An incredibly overlooked aspect of the Philadelphia 76ers’ success is the outstanding on-court relationship between Joel Embiid and J.J. Redick.
In their first season sharing the court last season, this duo recorded the second-best net rating of all Sixers two-man lineups that played at least 1,300 minutes. Through 15 games this season, the Embiid-Redick combination has been the best one on the roster, recording a +10.0 net rating over 398 minutes together, both representing team highs.
Recently, Embiid detailed to Rich Hoffman of The Athletic the unique relationship he shares with Redick on the floor:
“I told him the other day that he is the best player, he was the best player I’ve ever played with just because we always understand each other so well….It’s just a feel, and we understand each other. Just playing with him last year and this year, I feel more comfortable. I feel like, you know, I’m starting to figure out my spots on the basketball court and he helps me a lot. Just if they want to top lock him, I know where to pass the ball. You know, just reading his eyes, movement, and it’s easier.”
Having started the season coming off the bench, Redick and Embiid have further enhanced their relationship over the past three games, recording an impressive +15.8 net rating over this time.
Notably, over the Sixers’ seven losses this season, the Embiid-Redick duo is the sole pairing to record a positive net rating (+7.3) of the 16 two-man combinations that have played at least 70 minutes.
A perfect illustration of their exemplary relationship came in the third game of the season, where Embiid’s dribble-handoff led to Redick’s game winning 3-pointer.
On a recent episode of the Lowe Post podcast, Zach Lowe of ESPN made special mention of this specific part of the Sixers’ offense:
“J.J. Redick running off a Joel Embiid handoff is the single most important component of their offense….at least in the half-court.”
Considering his impact, it comes as no surprise that Embiid’s presence has a significant impact on Redick’s performance. When sharing the floor with Embiid, Redick has registered a 106.2 offensive rating, which drops to 99.2 when Embiid is resting. Furthermore, Embiid thus far has assisted on 24 of Redick’s baskets this season, leading all players on the Sixers’ roster, with Simmons second with 20 assists.
Never was this more evident than the Sixers’ most recent contest against the Orlando Magic. Despite the arrival of All-Star Jimmy Butler, Embiid assisted on four of Redick’s eight baskets for the game, with his remaining assists spread among four Sixers teammates.
Naturally, it’s hard to ascertain just how much their partnership will flourish with the arrival of another ball-dominant player in Butler. However, the sentiments that have been expressed and the respect they have for one another should ensure this partnership continues to evolve and improver as the Sixers attempt to climb into the upper echelon of teams around the league.