and Harden with Tucker coming off the bench. That malleable approach was a surprise to hear from Rivers. But it hasn’t really come to fruition.
For the most part, Doc has stuck to Melton as the starter with Maxey coming off the bench and rarely throwing out the 3-guard lineup to start. Those 3 lineups, however, are the only ones that have played over 100 minutes together for the Sixers this season and have all boasted very positive results. The Sixers are +14.3 with Maxey in with the regular starters. They’re +7.6 with Melton as the 5th guy and they’re +5.4 with the 3-guard lineup. That bodes extremely well for the postseason.
Being able to intrinsically switch your style on any given night is going to be important, especially when it comes to playing the top dogs in the East in Milwaukee and Boston. If Boston or Milwaukee go small? You can throw out the 3-guard lineup and apply pressure at the point of attack with both Maxey and Melton being used as release valves next to Harden and Embiid. Maxey’s potency off the bounce was evident last post-season when he destroyed the Raptors as a movement shooter, attacking closeouts and putting pressure on Toronto’s point-of-attack defense. Whereas against Miami in the 2nd round, Maxey didn’t have the same success exposing the perimeter defense of the Heat and maybe Melton’s 2-way ability would have been more advantageous. Perhaps more importantly the play of the veteran Tucker will determine how the Sixers will do when the Bucks or Celtics decide to go extra big. If Boston throws out Robert Williams and Al Horford or if the Bucks play with Brook Lopez and Giannis, how big Tucker can get will be pivotal. The Sixers have a lot of malleabilities when it comes to playing small, and their roster inevitability gives them an advantage when teams go that direction – but when teams decide to play big, as Milwaukee and Boston tend to do, Tucker is the dam holding the fort together.How much success Philly has against those 2 Eastern Conference juggernauts ultimately does depend on their respective stars showing up, but Maxey, Tucker, and Melton have the ability to potentially swing any one of those series, with the versatility they provide Doc Rivers and the Sixers.
If Doc just so happens to use that to their advantage.
Quickley + Hart & the Knicks point-of-attack defense