Seth Curry is the most important player for the Sixers this season
The Philadelphia 76ers were plagued by a disorganized roster last year that was rarely on the same page. It was a collection of individual talent that never was able to find cohesion on the floor together. The Sixers’ lack of ability to efficiently create their own shots was glaring. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid never seemed to be on the same page. It was almost like the Sixers were running two different offenses catering to each player’s strengths but failed to address overall team chemistry offensively. The addition of Seth Curry can help change that.
Curry’s career numbers won’t impress anyone. He averages just over 10 points, and 1.5 assists per game. He’s essentially an efficient role player and has never really been considered a piece that a team will rely on for success or failure. However the two skillsets that Curry can offer are probably the biggest two things the Sixers were missing last season. The Sixers need to get back to playing a cohesive brand of basketball that benefits both Embiid and Simmons and Curry is the perfect player to ensure that happens.
Seth Curry is a 44.3 percent shooter from beyond the arc which ranks second in NBA history among qualifying players. More importantly, he manages to shoot such a high percentage on a high volume of attempts. Last season he was shooting just under 10 three point shots per 100 possessions with the Mavericks. Those shots accounted for more than half of his total field goal attempts.
I’m more focused on Curry’s diversity on how he is shooting the ball. Per Synergy Sports, Curry shot 49.4 percent on catch-and-shoot shots last year for the Mavericks. Building on those numbers, of the 108 players who used at least 150 catch-and-shoot possessions last year, Curry’s 1,472 points per possession ranked first. In comparison around the league, he was in first by a lot. Gary Trent Jr. (1.397), Duncan Robinson (1.358), Tyler Herro (1.346) and JJ Redick (1.338) rounded out the rest of the top five but Curry was the clear front-runner.
Those numbers are simply elite as an off-ball, catch-and-shoot player and the big man himself, Joel Embiid recognizes how much that will help his game, as well as Ben Simmons’ game on the offensive side of the ball. Last year that the Sixers relied on Josh Richardson and Al Horford way too much to knock down perimeter shots. Of course, that turned out to be a disaster.
Curry will provide spacing for Joel Embiid whether he’s in the paint or posting up around the foul line. Simmons, a guy who relies on spacing to excel his play, will also have more room to drive to the basket in a half-court set or find a streaking teammate on a fast break. A great example from last season is what Shake Milton was able to provide Ben Simmons during his NBA breakout season, by working with Simmons to open up the floor and hide Ben’s only developmental flaw in not shooting the basketball.
With the new assets that the Sixers have, we should see way less of Embiid trying to drum up offense by himself while teammates stand by the wayside. We should also see Ben Simmons stretching the floor with open lanes to facilitate or attack the basket.
JJ Redick and Joel Embiid were able to accomplish this two years ago with the pick-and-roll. Redick was able to create easy-looks at will with Embiid due to the fact he was such a threat shooting that defenses had to give him the attention on the perimeter.
When Embiid spoke with the media for the first time since the start of training camp, he shared his thoughts playing alongside Seth Curry and recognized immediately the similarities between Curry and Redick and having an elite shooter on the perimeter.
“I would probably want to have the same relationship that I had with JJ (Redick), especially the way we moved and the way we played off of each other,” Embiid said of playing alongside Curry. “Me setting screens for him and sometimes him setting screens for me and just playing that two-man game. I think we have some potential there.”
What stuck out to me during Embiid’s media availability was the fact that he addressed that last season, there were times that the ball was “stuck” in someone’s hands and the importance of guys like Seth Curry, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shake Milton to ensure it doesn’t happen this year.
On paper, it might be hard to identify why Seth Curry is so important to the Sixers’ success this year but when you take a step back, it’s easy to see that he is an elite shooter and his ability to be an off-ball, catch-and-shoot player for the Sixers will only elevate the play of the Sixers’ two stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Mandatory Credit: Philadelphia 76ers