Roster sizes have increased to 17 players for the return of the season in Orlando, and the Philadelphia 76ers have signed 6’6” Australian wing Ryan Broekhoff for the remainder of the season. As the Sixers only had one player (Marial Shayok) on a two-way deal, they were able to sign one more player as a substitute for the second, unused two-way spot (providing they had three or fewer years of NBA experience).
No signings that take place right now are going to be game-changing. Players are primarily being signed to help teams round out their rosters and provide extra depth if others opt out of playing in Orlando or test positive for the coronavirus.
Nevertheless, Broekhoff’s skill set is a useful one for a team like the Sixers. And at the very least, he’s a pretty good pickup at this point of this bizarre season, with a chance to earn a few minutes.
So, what can he do at both ends of the floor?
Offensively, Broekhoff is extremely limited. In his two seasons in the NBA with the Dallas Mavericks (59 games and 633 total minutes), 77.8 percent of his shots have come from beyond the three-point line, with 12.4 percent coming within 3 feet. He has very little to offer in terms of creation off the dribble or attacking the basket on drives. Outside of his three-point shooting, most of his other baskets will come from cuts. And while he has solid awareness, IQ and accuracy for making basic passing reads to hit open teammates, he won’t offer much in the playmaking department with his limits as a ballhandler.
However, Broekhoff is legitimately good it comes to his jump shot. While the sample size of his shooting in the NBA is small, he’s been highly efficient — he’s shooting 40.3 percent from three on 144 total attempts through two seasons. When tracking back a bit further, though, his efficiency is still excellent. Broekhoff shot 40.8 percent on 618 total three-point attempts during his four years in college at Valparaiso. And in five international seasons from 2013 to 2018, he shot 44.4 percent from three on 446 total attempts.
Broekhoff has a fairly quick, high, consistent release. He doesn’t hesitate to fire when spotting up in space, or when taking the ball from a dribble hand-off or attempting more contested looks.
One key attribute that will help him compete for minutes is his ability to shoot off movement, which is something the Sixers desperately need more of. Broekhoff is comfortable gathering the ball and getting set quickly on the move, and he can be used to shoot off screens. And again, he doesn’t hesitate when he gets an opening.
Broekhoff has his limitations on defense, too. He doesn’t have a great first step or acceleration, which can give opponents opportunities to beat him off the bounce if he’s too slow to twist his hips and change direction. He isn’t strong either. With his slender build, more physical wings can give him trouble when attacking downhill.
That said, Broekhoff’s quicker than some give him credit for. You can see him slide his feet well here to shift back and cut off Miles Bridges’ drive, before making a clean jab at the ball to get a steal:
Or here, as Broekhoff hurries backwards, hangs with James Harden rumbling down the lane, and uses his length to pick up a block:
Even though Broekhoff isn’t explosive in passing lanes and doesn’t generate many steals (1.3 per 36 minutes internationally, and just 0.6 per 36 minutes in the NBA so far), plays like the following help demonstrate his length and understanding of where to be. In the first play he read’s Jeremy Lamb’s cut, sticks with him across the lane, and intercepts the bounce pass. In the second play, Broekhoff again uses his length and extends well around the screen to break up the pass:
He generally works hard too, whether he’s applying extra help defense inside, rotating well, closing out on shooters, or executing timely switches.
Take the following possession. Broekhoff is moving constantly. He picks up Harden on the initial switch from the ball screen, sprints over to PJ Tucker in the weak-side corner to prevent an open three, hangs with Tucker’s drive, switches over to Danuel House in the opposite corner, and finishes off the possession with a good shot contest:
With Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson and Matisse Thybulle to manage all top perimeter assignments, it’s not like Broekhoff is ever going to be tasked with overly tough matchups. In a low-usage, low-minute role whenever he gets on the floor, he should be able to hold up fine on defense.
First and foremost, Broekhoff will get minutes for his shooting. All he needs to do is keep firing without hesitation when spotting up, and utilize his touch for shooting off screens and off movement.
Of course, Broekhoff won’t be contributing much. But he’s a better (and more confident) shooter than most wings on the team and those further down the rotation. As an extra depth piece at the end of the bench, who can compete with lower rotation players like Glenn Robinson III for minutes, Broekhoff is a solid acquisition for the return of the season.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com.