Pros and Cons: Sixers vs. Bulls
A battle of top ranked offenses.
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
After an impressive shorthanded victory against the Portland Trail Blazers on Monday night, the Sixers debuted their City edition throwback jerseys against the 6-1 Chicago Bulls. Let’s look at how things went:
Pro: Joel Embiid’s passing
While Embiid’s scoring has been less efficient than what we’re used to, he’s made another leap as a passer, thanks in large part to much-improved floor spacing.
Embiid entered tonight averaging a career-high 3.8 assists per game, and a career-low 2.5 turnovers per game.
Tonight, he continued to show progress in that part of his game. Embiid drew double-teams, naturally. He was able to masterfully manipulate the defenders with his eyes and with ball-fakes, taking advantage of the attention he attracts and leveraging it into good looks for open shooters.
This has been a major point of emphasis in Embiid’s development on the offensive end, and his continued progression is clear.
That’s the good news -- but there’s also bad news...
Con: Joel Embiid’s scoring
Embiid has been his typical elite self as a whole, but his offensive efficiency has dipped so far this season, and tonight was a good example. Embiid failed to generate great looks tonight, often settling for jumpers that weren’t falling.
Embiid will be just fine -- this performance does not cause me long-term concern. But, while his passing was good, he looked far from his MVP-caliber self as a scorer. To consistently win against very good teams, the Sixers will need a more refined version of Embiid.
Pro: Defensive synergy
Entering a matchup against two large creators in Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan, the Sixers were missing three of their four best wing defenders (Ben Simmons, Danny Green, Tobias Harris). Outside of Matisse Thybulle, the Sixers had little defensive firepower on the perimeter.
Regardless, they were able to perform admirably on defense. It started with Embiid and his rim-protection that is always stout, but extended beyond that -- several players had a few nice moments, and it all coalesced into an effort that I would call synergistic. Everyone was in sync with each other -- whether it be against pick-and-rolls, dribble handoffs, or any other action, the Sixers looked like a team that was prepared for the assignment. '
The Bulls got theirs at times -- more specifically, DeRozan got his -- but even if it wasn’t perfect, this was another strong outing for the Sixers on the defensive end, after doing the same against the Hawks and Blazers.