Tuesday night we saw the unveiling of a potentially new Sixers lineup structure. After months of trying to make it work, Brett Brown finally decided to move Al Horford to the bench.
This change looks to have worked out nicely, as the Sixers were able to top the Clippers on national television. Here are my first impressions of this new-look Sixers squad.
Adding a shooter to the starting lineup impacted the offense greatly. Spacing was the biggest issue for the Sixers on offense this year, and there were no spacing issues last night.
There were possessions on offense last night where the lane was wide open for the Sixers to attack the rim. This opened up the floor for Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons to attack the rim and gave Joel Embiid more than enough room to go to work in the post.
This new looking Sixers offense looks like it is going to be a tough force to stop. All of the core was able to dominate with the new spacing as four of the five starters scored at least 17 points against the Clippers.
The offense for the second unit ran just as smoothly. Al Horford was able to play center, where he has looked much better this year, and get more comfortable looks. He was also able to run some pick and roll with newly acquired Alec Burks who made his Sixer debut on Tuesday.
Going to a smaller lineup did not affect the defense at all. The Sixers still showed why they are one of the top defensive teams in the NBA.
Ben Simmons still looked like a clear front-runner for defensive player of the year, and Joel Embiid had some highlights where he looked like his old rim-protecting self.
The second unit looked strong on the defensive end as well. Having Al Horford to protect the rim for the second unit is a big upgrade. He is a nice compliment to the wing defenders the Sixers have off the bench like Matisse Thybulle and Glenn Robinson III.
This is arguably the biggest impression of this new variation of the team. Having this team fully healthy and having both new additions available to play, the Sixers look like one of the deeper teams in the league.
Brett Brown used this depth to his advantage last night, throwing out multiple different lineups to close out the Clippers.
The Sixers now have a solid group of players that can be maximized in just about any situation of a game. Whether it’s going big and defensive with Thybulle and Horford, or going with a smaller fast-paced lineup and utilizing wings like Korkmaz and Robinson.
There is now a solid nine guys that can play every night and provide a solid contribution. This is going to be huge down the stretch as the team will try to give the stars as much rest as possible heading into the playoffs.
Making a big change like that in a game against a serious title contender was a risky move but it worked out great. It will be interesting to see if coach Brown sticks with this new look and if it can continue to look as good as it did on Tuesday.