The Sixers are experimenting with their three-back system

At the end of a terrible Joel Embiid, the Sixers won against the Pelicans on Monday night, snapping a 10th straight victory at home. A success that made it possible to see at work during the match a five composed in particular of three backs.

Since the arrival of De’Anthony Melton, the question has often arisen: should we line up three backs in Philadelphia? D’Anthony Melton’s versatility and defense combined with James Harden’s game acumen and Tyrese Maxey’s speed/shooting combo make him a viable option. Without forgetting the joker Shake Milton.

Except that Doc Rivers never really had a chance to combine these three elements, due to injuries to James Harden and Tyrese Maxey. Finally, the arrival of the Pelicans made it possible to test this arrangement. As proof, PJ Tucker only played 18 minutes against New Orleans, giving way to this experience with three backs.

“This is a lineup that we can use because it allows us to increase the speed” explained Doc Rivers. “We appreciate it more when Joel is on the pitch because it gives us three fullbacks who can play pick-and-roll with Jo. And if they help, we have two quick fullbacks who can create something.”

An effective offensive system

Recently, Shake Milton has been used with James Harden and De’Anthony Melton, and it has been effective with a +17.7 point differential per 100 possessions, albeit in limited minutes.

The return of Tyrese Maxey offers other solutions, as we saw against the Pelicans. With Herb Jones not letting go of James Harden, the Sixers find themselves in a scenario where CJ McCollum moves on defense to Joel Embiid. This gave James Harden the luxury of serving as his pivot for the height and weight advantage, but also to serve against Tyrese Maxey (41% from 3-pointers this season) or De’Anthony Melton (40%). A nice variety of offensive options for this Sixers three-back system.

“In this system, we have to do a very good job of rebounding. I think we did it tonight” insisted James Harden. “The more opportunities we have to adjust this setup, the better it is for us.”

If anyone will benefit from this new three-back setup, it’s Joel Embiid. The Sixers All-Star center contributed against the Pelicans with 42 points and 11 rebounds.

“They will definitely make my life easier” the king rejoiced. “You have three very good shooters, a good creator with James and defensively, everyone knows what to do.”

Defensively, however, there were some collective and individual lapses in the final five minutes, most notably from Tyrese Maxey leaving Trey Murphy open for a 3-pointer. Doc Rivers blamed it on a lack of speed after missing several weeks. However, the weak point of a formula with three “small” remains defense and rebounding, but Doc Rivers always has PJ Tucker in reserve.

Shots Bounces
Players GM minimum Shots 3 points LF Off Def Early p.d bp Int CT party Points
Joel Embiid 28 35.5 53.2 34.1 85.3 1.8 8.0 9.8 4.6 3.9 1.2 1.7 3.4 33.5
James Harden 21 38.1 43.7 37.2 88.0 0.4 5.6 6.0 11.0 3.7 1.5 0.6 2.1 22.1
Tyrese Maxey 17 34.8 45.5 40.9 73.1 0.4 2.8 3.2 4.1 2.0 0.9 0.2 2.2 21.4
Tobias Harris 33 34.3 49.6 39.2 86.7 1.0 5.2 6.2 2.7 1.3 1.1 0.5 2.2 16.4
De’anthony Melton 33 30.2 43.1 39.7 71.0 1.1 3.6 4.7 3.2 1.5 2.0 0.5 2.3 12.0
Milton shook his head 32 24.1 50.6 37.0 83.1 0.6 2.5 3.0 3.2 1.6 0.4 0.2 1.7 10.5
George Niang 34 20.4 43.8 40.7 91.7 0.2 2.2 2.4 1.1 0.8 0.5 0.3 2.2 9.4
Daniel’s house 29 17.4 48.5 33.9 73.5 0.2 1.8 2.1 0.8 0.5 0.2 0.2 1.4 5.0
Montrezl Harrell 32 11.5 53.3 0.0 71.2 1.0 1.7 2.7 0.7 0.6 0.3 0.5 1.3 4.9
Furkan Korkmaz 20 11.5 39.1 32.4 66.7 0.3 1.2 1.4 0.9 0.7 0.3 0.2 0.5 4.2
pj tucker 35 27.8 43.1 39.7 83.3 1.3 3.0 4.3 0.8 0.8 0.6 0.3 2.7 3.5
Saben Lee 2 5.1 75.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 1.0 1.5 0.5 0.0 0.5 3.0
Paul Reed, Jr. 30 9.5 53.6 0.0 66.7 1.1 2.0 3.1 0.4 0.6 0.7 0.6 2.0 2.7
Matisse Thybulle 32 11.4 43.5 35.0 50.0 0.3 0.9 1.2 0.4 0.2 0.7 0.3 1.3 2.4
Jaden Springer 5 3.1 42.9 0.0 50.0 0.4 0.6 1.0 0.0 0.2 0.0 0.4 0.8 1.4
Michael Foster, Jr. 1 1.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0
Julian Champagne 2 3.3 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.0 0.5 0.0 0.0 0.0

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