The Philadelphia 76ers showed how dangerous they can be during Game 1 of their series against the Miami Heat. The Sixers scored 130 points in the win, partly because the team let it fly from behind the arc. The team shot 18-for-28 from downtown, with J.J. Redick (28 points, 4-for-6 from three), Marco Belinelli (25 points, 4-for-7 from three), and Dario Saric (20 points, 4-for-6 from three) serving as Philly’s three leading scorers.
While the top three scorers were unique, it was an example of something Philadelphia does on a nightly basis: The Sixers lead the league in passes made per game and are sixth in three pointers attempted per game. Few, if any, teams are as good as Philadelphia at spacing the floor, and as Ben Cohen of the Wall Street Journal wrote, it’s partly because of how the team practices.
The Sixers use a four-point line, not to accrue points when the team scrimmages, but rather to remind players about the importance of spacing the floor, especially when Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are on the floor.
“When you look at modern-day offense, and you try to play a style that I believe in and have for a while,” Brown said, “you have to space the floor, you have to shoot threes and you have to create room.”
Which is why the 4-point line exists in Philadelphia.
“We want to take it to a higher level and space further,” Brown said. “We want to stretch the court more.”
The Wall Street Journal includes examples of this, but here’s another from Saturday’s game. Simmons putting Kelly Olynyk in a blender gets the attention, but pay attention to Belinelli, who drifts way behind the three-point line to provide Simmons the space he needs to work.
NBA teams are, generally, constantly looking for the best way to have more space at their disposal while they’re on the floor. Every inch of space can be crucial, especially for a team like Philadelphia that has one star who doesn’t shoot threes in Simmons and another who plays center in Embiid. This isn’t an example of a team reinventing the wheel as much as the team is using what is already available to them and finding ways to use it to their advantage. Seeing as how the Sixers have found success this year, it might be a system worth implementing elsewhere.
(Via Wall Street Journal)