Sixers vs. Celtics tonight at the Wells Fargo Center.

It’s a shame that fans can’t be in the building, but the local scribes are allowed to attend, so we’ll do our best to point out things we see in person that might be be apparent on the broadcast. Otherwise we’re going to be doing the same Zoom calls we’ve done for nine months now and will try our best to provide Philadelphia 76ers coverage you can count on.

Hopefully you’re excited to watch a new team play for a new coach under a new general manager. Doc Rivers will lead his squad against the Celtics team that swept Philly out of the bubble, but admitted this week that he’s not going to be doing very much coaching.

“I’ll probably be sitting down, taking notes, just like you guys,” Rivers said of his plans for this game.
“You may think I’m one of the Philly writers during the game. I don’t literally take notes, but I take a lot of mental notes. I’m gonna try to get them to play as much as possible, try not to use many timeouts. I know I will, but I really want them to get up and down the floor against another opponent. I’m not really worried about what the score is when I use a timeout. I think conditioning is really important, timing, our pace. The only way you really get that is by not stopping the game. I think watching some of the other preseason games the officials will stop it enough (laughs). Lot of ball stoppages, lot of fouls, lot of reviews. I want us to try to play as much as we can.”

That seems like a proper approach considering the brief training camp the Sixers have experienced leading up to the start of a new season. These guys need as many possessions and as many live ball reps as possible, and there’s no point junking it up by micro-managing a preseason game.

Rivers didn’t have much to say about a starting lineup or sixth man, not at this point in time. It could be Shake Milton, who started 24 games last year and displaced Al Horford about midway through the season.

“Shake can be a starter or a sixth man,” Rivers said Monday. “Shake is gonna be a heck of a basketball player. You can see it all over him. With him and Furkan (Korkmaz), that type of firepower off the bench, that’s going to make us really good.”

A couple of other notes/thoughts leading into this game:

  • Rivers sees Tyrese Maxey being on the ball more, but said he doesn’t see his team playing a point guard system and will run a motion scheme here.
  • Rivers said Mike Scott has had a really good camp and is doing more of what he wanted him to do in LA, which was shoot the ball and commit to playing defense.
  • So far, everything Doc has said basically mirrors what Brett Brown believed in. Pushing the pace, not concerned about Ben’s shooting, playing a motion offense to start out, etc. The one true departure is when Rivers said he is going to run a lot more pick and roll with this squad.
  • I’m interested to see if there’s any Seth Curry/Joel Embiid DHO/two-man game. Curry wasn’t necessarily that JJ Redick type of player, but Embiid was so effective in those elbow sets.
  • Will Simmons shoot a three? I’m setting the odds at +650.
  • Will Simmons make a three? Let’s set the odds at +3000.
  • Keep an eye on how Doc uses Tobias Harris. He should start at the four and he did a lot of pick and roll ball handling in Los Angeles.
  • Embiid seems to be in good shape right now and we’ll see how he moves up and down the floor.
  • Same with Simmons, who is returning from injury.
  • Rotationally, I think we all expect Milton to be the sixth man, then maybe Korkmaz? We’ll find out soon enough.
  • You probably will not see the Sixers play pick and roll drop coverage this year, which will be a nice change of pace.

All good things. It’s a fresh start for the Sixers, who stumbled into a championship winning coach and excellent GM who should have this team playing quality basketball again.