The NBA is finally back, and more importantly, Sixers basketball is finally back. After a hiatus which honestly felt like a few years long, Philadelphia sports fans are finally going to be able to watch their 76ers play some ball.
Brett Brown and the Sixers will be starting things off with a few exhibition games, as each team gets three scrimmages to ramp themselves back into shape. Philly kicks off their resumed season with a match-up against the 8th seed Memphis Grizzlies, and there are definitely a few storylines worth watching out for.
What will the rotations look like?
While it’s more than likely that teams and coaches will use this time to experiment with lineups and rotations (look no further than the Denver Nuggets starting Nikola Jokic at point guard), it’s reasonable to assume we’ll see at least a handful of minutes for the Sixers “playoff rotation”. Brett Brown has spent the last few weeks talking about how he plans on shaking things up, now it’s time to see if he’s a man of his word.
If any of these three scenarios don’t commence for at least a few minutes during the scrimmage against Memphis, it could very well signal Brett Brown not being fully committed to a reinvented playoff rotation.
Who will emerge as the team’s “seventh man”?
Unless he sneaks his way back into the starting five, it’s safe to say Horford will be the team’s stereotypical sixth man down in Orlando, However, when it comes to who will be the second man off the bench, it’s a tad more ambiguous.
Mike Scott has the experience, Glenn Robinson III and Alec Burks are the flashy trade acquisitions, Matisse Thybulle is a menace on defense, and Furkan Korkmaz has really come into his own as a scorer this season. For the most part, the seventh man in the rotation will likely be run on a “who’s hot?” type basis. Whoever is hitting shots down will get to play the most, it’s that simple.
If one of the above-mentioned names comes out scorching hot during the Grizzlies scrimmage, that could seriously improve his stock as a bench piece moving forward.
Everyone’s physical shape
And lastly, this is the first time we’ve seen everyone on the roster play competitive basketball in months. Prior to the league’s shutdown, Ben Simmons had a nerve injury in his back, Joel Embiid was coming off a hand injury, Josh Richardson had pulled his hamstring twice, and both Al Horford and Tobias Harris were reportedly dealing with nagging injuries.
If everyone on the team is healthy and in fantastic shape, this is a Sixers squad who could do some serious damage. If everyone is out of shape and still rehabbing, they could end 2020 in disastrous fashion. Whatever the outcome is, we’ll likely know about ten minutes into Friday’s scrimmage.
Mandatory Credit: Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports