The Sixers’ success at the guard position will shape the rest of the season
One of the most important keys to success early in the season for the 76ers was the spark that their guards provided the offense. Seth Curry, Shake Milton, and Tyrese Maxey, were a huge part of the Sixers success early in the season and have played huge role for the first place, 16-7 Sixers.
Seth Curry started off the season on fire for the Sixers, averaging 17 points and 3.6 assists per game while shooting an incredible 60.3% from the field and 59.5% from three point range. Shake Milton had the Sixers’ Bench Mob buzzing just two weeks ago where he put together a string of games in which he scored 16 points, 19 points, 24 points, 31 points, and 28 points. Tyrese Maxey stepped up while the Sixers dealt with a COVID-19 outbreak and dropped 39-points, the second highest by a Philadelphia 76ers rookie since Allen Iverson dropped 40 points against the Washington Bullets in 1997.
More recently, the 76ers guards have been in quite the slump and if it continues and the 76ers have to solely rely on Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the road ahead will continue to get tougher for the first place Sixers.
Since returning to the lineup after testing positive for COVID-19, it’s not hard to see that something isn’t quite right with Seth Curry. He’s averaged 7.4 points on 38.6 percent shooting. The most glaring drop off has been his perimeter shooting which has fallen from an elite 59.5% to 29.2% in eight games since returning. With Curry struggling, it has hurt the Sixers’ ability to execute on offense and space the floor.
Shake Milton entered last night’s game averaging a dismal 9.7 points on 35.8 shooting from the floor. Milton is shooting a horrendous 13.3% from three point range over his last seven games. Fellow bench guard Tyrese Maxey entered the game averaging 5.3 points while shooting just 40% shooting over his previous eight games. Without the two young guards providing a spark from the bench, the Sixers are clearly missing the the spark that played such a key role to their success early in the season.
Without Shake and Maxey, the Sixers are left with Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle, and Dwight Howard on the bench. While Howard and Thybulle can certainly provide a lift on defensively, they are unreliable on the offensive side of the court. Furkan was been impressive over the last few games as Rivers has given him more opportunities given the struggles from his fellow bench mobsters.
There is no need to hit the panic button just yet. The Sixers are still in first place in the Eastern Conference after all. Curry is still recovering from COVID-19. Although nothing has been officially confirmed, it’s hard to ignore the relation between him missing two weeks and his declining play. Maxey is a rookie and will certainly climb peaks and valleys throughout the season. We all know what Shake Milton is capable of providing the Sixers and can only hope that he can work his way out of his slump soon.
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