James Harden is officially a member of the Philadelphia 76ers. Once the initial excitement passes away, and once fans are able to swallow the loss of Seth Curry and Andre Drummond, fans will be left wondering how these two players’ roles can be replaced. First, it’s easy to see how Harden will take the role Seth Curry had and amplify it to another level, whether he plays shooting guard or point guard. Oddly enough, Andre Drummond’s role will be the hardest to replace.
Paul Reed and Charles Bassey are both interesting but cannot be trusted with a big-time role yet as neither have really contributed big-time minutes at this point. Paul Millsap is here, but he is undersized for the position, but still might be an effective low minute backup center. This means the Sixers may have to look at potential buyout candidates to fill that backup center position.
Robin Lopez is wasting away in Orlando as a backup center to Mo Bamba. The Magic attempted to trade Lopez at the deadline, but they were requesting a first-round pick as well, a price no team was willing to pay. Currently, he averages 17.8 minutes per game for Orlando, proving that he can contribute good minutes to any team. His average of 8.2 points per game would be fantastic for the 76ers, but on the downside, his rebounding comes nowhere near Andre Drummond’s.
Currently, Lopez is averaging 3.2 rebounds per game which carries a per 36 average of 7.6 rebounds per game. That’s not great for the 76ers, who rank dead last in rebounds per game with 42.1. Hopefully, Harden helps alleviate that pain, and if Lopez shows up and is able to spell Embiid and step in for the Embiid-less nights, then he is still a solid option for the 76ers.
If there is one area where Robin Lopez comes up short (rebounding), then Tristan Thompson would be the best player available to alleviate specifically that problem. Thompson is a notorious rebounder, holding career averages of 5.2 defensive rebounds and 3.4 offensive rebounds for a total of 8.5 rebounds per game.
Tristan Thompson would be the best option to replace Drummond as his playstyle is very similar. On offense, Thompson isn’t necessarily bad either. He is currently averaging fewer points than Robin Lopez, but not by much. Thompson is averaging 6.2 points per game on 50.3% shooting from the field in just around 15 minutes per game. He could fill in Drummond’s role almost perfectly.
Mike Muscala is an unsung Sixers hero as he single-handedly won a game for the Thunder that gave the Sixers a first-round draft pick that was used on star guard Tyrese Maxey. The only problem is that he seems to be the least likely to be bought out. Muscala is currently on the Oklahoma City Thunder and is shooting lights out from beyond the arc. He’s shooting 42.9 percent from deep and would immediately bring some fantastic floor stretching to the team.
Similar to Lopez, he is not a great rebounder, but in terms of offense, he is miles ahead of both players mentioned here. Muscala is averaging 8.0 points in just under 14 minutes a game. His per 36 points per game is insane at 20.9, showcasing just how efficient and incredible he is on the offensive side.
The Sixers may not have a great fit for the backup center position with Drummond being gone, but there are still many options that could become available within the coming days. Many players will be on their way out from teams, veterans that no longer fit with rebuilding teams need to find new homes with cheap deals. There will be ways to help the Sixers fill Andre Drummond’s role despite the Sixers not making a deadline trade.