Attempting (poorly) to project the Sixers potential rotations going forward

Written by Dan Morgan (@dansaysthat)

Shoutout to @EarlyBirdRights for this application


With a plethora of Sixers likely to miss today's game vs Phoenix, I have decided to also sit this one out and use my energy elsewhere. Namely, looking at two different cases for figuring out rotations for the Sixers based on two possible upcoming scenarios.


Scenario One: Joel Embiid is unavailable

As of writing this, the only confirmed news we have regarding Embiid's ankle injury, which he suffered Sunday night against Portland, is that he is out tonight vs Phoenix, but is expected back soon. With the Sixers history, that could be tomorrow against Toronto or the middle of next season. Projecting the lineup without Embiid and Simmons is a dreary, headache inducing, and futile exercise. A familiar sentiment with Sixers fans...


So obviously that's just what I did!



So i'll do my best to streamline my thought process here, but there are obviously a few disclaimers, such as: obviously game situations dictate lineups, minutes, and there is a lot of variance unaccounted for in such a concrete example. Relax. Again, it is a futile exercise. Also, to remind you, thank you to @EarlyBirdRights for this tool. Feel free to go check it out yourself and send us your attempts at deciphering this pile of dog shit that is a Simmons/Embiid - less Sixers rotation.


With that said, here were some of my thought processes in building this:

  1. I want either Josh Richardson or Tobias Harris on the floor at all times.

  2. I want Alec Burks on the court if Josh Richardson isn't.

  3. Raul Neto and Kyle O'Quinn are dead to me.

  4. Matisse and GRIII both could probably use a few more minutes, and Mike Scott/Norvel Pelle could use less, but I'm assuming in this case the average lineup we're facing has some sort of typical center and power forward, and we do not have the skill to dictate the matchups, thus we have to have bodies available to size up, even if it's not pretty.

  5. Probably making it more than it is, but I like the idea of playing Burks and GRIII together. They were having success together in Golden State so why not give it a shot?

  6. I capped JRich, Tobias, and Horford at 34 minutes as a safe average, but clearly situationally any could play more, but i don't like the idea of any of them averaging much more than 34 over a stretch of games.


Scenario Two: Embiid returns for a series against Boston

The biggest mistake we can make at this point is trusting a Sixers medical staff provided time table for return. However, we will take it for what it's worth and expect Embiid back by Game 1, which will likely be against the three seed Boston Celtics. Embiid's return to the bench Sunday and positive demeanor would give me some hope this ankle injury is minor, and at this point the Sixers may just be conceding to face Boston, rest, and also try to ensure they receive the OKC Pick.


Boston provides an interesting connundrum for both teams: who can force the other to play to their style? Philadelphia has built it's team on size and forcing Boston to need to have an extra forward out there, or at the very least, maintain having a traditional center, could be advantageous for the Sixers. Boston however, ideally would like to force the Sixers to use their bench wings to try to defend the plethora of offensive creators they have in Walker, Hayward, Brown, and Tatum.


So let's dive into it...


Same goes for the first example: clearly there will be game situations, and especially as already mentioned, forced matchups created by either team. Feel free to hit us up with your thoughts and ideas on Twitter (@processpotables)


With that said, here were some of my thought processes in building this:

  1. I want either Joel Embiid or Tobias Harris on the floor at all times.

  2. Embiid and Horford are the only playable centers.

  3. Raul Neto and Kyle O'Quinn are dead to me.

  4. Brett seems to like having Josh and Embiid together, and they seem to like playing together as well, so I basically lined up their minutes.

  5. Same as before, if Josh is out, Burks is in.

  6. Same as before on pairing Burks and GRIII, but it was much less of an emphasis with Embiid available.

  7. My projection is leaning toward Boston forcing us to need extra perimeter defense, so you see both Matisse and GRIII approaching 30 minutes. This is assuming the Sixers need to defend lineups with Walker, Smart/Hayward, Brown, and Tatum. I don't like Horford and Embiid together in those situations.

  8. Josh at point guard has been a disappointment this season, but I trust him more than Shake if he's pressured by someone like Marcus Smart, and it allows you to play Matisse and GRIII with him defensively, which I also like more than expecting Shake to defend the aforementioned Celtics.

  9. If you're looking for a way to increase Horford's minutes, there are two paths: 1. remove Mike Scott and adjust the staggering a bit, or 2. Embiid/Horford are so productive that Boston has to adjust, play another big, and you dictate the matchup. Again, I find that highly unlikely, so I did not account for it. The other issue in that scenario is Tobias becomes the SF, and I think he gets cooked whether that's Tatum or Brown or switched on to Walker.

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