LeBron James Shouldn’t Sign With The Philadelphia 76ers In 2018

Over the past few weeks, some people within the NBA community have suggested that  LeBron James should sign with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018. According to HoopsHype.com, retired NBA player Brian Scalabrine recently stated that Philadelphia is the best landing spot for him; ” because that team already has players who can shoot. Plus, he’d be able to play off Simmons and Embiid”. Although Philadelphia seems to be an excellent landing spot for LeBron, that is not necessarily the case.

Throughout the past seven seasons, teams who obtained the services of Lebron have incorporated an offensive system; that is meant to showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, he usually walks the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide-open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Furthermore, on occasion, the team will break out some different sets within their playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have LeBron act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

Due to this, the 76ers would have to surround LeBron with players who can catch and shoot or know how to move without the ball. Unfortunately, both of these skill sets nullify Ben Simmons’s best attribute; Simmons has been described as a player who possesses exceptional court vision and passing skills as well as an ability to get to the basket on a consistent basis.  According to DraftExpress, during his tenure at LSU, Simmons demonstrated “tremendous ball-handling and passing ability, as he has outstanding court vision… sometimes above the rim with a head of steam”. Due to this, he needs to be in an offensive system similar to that of LeBron, where he would showcase his ability to pass the ball and get to the basket.

Therefore, both of these players would need to have the ball in their hands for a significant amount of time to be effective. Due to this, they would need at least one season to figure out where everyone is supposed to be on the court and to develop chemistry. For instance, there would be many possessions in the early portions of the first season, where one player will bring the ball up the floor and hold it for the majority of the shot clock. Meanwhile, the other player is standing behind the three-point line acting as a spot-up shooter. This is because the duo will need multiple games to develop timing as to when they should move without the ball and where to end up. Unfortunately, neither LeBron James or Ben Simmons can be productive in the spot-up shooter role; because they have a below average shooting percentage from behind the arc. According to Basketball-Reference, LeBron has a career three-point shooting percentage of 34.2 percent, while Ben is shooting 0 percent. Consequently, opposing teams will leave the shooter wide open and use the extra defender to provide help defense.

In conclusion,  LeBron James shouldn’t sign with the Philadelphia 76ers in 2018 because of floor spacing issues that will present themselves when he and Ben Simmons are playing together.

J.J. Redick Isn’t The Right Fit For The Philadelphia 76ers

Even though prominent media members are suggesting that the Philadelphia 76ers should pursue J.J. Redick in free agency, it would be ill-advised for them to do so. Throughout next season the Philadelphia 76ers are going to implement an offensive system that showcases Ben Simmons’s ability to pass the ball and get to the basket. As a result, they are expected to adopt a similar offense to that of the Cleveland Cavaliers with Lebron James. In this offensive system, Simmons is supposed to walk the ball up until the three-point line and evaluates how the defenders are positioned. For instance, if a defender is playing off of a three-point shooter, he is supposed to pass the ball to the wide open shooter. On the other hand, if all the defenders are staying close to their man he is expected to evaluate the size of his defender. If the defender is smaller than him, he should post up in the mid to low block and back him down until he can to a spot where he can shoot a jumper. But if his defender is the same size as him he should use his speed and strength to get around him to attack the basket. However, there will be some instances where the defense will collapse on him, and he should pass the ball to the perimeter for the wide open three. Although this playing style has been extremely useful for the Cavaliers, the 76ers may take another page out of Cleveland’s playbook to prevent from becoming a predictable offense. For example, the team may have Simmons act like he is going to post up at the free throw line and have him pass the ball to a teammate doing a backdoor cut to the basket.

As a result of the change in offensive philosophy to fit the skill set of Simmons, the 76ers will need to acquire some more shooters to stop the other team from collapsing everyone into the paint. Therefore one would assume that a player like J.J. Redick is an ideal complementarity alongside Ben Simmons since he has shown the ability to hit the catch and shoot three effectively. According to NBA.com, JJ shot 44.9 percent on catch and shoot threes during the regular season. Due to this, his defender is unlikely to double team Ben thus giving him more space to attack the basket. However if his defender chooses to collapse, Ben can kick it to him with confidence because he has shown the ability to make a wide open catch and shoot three.

However, it would be ill-advised for the Philadelphia 76ers to sign J.J. Redick this off-season. This is because Ben Simmons has yet to play with his teammates in a regular season game thus it will take them some time to figure each other’s tendencies. During this process, there should be a lot of turnovers, spacing issues and questions about when a player is supposed to shoot the ball. These chemistry growing pains should cost them a significant number of games throughout the regular season which will preclude them from being a real threat to the Cavs next season. Due to this, Redick isn’t an ideal fit for the team because he is currently in the middle to back end of his prime as he will be 33 years old at the beginning of next season. As a result, by the time Philadelphia is ready to challenge Cleveland, Redick should begin to experience a decline in physical performance due to age. Therefore the team should target three point shooters who are just entering or approaching their prime years (i.e., Tony Snell and/or Bojan Bogdanović) thus decreasing the likelihood of a potential decline by the time Philadelphia is ready to challenge Cleveland.