces the number of more injury prone plays that Joel Embiid takes and the pounding he takes with a larger number of inside plays.
In this post I'm also suggesting what Joel Embiid himself has now alluded to, that more 3's in his mix of plays might be better for his co-star Ben Simmons.
In "Embiid's Risky" style I focused on Embiid and the Sixers reducing the injury risk for the big man by developing a style of play with less high risk motions and moves.
In Embiid's (less) Risky Style and Progress I observed how Embiid HAS modified and is modifying the all out high risk style of play we saw in his rookie 31 game season and at the start of this season. He seems to be playing more controlled and pacing himself better and starting to develop a bit of a pattern to his inside game.
So now, the latest news is that it seems the Sixers might have to choose between Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons in order to maximize their roster talent. Joel Embiid has been out with a hand, finger injury and Ben Simmons has emerged as a much better used player taking over the inside scoring opportunities vacated by the big Cameroonian.
Ben Fresh Prince Simmons looks like even without shooting jumpers, he can be a pretty dominant force going to the basket if the spacing is there to keep the defense from walling off the paint against him. Now Ben the Sixers were able to display this effectively while dismantling the mighty Lakers on national TV! Soooo, the suggestion is starting to circulate that one of these 2 may have to be traded since Ben still won't take shots outside of the close to the basket variety and Embiid clogs that up for Ben since Joel also is such a dominant force inside.
I think its safe to say what most Sixers fans want is not Simmons OR Embiid but Simmons AND Embiid. What we hope anyway, as Philly fans that cheered on through The Process, is that these guys that came from the The Process produce a great contender with at least one if not a few NBA championships.
Is a solution possible without trading one of the TWO major rewards of The Process?
I'm on record as not wanting to trade either guy. Hold on to the TWO perennial All Star talents that YOU drafted. That gets you the most advantages under the current CBA. The CBA is designed to help teams out with salary cap advantages if they keep their own players and especially if they keep the players that they themselves drafted. This is a great response I think to providing some balance in the Lebron-James-players-choose-your-own-city-build-your-own-team NBA vs the Tim Duncan, Dirk Nowitzki stay with your city and your fans for life approach.
So ideally you keep your own drafted stars. You can pay them the most and you win championships.
Now that might not work, since its up to the player. If the Fresh Prince decides later he wants to follow the King to Hollywood, you may just need to plan for that in advance so you can get something back for him.
For now, the Sixers should want to maximize this youthful prime of both All Stars. Then if the franchise can't resign one later, they make sure they get something back for them before one or both of them bolt. New Orleans and Anthony Davis is a nice recent example. In the meantime over in the Attic Grandma has this quote from the media.
Over the entire season, Simmons has averaged more points, rebounds and assists per possession when he’s on the floor without Embiid. This goes beyond the numbers, though. It may be just as much about how it looks. When Simmons plays with a spread floor and has only one man to beat, he’s borderline unstoppable. Danny Green, Anthony Davis, Rajon Rondo and others all had turns on Saturday. The Lakers in general looked helpless.
To this point it looks like Ben Simmons can play like a winning monster without Embiid and Embiid can play like a monster without Simmons (Simmons did miss a year while Embiid played) but the team doesn't win nearly as much with both guys trying to be monsters together.
Solution #1 I've harped on endlessly. Simmons shoots, develops a jumper and improved FT%, preferably with his dominant hand but we'll live with a meh lefty jumper if he refuses to switch.
Solution #2 That's what this post is about. Embiid channels his inner Dirk and out Lopezes Brook Lopez playing more outside in than his preferred inside out.
Its hard to accept this with such a dominant inside force as Embiid but he has displayed some talent to be a combination of Dirk Nowitzki and Tim Duncan. Embiid is thought to be a bad 3 point shooter on percentage but part of that may well be his mindset. He's told to go to the post. He's not working on stretch 5 focus. He's taking 3's more as a last resort and he OMG faking the jumper way too often, getting worse shot or turnover when he could just take a wide open 3 and focus on draining it. He's taking distracted 3's, where he's hesitant instead of just taking 3's when they're wide open and the time on the clock, play call, makes sense.
In other words, Brook Lopez set the example. Brook was an All Star as a POST player. He still has a post game but he did a 180 switch to become more of a stretch 5. So now, his game works with Giannis. Giannis is the example many are using for where Ben Simmons should take his cue. Ben should shoot more like Giannis is continuing to work on and progress on but at the same time Giannis is surrounded with shooters and scorers including his center Brook Lopez, formerly a post center.
Lopez adjusted his game and still plays like an offensive star as a center in the modern NBA. Embiid has the talent to be flexible and do the same. It may actually be better for him anyway if his mix of shots includes more 3's to get his scoring numbers.
Wow. Embiid gets his scoring numbers making SIX 3 pointers in getting them. That's the inner Dirk. Now it looks like Embiid himself is starting to think this may be part of the Solution for the Ben/Joel together dilemma. With the national media crew suggesting the two of these guys together isn't working and asking Joel himself what he thinks, Embiid says they can work it out and it may mean he has to take more 3's. I've suggested that for a long time but maybe Joel is catching up with me now.
So what do ya think? Ben isn't shooting outside any time soon so should Joel develop his stretch 5 game more and become one of the spacers for Simmons or do the Sixers need to trade one of their Process Stars?