By Jerry Wein
Sixers center Joel Embiid has put up MVP-worthy offensive numbers this season —29.2 PPG, 10.7 RPG, 2.9 APG.
So he’s the Sixer who gets most of the notice, for his defense too.
And that’s what the team’s profile has become, and that’s where NBA titles are won:
They are second in the NBA in steals and defensive rating at 107.5.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 8, 2021
Detroit Pistons coach Dwane Casey can appreciate that, and he got a first-hand look last Friday when the Sixers spanked his team 118-104.
Detroit had a tough time scoring against the likes of Joel Embiid and Dwight Howard down low as coach Doc Rivers came up with a nice game plan.
“Doc has done a good job of, throughout his career, as far as to establish a defensive identity,” said Casey.
“They’re getting after it, they do a good job of covering the pain, they try to bring you into Howard and Embiid. Simmons is one of the top individual defenders in the league. He’s got a lot of good pieces to work with to implement a system.”
“He’s done a good job with that,” Casey added of the job Rivers has done. “One of the top teams in steals as far as forcing turnovers. They force you into a lot of mid-range shots, they’re definitely a contender for the Eastern Conference. One, because of the talent, and another is because of defensive ability.”