Through five regular season games, it is painfully clear that the Sixers need another shot creator on offense.
As they are currently constructed, the Sixers only have only two players who can create their own offense. Those two guys are third-year center Joel Embiid and veteran JJ Redick.
Embiid not only can dominate in the paint but also can do some magical things on the perimeter. It’s not often when you see a 7-foot-2 center shoot the three-ball at a career 32.2 percent clip on 3.4 attempts per game.
And then there’s JJ Redick, who has picked up where he left off from last season. The veteran marksman is averaging 21.2 points per game on 42.6 percent shooting from three-point range. His 21.2 points are second on the team in scoring, behind Embiid (29.6).
Just like Embiid, Redick can get generate his own offense by running hard off of screens and playing the dribble handoff game. The 34-year-old is averaging 7.0 points per game off of handoffs, which is second behind Denver’s Gary Harris, along with 1.57 points per possession.
Outside of these two players, finding another reliable shot creator or iso player is like finding a needle in a haystack for the Sixers. Could the extra shot creator that they are lacking be on this current roster? It’s a high possibility.
Second-year point forward Ben Simmons has the abilities to develop into that player, but he needs to be comfortable taking and making a jump shot. Thus far in this young NBA season, he has not done it. Instead, the reigning Rookie of the Year award winner still relies on his skills to get to the basket.
Over the course of this season, opposing teams will take away those driving lanes and force him to take the daunting jump shot.
Speaking of a jump shot, Markelle Fultz, last year’s first overall pick, could be this team’s third shot creator. He has the ability to get to the basket and after missing a majority of last season with a shoulder injury; his jump shot form is back to the normal.
However, the question is will he confidently take the shot when it’s available?
His jumper is the only thing that is holding back his development. Once he can knock it down on a relative basis, the sky is the limit for him.
But on the flip side, who knows how long that will take for Fultz because he actually has to get consistent playing time to get better. If Fultz and or Simmons do not get to those plateaus that they are supposed to reach, do the Sixers go outside of the organization look for that third shot creator?
It is not outside the realm of possibility, especially with Timberwolves two-way wing Jimmy Butler still out there on the trade market. If the Sixers could add a player like Butler to their roster by the deadline, it would give them a guy that can not only create his own offense but go to work in iso situations.
Last season, Butler averaged 2.4 points per game in isolation, which is not a lot in comparison to James Harden and LeBron James. But it was higher than any Sixers player, who did not even register to make the list.
Nevertheless, the Sixers have a ton of questions to answer over the course of this season, including finding out who will be their extra shot creator and maker. They hope the answer comes sooner rather than later because it could be the difference from them not getting out of the second round or making it to the NBA Finals.