Ten Thoughts on the Sixers’ Roster, Which is Nearly Complete

via ESPN

The Sixers signed Shake Milton and Marial Shayok this weekend, which I think we all knew was coming down the pike. Milton was given a four-year deal while Shayok, the second round draft pick, will occupy a two-way spot.

That brings the team to 13 players, plus the two-way guys:

  1. Joel Embiid
  2. Ben Simmons
  3. Al Horford
  4. Josh Richardson
  5. Tobias Harris
  6. Mike Scott
  7. Zhaire Smith
  8. Jonah Bolden
  9. Matisse Thybulle
  10. Kyle O’Quinn
  11. James Ennis
  12. Raul Neto
  13. Shake Milton
  14. ??
  15. ??
  16. Norvel Pelle (two-way)
  17. Marial Shayok (two-way)

You can leave one of those spots open, as the Sixers did last season, using that 15th slot for flexibility. And it doesn’t result in an incomplete roster charge, since the penalty only applies if your roster is fewer than 12 players.

I still think the Sixers could use a veteran shooter. Kyle Korver is a possible buyout candidate, with Woj reporting that the Lakers, Bucks, and Sixers are a possible landing spot. Avery Bradley is another guy who should be available after buyout. You could take a stab at Trey Burke or bring in Jamal Crawford for some ultra-veteran influence. Hard to believe he played 64 games last year at age 38.

Ten thoughts on the roster, after the jump:

  • This is a massive team. Josh Richardson is the shortest guy in the starting lineup at 6’6″. There’s no reason why this squad shouldn’t finish top five in defense and top five in rebounding.
  • The big-man rotation will be interesting. I personally would sit Embiid for every back-to-back game, regardless of the circumstances, and move Horford to the five in those scenarios. Then you have options – move Tobias Harris to the four, play Kyle O’Quinn behind Horford, etc. If you really want to, you can still play small ball with Mike Scott when necessary. There’s a lot for Brett Brown to work with in the front court.
  • I think Shake Milton did a decent job of handling the ball this past weekend in Summer League, but I think I like Neto better as a backup ball handler. You can then play Shake next to him at the two, with Ennis or Thybulle or Smith at the three, etc.
  • Horford is a great screen-setter and should fit in nicely in Brown’s motion offense. Look for the Sixers to cut back on pick and roll this year with Jimmy Butler out of the picture. Richardson will be given plenty of clean looks in this system, along with Tobias Harris, and one of those two is gonna have to pick up JJ Redick’s scoring burden.
  • I’m interested to see how Tobias does at the three. He’s capable of switching, but you certainly don’t want him getting matched up frequently with the likes of Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Kemba Walker on the perimeter.
  • Horford gives you another option for defending Giannis Antetokounmpo, which is massive. With Kawhi Leonard going to the west, Milwaukee is the biggest threat in the east, and having two ways to defend Giannis without running Joel Embiid into the ground is a “big fucking deal,” as Joe Biden once said.
  • A popular Twitter rumor: trade Jonah Bolden. I don’t necessarily have an opinion on that, but the Sixers do have depth in the front court and I think Norvel Pelle has looked good this summer.
  • Remember when this team desperately needed wing defenders? You now have Thybulle, Smith, and Ennis coming off the bench.
  • There will be rough shooting patches for this team. I think Tobias Harris is going to have to take a big step forward as a go-to guy, somebody who can get you a bucket in a tough spot, since Butler’s shot creation is gone.

Last, and most importantly, is thought number ten:

All of these additions mean absolutely nothing if Embiid and Simmons come back as the same players they were last season. Joel and Ben have to take the next step, and for Embiid it’s this:

  1. improve his conditioning
  2. do a better job recognizing digs and double teams
  3. cut down on goofy turnovers by one per game
  4. PERHAPS – improve to 34-35% on trailing three point shots

For Ben, it’s:

  1. develop a reliable mid-range jump shot
  2. get his free throw percentage up to the 65-70% range.
  3. understand that you are big enough and strong enough to get to the rim at will
  4. show a better command of running the half court offense in late game and playoff situations

That’s pretty much it, otherwise we get another season of Simmons driving into a double team and kicking out to a wide-open Embiid at the three-point line, where he regressed to 30% last year. Ben with a jump shot solves the “walling off” problem, unless Joel becomes a good enough three-point shooter that teams abandon the Simmons double and try to close out Embiid instead.

But it’s a great roster, certainly capable of going to the NBA finals. I am very curious to see how this squad looks on the court, and I hope we’ve seen the last of possessions like this one:


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15 Responses

  1. Do you have an opinion about how much Zhaire Smith will contribute this season? It feels to me like we have two new first round picks with potential.

    1. not sure from a shooting perspective, but he’s shown some crazy athleticism in summer league, feels like one of he/Thybulle/Ennis needs to be a consistent three-point threat to really stand out among the group

      1. Thybulle shows MUCH more promise in this regard than smith who looks invisible on offense.

  2. Why do you think Josh Richardson will need help to take over JJ’s scoring? His 2018 PPG were less than 2 off of JJ’s numbers and he’s coming to a team where he will arguably be the lowest priority starter for the other team’s defense to handle.

  3. This is awesome!
    New losers to replace the old losers.
    Meanwhile Simmons still can’t shoot and Imbiid is still an over weight bloated oft injured

    As my pappy Anakin said: “Their Failure is now complete”

    1. Anybody remember Chrissy’s boobies on Threes Company? You can bet Mr Roper does.

  4. Why wouldn’t the SUXERS send fucking SImmons to the dogshit Summer League and tell him to hoist 50 threes a game? Don’t fucking tell me that they are trying to develop the rookies…the only thing worse than an NBA game is a summer league NBA game FUCK EMBIID FUCK SIMMONS FUCK THE FUCKING PROCESS

  5. Why didnt this team sign Morris for 2 years 20 million?Brutal Gm and Organization

    1. Easy. Spineless owner caved in to peer pressure, thus the only good gm the franchise ever had, left. When you account for the fact the suxx0rs have a bottom 3 front office (imo the outright worst), their moves make perfect sense.

  6. That’s a treadmill team if I ever saw one. I will ask again, why is it that when Magic Johnson built a team of slow guys who can’t throw the ball in the bucket, it was criticized, yet when clunker Elton builds pretty much the same thing it is genius and getting called best team in the East? On that note the true measure of a team is how they’d fare in the West. And I struggle to see how this squad would be higher than a 9th seed there.

  7. A little light on the white boys. While Philly is not Boston or Utah as a fan base (thank God), all those people in the seats do love them a little scrappy white boy or some kind of hulking ass Euro. I hear Jimmer is available and he will shoot without conscience.

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