The Philadelphia 76ers have an unusual problem on their hands after trading up for the No. 1 overall pick and selecting Markelle Fultz.
The 19-year-old has not yet played a healthy game in the NBA and is currently sidelined with a shoulder injury. Meanwhile, the team has played well (13-10) and would be the No. 5 seed in the Eastern Conference if the season ended today.
Joel Embiid (34.2 percent), Ben Simmons (24.2 percent), JJ Redick (19.1 percent), Robert Covington (18.4 percent) and Dario Saric (18.1 percent) already have high usage rates. Among five-man lineups who have played as many minutes as this group, they have the second-best net rating in the league.
No team has more touches per game (482.1) than the Sixers – and that’s without Fultz in the rotation.
Embiid, meanwhile, has already complained that the team isn’t giving him the ball often enough while in the post (via NBCS Philly):
“We need to go to the tape and find a way to get me the ball in the post. Since I wasn’t doing that, I felt like I had to go outside and make something happen to help us win.”
They already lead the league in frontcourt touches (289.0) and have the second-most paint touches (27.1) as well as postups per game (18.5).
When looking at the shot chart, it’s clear how much of their success has come from taking inside shot attempts.
They rank No. 7 for points in the paint per game, which is where the offense is centered.
Meanwhile, Philadelphia currently takes 2.3 three-point attempts from the left corner (No. 29 overall), 2.8 three-pointers from the right corner (No. 16 overall) and 14.7 midrange shot attempts per game (No. 21 overall).
While in college, Fultz relied on his outside and midrange game to help him score so often.
According to ChartSideSport.com, 38.2 percent of his shots were from midrange. That’s around 6.7 shots attempts per game – compare that with Redick, who leads the Sixers with just 4.6 midrange attempts per game.
Brown has made no indication of how the team will adjust (if and) when Fultz returns from his injury. But as of now, his squad scores near the rim.
Somehow, there’s no clear odd-man out for their rotation to make room for Fultz. It’s a question we won’t know the answer to until he is finally healthy.
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