Sixers Summer Assignments
As the 76ers franchise transitions from its unceremonious end last week, the organization needs to look at itself from top to bottom. Daryl Morey, in his postseason availability, said " internal improvement is probably the bigger lever, and the nice thing is because we have young players, because we have players who, we think have areas that you can obviously improve." Morey, who spoke multiple times about internal improvement, continued "it's pretty rare, frankly, to have have top players who are already performing at a very high level in this league who also have things that you can point to and say like hey, if, if we can improve that the team can get a lot better"
So in that spirit, lets look at each of the 76ers key rotation players under 30 and what a summer assignment priority might look like:
Joel Embiid - Face Up Game
Embiid has quietly added a deadly array of face up moves to his arsenal over the past couple of years. Always a good shooter for his size, he has added elements of Dirk Nowitzki and Patrick Ewing. This has changed the calculus for opposing teams when considering double teaming him. When facing up, he is able to see double teams coming from multiple angles and make the right play.
Ben Simmons - Embrace Inefficiency
Ben Simmons has finally admitted that his reticence to going to the free throw line is mental. This summer will involve a lot of repetition and work to develop muscle memory to a mechanic (left or right handed), but mainly he will have to be willing to go to the free throw line in front of 20,000 people and miss a free throw. His determination to get to the line and put other teams in foul trouble remains crucial to his transcendence to true championship level star.
Tobias Harris - Lateral Defense
Harris made a big leap defensively this past season and should continue his improvement on that side. Harris has been mostly maximized by Doc Rivers offensively.
Matisse Thybulle -Attack Close-outs
Matisse Thybulle's primary deficiency coming into the NBA was ball handling. He has made some progress so far and should continue to work on having more control with the ball in his hands. He will likely never become a shot creator, but the ability to attack a closeout and drive to the basket will be key to turning into a two way player.
Tyrese Maxey - Point Guard Skills
Tyrese Maxey exceeded expectations in his rookie season. He outperformed his draft position and forced his way into a playoff rotation much sooner than Doc Rivers would have probably predicted. To get to the next level, where he's legitimately considered a 6th man, or starter, he will need to develop himself into a floor general. Maxey is a tremendous ball handler, with elite quickness and burst. His room for growth is in setting up an opposing defense and making them pay for their decisions. If Maxey can develop into a Mike Conley, he will have a chance to be a starting player on a contending team.
Shake Milton - Explosiveness
Shake Milton may have disappointed some fans in these past playoffs, but he's a young player on a great contract with room to grow. Lower body strength has been a key focus for Milton since he turned pro. His ability to get into the teeth of the defense and finish above the rim will be key to his continued upward trajectory.
Furkan Korkmaz - Strength
If Shake Milton needs to improve lower body strength, Korkmaz still has room to grow overall in strength. Korkmaz has a lot of the elements of an excellent NBA player, but the physicality of the NBA game has been his challenge on both ends. Korkmaz should continue to add weight and strength and his game can blossom.
Isaiah Joe - Strength
Isaiah Joe has impressed in limited time in the NBA. His awareness on both ends of the floor is better than expected and he has outperformed his draft position. Adding 10-15lbs of muscle would be ideal for Joe as a one on one defender and help him finish drives through contact.
Paul Reed - Release Time
The G-League MVP is the third Sixers rookie to outperform his draft position. Paul likely just needs more playing time to develop into a real weapon at the NBA level. His game is hard to critique at this point. Reed shot 44% from three for the Delaware Blue Coats and continuing to improve his perimeter game will be key to unlocking him as a two way weapon at the NBA level. Part of that will be to tighten up his shooting motion from deep. It's a minor critique, but at this point Reed has passed every test.
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