The Sixers had lofty expectations heading into this season. The season prior, they had come up short again due to poor roster constructions and injuries, among other factors. Newly hired President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey, did a terrific job of flipping the roster within the shortened NBA offseason — turning Al Horford and Josh Richardson into Seth Curry and Danny Green within one night.
Just a few months ago, the national stigma still hovered over the Sixers in regards to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid not being able to co-exist together. After a season with a well-fitting roster, it’s a well-known fact that both of the Sixers’ stars can not only play together, but do so in an incredible successful manner. The newfound floor spacing from the Sixers’ supporting cast has showcased and elevated Simmons and Embiid’s respective skill sets.
This season’s Sixers have proven to be the best supporting cast next to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to many extents. The first and foremost aspect that can be traced back to them is the simple skill of shooting. We knew what we were getting when the Sixers acquired Green and Curry — two players that specialized in shooting the basketball at a high level. However, you can make the case that both of these players exceeded expectations with the Sixers this season.
The duo of Danny Green and Seth Curry has provided a level of shooting and floor spacing that we simply haven’t seen in the Simmons and Embiid era. Both players managed to be high-volume shooters from the perimeter while making an average of over 40 percent of their 3s. The duo averaged north of 12 attempts per game, while hitting an average of 5.6 threes per game. That’s a pretty impressive amount of made 3s between two players.
To truly appreciate how great the Sixers’ supporting cast has been, you have to compare them to some of the team’s previous cores. When in comparison to last year’s supporting cast of Josh Richardson and Al Horford (sorry to bring them up), it isn’t even close in terms of perimeter production. Seth Curry and Danny Green simply blow away the before-mentioned duo in terms of 3-pointers made.
This season, Seth Curry and Danny Green combined to make 305 3-pointers within a 72-game season, shooting an average of 42.8 percent from behind the arc. Last season’s duo of Al Horford and Josh Richardson made just 184 threes through 73 games of the 2019-20 season, with an average of 34.5 percent shooting. Danny Green and Seth Curry not only made nearly double the amount of 3s, but did so with an incredible amount of improved efficiency.
The 2017-18 Sixers are viewed as one of the fan favorites in terms of core players, featuring homegrown talent with Dario Šarić and Robert Covington. Seth Curry and Danny Green’s season also eclipses that amount of perimeter production from this team, as Saric and Covington combined for 360 made threes on a 37.9 percent average. Keep in mind that that season was longer than the current campaign, so the amount of overall attempts is higher than Curry’s and Green’s as a result.
Both Seth Curry and Danny Green also bring an element outside of shooting to the roster in different regards. Curry has been an underrated secondary ball handler and above average passer. Green has provided the team with a quality on-ball defender outside of Ben Simmons and Matisse Thybulle.
The 2020-21 Sixers roster also has a skillset that was somewhat absent on that 2017-18 team in terms of shot creation — which is what led to their downfall in that postseason. Tobias Harris, Shake Milton, George Hill, and Tyrese Maxey are all capable of putting the ball on the floor and finding their shot within the Sixers’ offense. This is an aspect I believe will truly show in the coming weeks as the postseason progresses and games slow down with much more half-court offense.
The turnaround between the 2019-20 Sixers and the 2020-21 is truly remarkable in the fact that the team did a complete 180 with the direction of roster construction — going from a defense-first approach with a mechanical (?) type of offense to a much more modern approach and roster construction within one offseason. What makes it even more impressive is the fact that this prior offseason was the shortest in NBA history, having the draft and the beginning of free agency all within one week.
The Sixers have two of the best shooters in the NBA to pair with their stars for the foreseeable future — assuming that they are able to retain Danny Green in his upcoming unrestricted free agency. The quick and impressive turnaround should not be overlooked from the Sixers’ new front office. Seth Curry and Danny Green have been perfect in their respective roles.