Thoughts on the Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers are currently 39-30, having gone 7-3 in their last ten to become the sixth seed in the East and capable of being the third seed. Here is a breakdown of their roster and thoughts on the team going forward.

 

Roster Breakdown:

Starters:

Joel Embiid,C  23.6ppg, 11.2rpg, 1.8 bpg:

Embiid has been the centerpiece of the Sixers’ offense all season as he has a usage rate of 33.6%, the highest on the team. Turnovers have been an issue as he’s averaging 3.9 per game and has a turnover rate of 15.9% per 100 possessions. Embiid obviously has a long history of injuries, so keeping him healthy will be important for the Sixers.

Ben Simmons, PG 16.2 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 7.8 apg

For a player who provides basically no threat as a shooter, Simmons has made an immediate impact for the Sixers without making a single three to this point on the season. Last week was one of Simmons’ best on the season as he had three triple doubles, passing Magic Johnson as the player with the second most triple-doubles in their rookie season. Simmons has 9 and Oscar Robertson had 26 in 1960-61, so he’ll be satisfied with being second on the list.

J.J. Redick,SG 16.7 ppg, .900 FT%, .417 3PT%

Redick has had an impact as a veteran and sharpshooter for the Sixers in his first season with the team as 16.7 ppg is his career high. For a young team, Redick is one of the few players who has playoff experience.

Dario Saric,PF 14.9 ppg, 6.9 rpg, 2.6 apg

After starting the season in a slump, Saric has improved and been an important player for the Sixers this month. In ten games in March, Saric is averaging 16.0 ppg and is shooting 25-52 from three.

Robert Covington, SF 12.6 ppg, 5.5 rpg, .374 3PT%

Covington’s season started with him playing some of the best basketball of his career, lighting it up from three for a percentage of .467%. Covington went into a large slump as his percentage from three dipped to .294% in February. However, Covington seems to have regained his form as that number is up to .424% this month.

 

Relevant Backups:

 

Marco Belinelli, SG (stats with Philly) 15 games, 11.2 ppg, .909 FT%

Since signing with philly, Belinelli has proved to be the three-point shooter off the bench that Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot didn’t live up to be. Since signing with Philly, 50% of Belinelli’s attempts have come from three. The problem with Belinelli is that he is often too “trigger-happy” and continues to try to shoot his way out of bad shooting nights.

T.J. McConnell, PG 6.7ppg, 4.2 apg, 3.1rpg

McConnell was the sixth man for the Sixers up until Belinelli signed with the team. McConnell is now the second guy off the bench in most games. He’s not a great shooter, but McConnell is a strong defender and passer. The Philly fans love him almost as much as they love Embiid, and play “White Iverson” by Post Malone every time McConnell makes a highlight play.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF (stats with Philly) 10 games, 8.3ppg, 4.8 rpg

Ilyasova was signed as an upgrade to Trevor Booker as a shooter off the bench. Ilyasova has provided for Philly on occasions, helping them beat Charlotte with 18 points on March 2nd and a double-double against Brooklyn on March 11. However, Ersan has not been consistent off the bench.

Less important Backups:

Justin Anderson,SF

Anderson has struggled to stay healthy as he has only logged 30 games for Philly to this point in the season. It’s possible that Anderson may crack a spot in the rotation as he has played in 3 straight games, averaging 7.0 ppg during that span.

Amir Johnson,C

Johnson has had his biggest impact when Embiid does not play.

Richaun Holmes, C

Holmes does not always see action as he has played in just 16 out of 33 possible games in 2018. A high energy player, Holmes isn’t often in the game but when he’s on the court, you know he’s there.

Holmes vs Johnson:

Brett Brown, why is this a debate? During the most recent stretch of games, either Johnson or Holmes has played in a certain game without either one consistently taking a spot in the rotation. Without question, these minutes should go Richaun Holmes. In 14.9 mpg, Holmes gets 5.7 ppg and 4.4 rpg while Johnson averages 4.5ppg and 4.3 rpg in 15.2 mpg. But beyond the stats, Holmes provides an energy that Johnson can’t bring. During a game on February 24, the Sixers got down to the Orlando Magic in a game they should have been winning by more. When they put in Holmes, he grabbed 8 rebounds and helped spark a run that gave the Sixers the lead. Hopefully, the spot will be given to Holmes by playoff time.

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot,SG

Luwawu-Cabarrot has been a big disappointment for the Sixers this season. Expected to take a larger role in his second season, TLC’s three point percentage for his career is a poor .323%.

Jerryd Bayless,SG

That 3 year, $27m contract signed by Bayless in the summer of 2016 does not look like a good one for the Sixers. After starting in the beginning of the year, Bayless hasn’t played in 13 games.

James Young,SG

Young signed on a two-way deal and has played five games for the team but is unlikely to make an impact on the Sixers’ success.

Demetrius Jackson, PG

Two-way deal player who hasn’t played yet for the Sixers and likely won’t make an impact.

Furkan Korkmaz,SG

A player who spends a lot of his time in the G-league, Korkmaz has been out since Dec.12 with a foot injury.

And of Course… Markelle Fultz

I am the last person to rule him a bust. I’ll hit on his situation later so read on…

Remaining Schedule

Mar.21 vs MEM, Mar.22 @ORL, Mar. 24 vs MIN, Mar.26 vs DEN, Mar.28 vs NYK, Mar.30 @ATL, APR.1 @Charlotte, APR.3 vs BKN, APR.4 @Detroit, APR.6 vs CLE, APR.8 vs DAL, APR.10 @ATL, APR.11 vs MIL

In case you didn’t read through that (which is perfectly logical), it’s a very favorable schedule for the Sixers. Of their last 13 games, only 4 are against playoff teams and just 5 are on the road. Also, they never have to leave their time zone as the farthest game they’ll travel to is in Detroit. For the Pacers, 8 of their final 11 games are against playoff teams, so the Sixers will have the chance to pass them in the standings.

 

What seed will the Sixers get?

Realistically, the Sixers could be as high as the third seed or as low as the eighth seed. As I just noted, the Sixers have a very easy schedule during the final stretch. The Pacers have a tough schedule and so do the Wizards: 7 of the Wizards’ final 12 games are against playoff teams. Currently, the Sixers are listed as the sixth seed in the East. They are 1.5 games behind the three-seeded Cavaliers and have the same number of losses as the fifth seed Wizards and fourth seed Pacers. My prediction for the Sixers is that they’ll get the fourth seed and play Washington in the first round of the playoffs.

Full Predictions:

1.Raptors

2.Celtics

3.Cavaliers

4.76ers

5.Wizards

6.Pacers

7.Bucks

8.Heat

Finally, Will Markelle Fultz play this season?

After months of looking a like a major bust who had a  basketball form of the “yips,” Fultz’s shot is finally looking like the form that earned him the status of first overall pick in last year’s draft. The Sixers’ bench has not been great at any point this season and bringing in Fultz would take some of the stress off Ben Simmons and possibly help him with his turnover problems. Smart or not, this organization has been very cautious with “injured” players. If Fultz looks healthy, he should play for the Sixers.

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