Last season, Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid struggled offensively as his team's shooting woes resulted in a lack of spacing for the big man. In years prior, the 76ers typically always had a deep shooting threat on the floor with veteran guard JJ Redick, which made life easy for Embiid on the court.
But as the Sixers' front office prioritized defense over shooting, the team allowed Redick to walk in free agency, and the Sixers lost him to the New Orleans Pelicans. That left Embiid admittedly uncomfortable throughout the 2019-2020 season.
"[The transition of lineups affected me] a lot," Embiid said back in August. "You can see with the numbers." During the two years Embiid shared the floor with Redick, the Sixers' big man averaged 25 points-per-game. While Embiid had some solo dominant performances last year, his points-per-game average was down to 23.
Back in August, when the three-time All-Star addressed the Sixers' lack of spacing on Redick's podcast, Embiid made it clear just how much the loss of the veteran guard affected him throughout the 2019-2020 season.
"It was just such a difference-maker," Embiid explained. "Because you know last year when they were doubling me, I was either inviting it, or l was like 'okay, I'm not going to post up anymore, and I'm just going to go to that two-man game [with Redick],' because I know I'm going to get you a shot. And once you make two or three, they are going to come up, and that will change everything, and they will leave me open."
This year, the Sixers' revamped front office made it a priority to surround Embiid with shooters. So, the 76ers added veterans Danny Green and Seth Curry. In 11 NBA seasons, Green has averaged 40-percent from three.
Meanwhile, Seth Curry has knocked 44-percent of his threes throughout his six-year career. While Embiid looks forward to playing with all of his new teammates, the big man is hopeful that Curry becomes his new JJ Redick.
"We're learning every single day, especially with Seth [Curry]," Embiid said in regards to forming on-court chemistry with some of the new guys. "I would probably want to have the same relationship [with Seth] that I had with JJ [Redick], especially on the court the way we moved and played off of each other. Me setting screens for him, and him sometimes setting screens for me. Just playing that two-man game -- I think we have some potential there."
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_