Sixers’ Areas of Improvement Fully Apparent In Recent Struggles
The Sixers head back home on Wednesday after an underwhelming trip out west. They would win just one of their four games, losing three in a row. Now it is never great to suffer multiple tough losses in a row, but there was a silver lining to this trip. This stretch of games put the two areas the Sixers need to improve on this season on full display.
Arguably the biggest weakness that has become apparent comes from the second unit. After Shake Milton rolled his ankle against the Kings the Sixers' bench took a major hit. Without his playmaking and shot creation in that group, the bench has struggled to have good offensive possessions.
This inability to score has been costly, as teams have been able to sway games back in their favor when the starters would come off the floor. In their last three games, the Sixers have scored 19, 20, and 25 points in respective games. Even a career-high from Ben Simmons and a near career-high from Tobias Harris was not enough to overcome this lack of production from the bench unit.
Seeing the second unit's struggle on offense has made it abundantly clear the Sixers need to be in the market for another backup guard. They are going to need another guard off the bench who can run an offense and play in the backcourt with Milton. George Hill has been a name tied to the Sixers recently who could fit into this role seamlessly if acquired.
The other area of weakness that has come about is three-point shooting. Not only has the team struggled to shoot the ball from deep, but the number of attempts has also been concerning.
Over their recent four-game road trip, the Sixers shot just 34.5% from deep as a team on just 21.8 attempts per game. Heading into their game against the Rockets on Wednesday night the Sixers sit at 28th in the entire NBA in three-point attempts per game (28.9), and in three-point makes per game (10.4).
Part of these woes from deep come from multiple players going cold at the same time. Tobias Harris, Furkan Korkmaz, and Danny Green are all shooting under 34% from deep over their last four games. Seth Curry has put together some good performances but has still been inconsistent since returning to the lineup.
The player that is affected most by this recent drop-off in the shooting from three is Joel Embiid. Most of his points come from his work in the post and his face-up game in the mid-range. With the team taking and making fewer threes it has allowed defenses to shrink the floor and get more bodies around him.
If Embiid is going to keep dominating in the fashion that he has done all season so far, he is going to need proper space around the rim. That is why the volume of three-point shots from the Sixers needs to increase moving forward.
Moving forward, this stretch showed the player archetypes that Daryl Morey should be eyeing in the trade and buyout market. If Morey can add another ball-handler and an outside shooter, preferably a stretch big, it will significantly help round out this roster for the postseason.
Kevin McCormick is the 76ers beat writer for 97.3 ESPN and 76ers editor for Sportstalkphilly.com. Follow him on Twitter @KevinMcC973.