Sixers at Trail Blazers Grades
Contributors: Steve Jones (@swjones87) and Dan Morgan (@dansaysthat)
With the NBA season back in action, Process Potables will be bringing you a graded recap of the Sixers' players for every game until it's all said and done. Feel free to send us your thoughts to any of the above contributors, or the network in general (@processpotables)!
11 points, 0 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, -4
SJ: C. Besides the flagrant foul committed by CJ McCollum, Shake Milton had very little impact. This was a little disappointing given that Portland isn’t a very good team defensively. Shake has shown the ability to make just about any shot and is improving distributing the ball. Taking into consideration his lack of experience, I will take a mixed bag of a game as long as they’re nothing close to his Indiana performance.
DM: D. Shake has to be more of a playmaker without Ben Simmons. It's one thing to be adjusting to life with both Embiid and Simmons out there. In that situation I can understand Shake having his struggles as we saw early against the Pacers. With both of them sidelined, the opportunity for Shake to at least somewhat return to pre-quarantine form exists and I have no reason to believe he isn't capable of someting close to it, at the very least, something more than what we're seeing.
34 points, 5 rebounds, 6 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +1
SJ: A-. Richardson had himself a career game, going 6 for 10 from three, and carrying the Sixers the entire game offensively. This is quite the opposite of his first four performances, and many (myself included) have been very tough on Josh Richardson. If Sixers have any chance into the playoffs without Simmons AND Embiid, Bret Brown will need Richardson to carry the offense. Now, shooting 60% from 3 and getting over 30 points each and every night would be unrealistic, but if Richardson can manager 20+ points a game, which includes some three point shooting and driving, we may have a chance after all. Only reason he gets a minus after his “A” is because he could not handle a pissed off and highly motivated Damian Lillard, not even on one possession (but in Richardson’s defense, who else can stop Dame?).
DM: A+. It only felt right that once the entire city (except Marty Teller) was ready to be done with Josh that he has one of the five best single performances a Sixer has had all season. The unfortunate part, if you need one, is that this is now going to set an absurd bar for the next few games that I completely expect Josh to not reach and the narrative to begin again about needing to move him after one very up and down season. Regardless, this was a joy to watch and when Josh shoots like this, it really does make you believe he could be a great fit here.
16 points, 7 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, -7
SJ: B-. Harris had a hard time getting himself going early in the game, especially after Embiid went out. In the first half, Harris was forcing shots in an attempt to make-up for Embiid’s scoring. You can essentially wrap Tobias' entire night into one play:
DM: C-. If you've been reading, I've been making it a point to give Harris proper credit for great performances even when "box score fans" want to trash him. This was a stinker though. The box score is actually more flattering than the performance I saw from Harris. I know he isn't a "number one" player, but when two high-usage guys are both out, Harris got paid to step up to some degree, and the Sixers will need that if they have any intention of making noise in these final three games, or even a first round series with Miami or Boston.
2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 blocks, 0 steals, -6
SJ: N/A. It would be unfair to grade Embiid in only 6 minutes of play before leaving with a left ankle injury. Not enough time to get going, and not much of an impact other than getting Nurkic into early foul trouble. Good news was that he eventually returned to the bench and cheering on his teammates for the remainder of the game. There also appeared to be no signs of pain or limping after coming back from the locker room – but either way, lets hope for the best as his injury could not have come at a worse time following Simmon’s injury.
DM: F. He doesn't get an F for getting injured, but prior to that Embiid looked sluggish and disinterested. I am not usually one to speculate, but it really did sort of feel like Embiid went out there, wasn't feeling it, and conveniently had a minor tweak to get the night off. If you're annoyed reading that, believe me, i'm annoyed writing it. It probably isn't the case, but it's just what it looked like by watching him prior to the injury. Hopefully, he only misses 1-2 games, gets a little extra rest, and has enough in the tank to at least give us a fun first round series.
15 points, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 block, 0 steals, -7
SJ: B-. This stat line would’ve been very good had this been Al Horford the Sixth Man, but tonight and for the remainder of the season, we are getting Al Horford,the Starter. He had his spurts where he was passing the ball very well, and made a timely 3 with 13 seconds left in the 4th quarter to pull within one point of Portland. However, Horford had limited minutes in the second half due to foul trouble and also turned the ball over four times. With Embiid likely out for the next few games, we will need Al Horford, the Starter, to step-up (and preferably, the Boston Celtic version of Al Horford).
DM: B. Steve said it well, theres a difference in expectations for Horford when he starts instead of coming off the bench, even with our now dwindling expectations for him from the start. The counter would be for some reason he did not see many minutes (22) considering Embiid went out after only playing six. If Horford maintains this output but you add on closer to 30 minutes, it's enough on his part to try and keep the Sixers afloat. He is far from the guy I expect at this point to make a large leap to offset Embiid and/or Simmons, even though his contract would say otherwise.
7 points, 1 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steals, -5
SJ: C-. Korkmaz made one 3-point field goal and did draw a foul while shooting another three (but only went 2/3 from the line).He continues to get to the line and attempt a few threes in very limited minutes, but at the same time has a hard time making an impact otherwise.
DM: D. Furk suddenly seems wary of pulling the trigger and in my opinion is falling out of favor with Brett Brown. I wouldn't be surprised if GRIII gets further involved as he returns from injury, and if Mike Scott can be servicable as he was last night, even with guys injured, Korkmaz may be the odd man out rotation wise.
20 points, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +1
SJ: A. Burks provided another strong performance off the bench. He was aggressive with both driving to the lane as well as shooting beyond the arc. Should Embiid’s absence be long, Bret is going to heavily rely on Burks to create offense off the bench. He was only 1 of 4 from three tonight, but has shot the ball extremely well in the prior 4 games. As long as Bret continues to trust Burks running the bench unit, I think he can be our most reliable three point shooter on the team.
DM: A. Can't ask much more of Burks now in back to back games. Burks is the X-factor in my opinion in a first round series at this point, assuming you get Embiid back. Burks can absolutely steal a game or two in the fourth if he's as hot as he's looked lately, and the Sixers haven't had that in either of the past two years. His issue of course will be: if you extend his minutes even more, how much impact does it have on an already poor Sixers defense?
2 points, 9 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 blocks, 3 steals, +4
SJ: C-. Matisse played 33 minutes off the bench with the team high in rebounds and steals. However, he continues to be lost in the offense – and at this point he will have to play through his mistakes. No one else on the team has his defensive ability and athleticism. Late in the game, Brett used Matisse to face-guard Lillard a few times, and matched him on McCollum when Richardson took Lillard on, showing the trust they have in the rookie. This is great experience of him regardless of the outcome. He hasn't always had success, but the fruits of this labor will show in the years to come.
DM: C-. We talked about Matisse at length on the newest podcast, but what I will say about Matisse's performance in this one was that his energy seemed to be a big motivator for an undermanned Sixers team, obviously mostly on the defensive end. What concerned me as usual was how often he was a non-factor on offense, especially with more high-energy lineups out there that would maybe fit him more than just spotting up waiting for a pass when paired with Embiid and/or Simmons. Matisse will need to find his place in this offense both with and without the superstars.
9 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +5
SJ: B. Mike Scott’s only memorable play was his 3 pointer that put the Sixers up by 4 with 8:39 remaining in the 4th Quarter. However, I was quite surprised that he handled the back-up center minutes far better than either Pelle or O’Quinn. Expectations are obviously tempered when you have a 6’8” forward playing center, but I really liked how aggressive he was with Nurkic, knowing that he was one call away from fouling out the game. It’s not ideal, but depending on the matchup, it could be work in a pinch when neither Embiid nor Horford are available.
DM: B+. This was honestly the most you should expect from Mike Scott and i'm fine with it. This was a nice return to form for Scott, and I think Brett may lean on him as he tends to with veterans come playoff time. The one thing you can count on Scott for over a lot of Sixers is he isn't afraid to pull the trigger. All we can do is hope they go in.
Glenn Robinson III
4 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, +2
SJ: C. GRIII was a non-factor in his 17 minutes off the bench, but gets a pass given it’s his first time playing real minutes since the restart. He looked especially rusty offensively in the first half, but so was everyone except JRichl. As we’ve noted in previous editions of these game recaps, it will be interesting to see how his play compares to Thybulle’s come playoff time.
DM: C+. The only positive for me is just seeing GRIII get back out there, play decent minutes, and get some semblance of rhythm. I am buying low on GRIII prior to the playoffs and expect him to be a contributor and probably get 20 minutes a game minimum.
1 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, -2
SJ: C-. Pelle had an underwhelming performance, as his first play in the game he missed a rather easy alley-oop from Shake Milton. The last play of the first quarter did result in Pelle blocking Carmelo Anthony, but early in the 2nd quarter he literally gave the ball away to Mario Hezonja. Both Pelle and O’Quinn’s lack of ability to make an impact was why we saw Mike Scott play some small ball 5 toward the end of the game.
DM: A+. Blocking a future Hall of Famer that I hate at the rim is all i need to give Pelle the top grade for this game, regardless if that's the only thing he accomplished. Please, just don't play KOQ over him, like, at all, ever again.
Kyle O’Quinn, F
0 points, 2 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +3
SJ: F. Kyle O’Quinn’s five minutes were a gift from Bret Brown – and in these few minutes, has shown why he remains glued to the bench. O’Quinn took two very poor, unnecessary three point attempts very early in the shot clock, the first of which was when the team was down by 16 points. With Embiid out of the game in this point and Horford needing rest, O’Quinn didn’t do himself any favors.
DM: F. Don't play him. Ever again. Please. Stop.