Pros and Cons: Sixers vs. Pacers
Three Normal Things
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He has been legally banned from covering the team in person, and when that ban was set to be lifted, Covid-19 struck. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
Following a winless homestand, the Sixers began their longest road trip of the year with a contest in Indiana against the Pacers. Let’s get to the observations, shall we?
Pro: Tobias Harris is back
After the Sixers’ tough loss against Toronto on Thursday night, I wrote about how Harris, despite having a poor showing against the Raptors, would be so vital to the Sixers’ offense while Joel Embiid is sidelined due to health and safety protocols.
Tobias made me look smart tonight, scoring 17 points in the first quarter alone en route to one of his best games of the season. Harris was as aggressive as possible, launching quickly from beyond the arc and utilizing his size and strength down low against smaller defenders.
For as long as Embiid is out, the Sixers’ best bet to score in half-court offense is the self-creation that Harris brings. And, better yet, creation for others: while Harris struggled to score in his first game back, he did dish out seven assists, and added to that with some nifty passes tonight.
We don’t know how COVID-19 will impact any player until we see them for a long period of time after contracting the virus. So, the jury is still out on Tobias being 100 percent. But if tonight was any indication, he is doing just fine since returning to the floor.
Con: Transition defense struggles
The Sixers allowed 70 -- yes, 70 -- points to the Pacers in the first half alone tonight. And while the Pacers shot the hell out of the ball, the Sixers weren’t entirely blameless.
Transition defense has been a point of emphasis for Doc Rivers of late, and tonight showed why it should continue to be. The Sixers looked out of sorts defending Indiana fastbreaks, whether it was getting beat down the floor, miscommunicating with one another or any other lapses.
This has been a consistent issue plaguing the Sixers throughout the season, and it’s one of the more pivotal facets of the game that they need to fix as the year continues.
Con: Andre Drummond around the rim
Drummond has been excellent for the Sixers, truly thriving in his role as Embiid’s backup and an occasional starter.
Drummond’s rebounding, defense and passing have all been flashing consistently, but there’s one area in which he has continued to struggle, and that is scoring around the rim.
For someone who spends so much time under the basket and in the paint, Drummond’s lack of touch around the rim is staggering. Any shot he takes that isn’t a dunk has me immediately feeling suspicious.
Drummond’s lack of touch at the rim was particularly apparent tonight, as he repeatedly missed excellent looks. I don’t mean to take away from his success, because he truly has been very solid for the Sixers all-around, but if he has an Achilles’ heel, this is it.