Joel Embiid and Al Horford’s massive defensive potential

The Philadelphia 76ers identity this year is going to be built on the defensive end and it starts with Joel Embiid. Embiid has been the team’s cornerstone on defense, establishing himself as a premier post defender and an elite rim protector. The difference this year is that he will have some help under the hoop: Al Horford.

Last season, Tobias Harris was playing the power forward position next to Joel Embiid on defense and he held his own, relatively speaking. Harris is a big body and was quick enough to guard the stretch four players out on the perimeter. However, in the Philadelphia 76ers‘ expected starting lineup this year, Harris will move to the small forward position, a position he is much more familiar playing in.

Al Horford and Embiid will presumably alternate defending the power forwards and centers on opposing teams, depending on the more favorable defensive matchups. Even with Horford being shorter than Embiid, his basketball I.Q. is amazing and allows him to put himself in the right place at the right time to block shots and box out on rebounds.

Horford even garnered the nickname the “Embiid Stopper” as he seemed to lock down Joel, unlike any other player in the league whenever they matched up. The knowledge that Horford can and will impart on Embiid is going to make them an unstoppable defensive duo around the rim and I expect opposing points in the paint to drastically decrease this year when compared to last. Blocks and rebounds, offensive and defensive, can both be expected to increase with Horford and Embiid on the court at the same time.

Tim Duncan and David Robinson were nicknamed the Twin Towers for their dominant presence playing side by side for the San Antonio Spurs in the late 1990s and early 2000s. The duo wreaked havoc on opposing NBA teams and I believe Horford and Embiid have the potential to be the most impressive front court this league has seen, especially on defense, since the Twin Towers era.

Next: Ranking every player on the Sixers’ 2019-20 roster

As the saying goes, offense sells tickets, defense wins championships, which is exactly the ceiling the Sixers have if both players play up to their defensive potential this season.

Published at Fri, 13 Sep 2019 20:00:23 +0000

Source: Joel Embiid and Al Horford’s massive defensive potential.

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