Redick unafraid to critique Rivers’ lineup decisions originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia
Without Joel Embiid, the Sixers fell apart in the second half of Game 1 against the Heat. It was a predictable outcome before the game started: Embiid is the best player in the league, and without him the Sixers just aren’t the same team.
And yet this game was eminently winnable, which is why despite the adverse circumstances Sixers fans are irate on Tuesday morning.
Doc Rivers is catching flak for using DeAndre Jordan way too much, including in the starting lineup, and then after the game saying that Jordan will continue to start “whether you like it or not.”
MORE: 10 ugly stats (clang) from the 76ers’ Game 1 loss
Bold! And bad!
Luckily former Sixers sharpshooter and current ESPN analyst JJ Redick isn’t so blinded by his relationships with Rivers and Jordan that he’s afraid to tell the truth.
Redick appeared on ESPN’s ‘First Take’ on Tuesday morning and was extremely honest:
“The adjustment is not to look for James to score more. They had a lot of success when they went small and they attacked. They couldn’t buy a three-point bucket. And they also had a lot of success when they went to. that zone.
“To me this is more about, let’s adjust the lineup a little bit. DeAndre Jordan, as much as I love him – a dear friend – at this point I don’t think he should be starting in a playoff game. Start Paul Reed , and then at times go small with Tobias Harris and Georges Niang. Spread ’em out. Give Harden space, give Maxey space, give Tobias Harris space, and shoot threes. “
THANK YOU, JJ.
It seems like this should be beyond obvious, but Rivers for some reason is missing the point.
Take Jordan’s on / off net ratings from Monday night:
Small sample size? Sure, but what are the playoffs if not a series of small but extremely consequential sample sizes?
You can’t wait for regressions to mean or averages. You have to make win-now moves … now. Redick’s right: Rivers can’t wait to see what happens with Jordan, and he can’t pawn off the decision to his players, who he claims are in full support of Jordan getting playing time.
He needs to sit the veteran Jordan on the bench and play Reed, Charles Bassey, and some Paul Millsap – and also go small and get creative, like he said he’d do before Game 1 started.
The Sixers are in a tough spot, but that doesn’t mean this series is unwinnable. It only reaches that point if Rivers allows it to get there.