T.J. McConnell will need more consistency on offense in playoffs

T.J. McConnell has been a solid backup point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers this season, but his production will have to be more consistent during the playoffs.

McConnell has started two games for the Sixers this season, and his most recent one was Monday night against the Orlando Magic; he started in place of Ben Simmons, who was out with a stomach virus. McConnell scored two points and dished out two assists during the Sixers’ 119-98 loss to the Magic.

Throughout the season, McConnell’s best quality has been his ability to hustle. He’s particularly skilled at stealing the ball off of inbounds passes, and he’s a good defender. His abilities on offense consist of being able to drive into the lane and find pockets within defenses to score, as he can routinely hit fadeaway jumpers in and around the paint.

With the playoffs coming up, McConnell will need to consistently produce on the offensive end. In the past six games, McConnell has averaged 3.2 points per game, and he’s averaging 6.2 points for the season.

McConnell isn’t meant to come off the bench and score points; no one on the Sixers’ bench really has that role. But since the Sixers don’t have a go-to scorer off the bench, McConnell will need to contribute on offense as much as possible.

Along with defending well and finding ways to score in the paint, McConnell also has done a solid job of maintaining the Sixers’ offense while Simmons rests on the bench.

McConnell has played in 68 games, and when he is on the floor the Sixers have an offensive rating of 107.4, according to NBA.com. When Simmons is off the floor, the Sixers have an offensive rating of 107.7. These numbers make sense, especially considering McConnell has been the primary backup point guard this season.

When McConnell comes in, the Sixers are losing Simmons’ size and ability to guard multiple positions; but they aren’t losing overall defensive production.

That’s because McConnell is a good defender. He is quick, and he’s able to stick with most guards in the league. When McConnell is on the floor, the Sixers have a defensive rating of 107.0; Philly has a defensive rating of 110.3 when he is off the floor.

The improvements McConnell has to make for the playoffs come on the offensive end, though. The Sixers’ depth has improved since the trade deadline, as James Ennis III, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott have played key roles in this last stretch of the regular season.

But even with the team’s depth improving, McConnell must use his quickness in the playoffs more to get into the lane and score for the Sixers to have as much production as possible from their bench.

 

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