What we learned in the Sixers’ first exhibition game

Ah, sports are back in the air. As the real stuff may still be a week away, we got just a glimpse of what we can expect from the Sixers heading back into the season. Friday afternoon, the Sixers and Grizzlies squared off in a matinee matchup. The Sixers came out on top, defeating the Grizzlies 90-83.

Ben Simmons

Let’s just address the elephant in the room first: Ben Simmons shot three-pointers– and looked incredibly comfortable doing so.

In only 22 minutes, Simmons neared triple-double territory with nine points, nine assists, and seven rebounds. Three of those points came from a corner three, one of the two he attempted on the afternoon. His three steals led the entire game as well, tying Matisse Thybulle.

Coach Brett Brown described how he wanted Ben to shoot more threes. Even though he may not necessarily need to, this could be the jump that the Sixers need to get over the hump. With Ben proving his worth at the arc, teams will have to begin giving him more attention, opening up the floor.

Shake ‘N Bake

Brett Brown went public with saying that the Sixers will start Shake Milton at point guard, moving Simmons to the forward position, and pushing Al Horford to the bench. After one game of doing so, it looked to have worked out in the Sixers’ favor.

Shake Milton started the game with some swagger, wearing a headband and looking like a starter before the game even started. This man even took a charge in an exhibition game, which was followed up by a made three-pointer off of a great high post handoff from Ben Simmons. Shake just wants it.

He may have only put up six points, but the entire team looked so much more… in place. As Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice pointed out, Josh Richardson’s minutes were attached to Embiid’s this season. However, J-Rich stayed out on the court with the first subs, displaying the new-look rotation for Philadelphia. As for Big Al, he picked up a 5/5/2 stat line in about 19 minutes. Fans should be excited about this new starting lineup.

Odds and Ends

  • There were a few questions heading into this playoffs, with the first being if Marial Shayok would make his way into the rotation. He picked up three garbage time minutes, scoring two points. It’s safe to say he won’t be a regular quite yet.
  • Joel Embiid looked very conditioned. He didn’t control the ball down low much, but this wasn’t due to laziness. Embiid was being used in many pick-and-roll situations in the scrimmage. He’ll likely get much more touches in the post moving forward.
  • On a more fun note, Matisse Thybulle isn’t just some Youtuber. After posterizing Jaren Jackson Jr., he managed to play stellar defense. He also picked up three steals in 16 minutes of play.

Up Next:

Thanks to fellow Sixers’ writer David Esser, here is the remaining scrimmage schedule. The Sixers will tip off against the Pacers on August 1st at 7 p.m. to kick off the real action.

Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

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