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76ers center Joel Embiid: ‘I don’t like shooting 3s’

New Orleans Pelicans v Philadelphia 76ers

PHILADELPHIA, PA - NOVEMBER 21: Joel Embiid #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers shoots the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans at the Wells Fargo Center on November 21, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)

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After the 76ers traded for Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid said he disliked his new role.

Embiid remains willing to explain his preferred playing style.

Embiid, via Tim Bontemps of ESPN:

“I don’t like shooting 3s,” Embiid said. “I only do it because of the spacing that we have, and sometimes I have to take them. I have to be on the perimeter, just getting guys open, because of all the attention that sometimes it seems are presented to me.

Initially, it seemed Embiid would be a perfect modern center, willing and able to shoot 3-pointers. But his 3-point attempt rate has dropped slightly, and his 3-point percentage has dropped precipitously – 37% to 31% to 28%.

Philadelphia point guard Ben Simmons is the rare backcourt player who just doesn’t shoot 3s. He’s a very good player, but that deficiency makes it tricky to build a sound offense with good spacing. Forwards Butler and Wilson Chandler are solid, though not great, from beyond the arc. J.J. Redick can’t singlehandedly shoot enough 3s to spread the floor himself.

So, it falls to Embiid. If he loathes this role as much as he says, that complicates his future with Simmons. It’s hard to see Simmons developing into a strong 3-point shooter. If Butler re-signs, he’ll fill one starting spot with a sub-elite floor spacer long-term. That’d keep pressure on Embiid to shoot 3s.

This doesn’t mean Embiid and Simmons can’t play together. But their shared disdain for 3s is something to be overcome.