Which Sixers bench players will feature heavily in playoff rotation?

LOS ANGELES, CA – MARCH 01: Philadelphia 76ers Forward Furkan Korkmaz (30) drives to the basket during a NBA game between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Clippers on March 1, 2020 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)

Can’t Quite Make the Cut:

Tyrese Maxey

The 20-year old rookie had an extremely impressive start to the season which led expectations to reach a sky-high level.

Outside of the select few designated studs, it is extremely uncommon for a rookie to be ready to play the crunch time of games. Tyrese Maxey had his only season of college shut down early due to the COVID-19 outbreak. This also made his transition to the NBA even more difficult as there was no summer league and extreme limitations on training camp this year.

Although Maxey proved to be far more developed than expected in the early part of the season, he is not ready to be in a postseason rotation. Maxey still shows an unwillingness to shoot the jump shot, especially in catch-and-shoot situations.

The Kentucky product excels with his floater game and ball-handling ability which would be an asset on the court. However, the unwillingness to shoot, perhaps due to the 27.3% three-point percentage he currently has, largely makes him unplayable at this point and Doc Rivers has made it clear Maxey is the first guy out of the rotation at this point.

While I certainly believe Maxey has earned more time than he has been given, it will be a couple years down the line before he is a true contributor. Tyrese still holds a bright future in the NBA, but he is one of the biggest trade pieces that the Sixers hold and it is possible he is flipped for a player who could make a more immediate impact in the playoff rotation.

Mike Scott

Similar to Tobias Harris, Mike Scott is another player who Doc Rivers is familiar with from his time coaching the Clippers. When Scott was first traded to Philly, he looked to be a perfect fit as a role player. He brought toughness to the team and added 7.8 points per game while shooting 41.2% from beyond the arc.

Scott still carries himself with the perfect mentality of a role player but is a notch below the talent level that the team currently requires. He has been in and out of the lineup due to injury all year and held on a minutes restriction for most of the season because of this.

Last night’s victory over the Pacers was Scott’s first real chance to show what he could do as he added 11 points and 4 rebounds while shooting 3 for 3 from beyond the arc as he was given a start due to the absence of Tobias Harris.

Despite last night’s positive showing, Mike Scott should not be looked at as a guy to lean on in a playoff rotation. At 32-years-old and his body seems to be beginning to catch up to him, it appears likely Scott’s best days are behind him.

As the only other power forward on the roster outside of Tobias Harris, Scott would currently be forced to play a role in the playoffs. Addressing this need is key for the Sixers before the deadline passes by.

Bottom of the Bench

The rest of the bench is rounded out by Terrance Ferguson, Tony Bradley, Vincent Poirier, Isaiah Joe, and the young two-way players’ Paul Reed and Rayjon Tucker.

Each player has their own individual strengths and weaknesses, but in short, they are not capable of playing a role in a contending team’s playoff rotation.

Isaiah Joe is the most likely candidate to play a role this year as he has also proved to be more developed than expected at this point. The defense he brings to the table is a notch above Furkan Korkmaz and he has a similar shooting mentality. The Arkansas rookie was recently sent down to the G-League to get some time, but Doc Rivers made it clear that he will be back shortly.

In short, none of these guys should be off limits and it is likely some combination from this group will be needed to be included in a trade to make the money work.

The Sixers’ current bench still holds a great amount of upside due to its youth. This is promising, but the team should put their focus on sacrificing their youth in order to get the best available top 8 for the playoff rotation. The bench is still better than it has been in most years but needs to be upgraded to be fully prepared for playoff success.

Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire