A look at the Sixers on theWings
Shooters, shooters, shooters have been the name of the game when building this area of the team. The biggest competition for minutes seems to be between Matisse Thybulle and Furkan Korkmaz. While Matisse has warmed the hearts of Philly fans in his time with the team so far in his career, he has looked skittish and tentative in his early preseason minutes.
His defensive prowess has still shown face at times, but given the modernization of this Sixers roster, it is essential for each wing to have the ability and willingness to shoot the ball and Matisse has not done anything to prove he can have progressed in this area thus far. In 24 minutes of preseason play, Matisse has scored a total of 1 point on 0-1 from the field.
On the other hand, Furkan Korkmaz has shown great strides in his game in his early preseason debut. “Korky” talked about his emphasis on ball-handling in the offseason and has put this on full display early on. He also has looked improved on the defensive end and his unconscious desire to shoot the rock has not been suppressed.
In the scrimmage against Indiana, Furkan scored 14 points and shot 4 of 6 from behind the 3-point arc. He also has shown a willingness to shoot the open 3 in transition which most would think is a positive given Doc Rivers’ emphasis on pace of play.
In addition to these two, the Sixers could also look toward Isaiah Joe, Tony Ferguson, Mike Scott, and Justin Anderson. While he has not caught fire yet, Isaiah Joe shows many similarities to Furkan Korkmaz and has proven to be more than willing to shoot the 3 given the 10.6 three-point attempts he launched last season in college.
Mike Scott also had an extremely impressive game against the Pacers, scoring 12 points on 4-6 from behind the arc and also knocking down a deep shot that was a fraction of a second behind the buzzer and did not count in the first quarter. Scott will likely play a major role in backing up Tobias Harris but could be counted on for a larger role if he continues to produce.
A changing of the guard
This is where the Sixers’ biggest asset lies. Led by Shake Milton and Tyrese Maxey, the Sixers will end the season in the discussion for the best bench guards in the league. An early candidate for Sixth man of the year, Shake Milton has shut down any whispers of last season being a fluke in the first two preseason games.
After a 19 point performance where he led all scorers against the Celtics, Shake followed this up with 15 points scored in the most recent game and played with the same confidence and composer that has become the norm. He has shown his ability to score from every level and his smooth jumper will allow him to be a legit scoring option for the Sixers on a nightly basis. While he seems in line to come off the bench in a 6th man role, Shake may even end up competing with Tobias Harris for the 3rd scoring option on this team by the end of the season.
I have fought to temper my hopes and expectations for Tyrese Maxey since the second he was drafted, and Maxey has done little to help with this. Despite sitting for 3 whole quarters before getting tossed in for his NBA debut, Maxey ended the first scrimmage with 8 points and 3 assists in 12 minutes of action.
He followed this up with an 11 point and 5 rebound performance in the most recent scrimmage against the Pacers. Maxey has proven capable of handling primary ball-handling duties despite the limited work in college and possesses a confidence and comfortability that is rare in a player so young. His jumper has not been put on full display yet, but Maxey has flashed an impressive first-step and a unique finishing ability around the rim.
Both of these players possess unique skillsets and are likely to greatly outplay the draft slots in which they attained them. Shake and Maxey are both capable of handling the ball and serving as a playmaker, but they also can create their own shots in a way that is not seen by many players on the Sixers roster in years past. At 24 and 20 years old, this young duo puts the Sixers in extremely good hands. Despite their youth, both will play an extremely important role in providing a scoring boost off the bench this season.
From top to bottom, the Sixers have greatly improved their roster since last year. The depth at key positions will make a significant difference as this team heads toward its playoff run. While many have shown concern for fan-favorites such as Matisse Thybulle and Justin Anderson seeing their playing time cut, the fact of the matter is this is a great problem to have. There has been a ton of attention brought to the complimentary starters that have been brought in, but the added talent to the bench may end up paying even greater dividends for this team.
Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire