Death, taxes, and inconsistent play of the Philadelphia 76ers backup centers. These seem to be the only facts about life in recent years. There have been a number of players the team has rotated with in support of Joel Embiid, including Dwight Howard, DeAndre Jordan, Andre Drummond, Greg Monroe and many more. None of these guys were able to fill these boots and keep the team afloat with the star off the field.
There seems to be confidence surrounding the backup center site with the advent of the year. The Sixers signed PJ Tucker and Montrezl Harrell to free agency and Paul Reed continued to develop during his three seasons with the team. However, it may not be about their talent but the use of these players is a bigger concern. This was triggered by the team’s previous two losses as this was shown privately.
Montrezel Harrell vs. Paul Reed
With Embiid losing his third game in a row, Doc Rivers chose to give Harrell his first start with the Sixers. The former sixth man looked solid and had his best performance of the season so far. Play 29 minutes and calculated 14 points, seven rebounds, one assist and one steal. Harrell did a great job looking for connection and spent a lot of time shouting at the crowd after the big plays. However, the 28-year-old struggled on the defensive end. The 6’7 position was ineffective in protecting the paint and this was a major reason for 52 points in paint permitted by Philadelphia.
In contrast, “Bball Paul” was ubiquitous on the defensive end. The previous 58th overall pick received 18 minutes of playing time which is also the highest level of the season. During this time calculated Two points, four rebounds, six steals and two blocks. While he seemed lost at times when attacking, this was overshadowed by the production of players like Therese Maxi, De Anthony Melton and Tobias Harris.
Rivers also tried both Reed and Harrell on the field at the end of the game. From the 1:45-1:05 mark in the fourth quarter, both big men were in the match. Members of the media asked the coach about this decision after the match. He gave Rivers a window on his decision and said, “Bouncing and volume. We’re past the play – Toppin had just made 3 in Trez the play before – we told our guys not to indulge in it. We did…the biggest plays were those two triples, then a turn in the area.” background, “per Derek Bodner From SEX daily newsletter.
Where is this problem
This issue was further exposed by the early absence of Joel Embiid. The second-placed MVP runner-up has missed four of the Sixers’ 10 matches so far. While Tucker’s junior center-ball lineup showed early success, it simply isn’t sustainable for an entire season. The 37-year-old has played over 30 minutes four times already Average 28.7 minutes per game per year. He also showed his limits against the Wizards as Kristaps Porzingis’ 7’3 tire proved too much for a 6’5 Tucker.
The option to play the small ball lineup is useful in small doses, but Harrell and Reed are the main options in the backup position. The thought process makes sense as Harrell is a more dominant offensive player while Reed makes his impact defensively. However, Harrell did not show that level of offensive impact to start the season. Before performing 14 points in the last game, Harell . had Average Only 2.9 points per game and he shot 45.0% from the field.
Reid is still far from being an end product, but he looked better offensively than Harrell on the defensive side of the ball. The Sixers struggled in defense to start the rankings this year 23rd in Defensive EfficiencyA player capable of making such a strong defensive effect is a key asset.
It’s also worth noting how a similar story unfolded with The Sixers only last year. Andre Drummond served as the team’s primary reserve man until the trade deadline when he was included in the James Harden deal. Then The Sixers signed DeAndre Jordan who clearly had none in the tank. After this became crystal clear and there was a nearby mutiny among Sixers fans, the backup role was finally handed over to Red. Producer DePaul experienced some growing pains but was generally successful in his role during the post season.
The style of play changes drastically in the NBA after the season ends. Every weak point is shown and the big guys who can’t guard the periphery are often played. Reed’s ability to move around in the ocean with guards makes him so valuable in the modern NBA. Rivers also has experience playing Harrell for a very long time in the playoffs. This happened during the 2020 playoffs. Rivers and Clippers blew up a 3-1 lead in the Western Conference semi-finals with Harrell’s long time unable to hold on to the defensive end. A major reason for the loss The head coach was fired.
It will be difficult to balance Harrell’s short-term success with Reid’s long-term growth. However, if Harrell’s time in court did not lead to success, the decision should be fairly easy. It’s a great sign of progress to see Reed come out of the mud and play 18 minutes into the game. However, using these players would be one to monitor going forward.
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