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)!
6 points, 4 rebounds, 8 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +2
SJ: B. Shake finished with a career high 8 assists in this game – which is what we exactly need on the offensive end with Ben Simmons out of the lineup. Not very flashy, but he’s definitely the "bring your lunch pail and hardhat to work" kinda guy. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to see him shutdown MCW.
DM: C. I expected more from Shake in the absence of Ben Simmons based on how we saw him playing in late February and March. Not necessarily the Clippers game all the time, but he's going to need to consistently score in double figures and play average defense with his length to try to offset the loss of Simmons. The career high in assists is a nice nod to him getting more routine point guard duties, and hopefully the more time he gets in a more typical kind of role, the more comfortable he will get. This performance however, was not enough.
5 points, 0 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 blocks, 1 steal, +2
SJ: C+. (Editors note: I do not support this take) Josh Richardson appears to be the "most L.J. Smith Sixer" of all time. If you’re too young to remember who L.J was, trust me, you’re not missing out on anything. For those who do, he was the epitome of the player whose play always fell short of expectations. Ok, yes, I’m being harsh and mostly facetious here, but Josh Richardson just has not been the guy who I thought we were getting from Miami
(then again, almost everyone we trade for plays their best basketball before or after they’re traded).
He was a 2 of 12 from the field, including 1 of 5 from the field and no trips to the foul line. Again, his defensive skills do help mitigate his lack of offensive, but in the absence of Ben Simmons, it would be nice to see a little more scoring from JRich. However, I will give him and any other Sixer kudos for not turning the ball over in a game.
DM: D. I had a nice talk the other night with friend of the pod Marty Teller (@mwteller on Twitter, a must follow) and we do not at all agree on Josh Richardson right now. I think Josh is their best trade chip this summer, while Marty wants to run it back and see if Josh can fit better, and maybe even have the Sixers get him at a bargain coming off a down year. My concern here is it only takes one team to throw a bigger number at him to ruin that concept for the Sixers, and with Josh's talent and past success, I'm not confident on him signing any team-friendly deals. His play in the bubble so far has been a huge disappointment as i was hoping the time off to heal the nagging hamstring would give us a potential return to "Christmas time Josh Richardson", but we haven't seen him since.
23 points, 15 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +15
SJ: A. I did not have the intention of giving Tobias an “A” for his performance. For some reason, he did not seem to pass the eye test to me, especially in the first quarter. Harris was seen limping for a few moments after grabbing a board and landing his left ankle on a Magic player. At times afterwards, he seemed tired and all his missed shorts appeared to be short. With that said, he was the high man of the game with a +15 rating AND 15 rebounds. His better plays did also appear to happen when he was playing a more natural power forward or 4 role.
DM: A. I can't give Tobias the A+ that i want to, as he continues to be a monster in the bubble, only because of his poor shooting. However, as usual, Tobias finds a way to be productive, to help the team, and to be a leader. Tobias dominated the boards, especially offensively, and on a very off night still found a way to put up 23. That's the type of guy i'll go to bat for every time, and will continue to, even if it's in a blog that no one will read.
23 points, 13 rebounds, 1 assist, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +3
SJ: A. Embiid with another strong game, as he’s averaged 30 points and 13.5 rebounds in the four games of the NBA restart. Despite Nicola Vucevic being the best center he’s played this August, it did not curb his offensive output. Also, this was another game where Jo is showing consistency with passing out of double teams. Horford’s insertion did not seem to affect his interior post game either, by going 9 of 13 from the foul line. Also, he new shoes are fire. **inserts multiple fire emojis** (Editors note: we don't have emojis)
DM: B. First, the shoes are a huge disappointment, but I'm happy he finally is getting something out of this Under Armour deal, which has been one of the biggest paradoxes in sports branding in my lifetime. He sure didn't come out of the gate feeling himself in them however, as Embiid early kept settling for flat jumpers and seemed sluggish. He came through down the stretch however, and it was promising to see him and Horford appear to play pretty well against and undersized Magic team. This may be a pairing that could have success against a similar sized Boston team, albeit a far more talented team obviously.
21 points, 9 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 blocks, 0 steals, +4
SJ: B+. Horford looked great as he was inserted into the starting line-up for the first time since the restart. A few times, he seemed to struggle against the smaller Gary Clark, but otherwise Horford held his own both offensively and defensively. Not that anyone should expect Al to replicate Simmon’s playmaking ability in the lineup, but he impresses me with knowing his role offensively and allowing the offense to run through him. Sorta like his Boston days, the offense seemed very smooth when the offense starts at him and seems to set-up the "hockey assists".
DM: A+. This is the type of game we saw from Al when the Sixers started the season 5-0 and looked unstoppable. It was all downhill from there for Al, but maybe getting a little bit of gas back in the tank can allow him to finish strong and boost that trade value (please for the love of god). The defense still seems a bit suspect but that's the only part of his game I feel confident in taking a leap forward with the intensity of the playoffs. Seeing him look more comfortable in the offense and the shot looking a bit better is more important momentum wise leading into a first round matchup.
4 points, 1 rebound, 0 assists, 1 block, 0 steals, -4
SJ: C. The Kork did not pop tonight, as Furkan was not able to get into the offensive flow. In his defense,
both teams shot very poorly from beyond the arc. Could this also possibly have to do with Burks’ great shooting night? I’m not suggesting that Burks can take playoff minutes from Furk, but makes me wonder if Brett will contemplate going to a small line-up if/and when Burks is hot and Furkan is cold. I hope we see a few strong performances before heading into the playoffs.
DM: D. I've said it before and i'll say it again: if the shot isn't falling he's not playable. Weirdly in this one however, it was more that he wasn't shooting, not that he wasn't making them. That's coming from THE Korkmaz guy...
22 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +12
SJ: A+. FINALLY – THE ALEC BURKS GAME WE’VE ALL BEEN WAITING FOR! I know in the previous article, I called for a 30+ point outburst from Alec before giving him my full trust, but I’ll still allow it. Burks went 3 of 7 from three, and has been 9 of 13 from three through the first 4 games in August. We cannot stress the importance of having someone off the bench to both create his own shot as well as run the offense. Given that Brett has not played any more than 9 or 10 players in a game so far, I think it’s already decided that the back-up point guard minutes are Burks’ to lose (and hopefully this means no more non-garbage time for Neto).
DM: A+. This is all we wanted when we made the deal for Burks and GRIII and we got it at arguably the time we needed it most, thanks to the Simmons injury. Knowing how it works being a Sixers fan, i'm sure Burks is due to go 0/13 next game, but this performance is an encouraging sign that Burks could absolutely steal a first round playoff game if he's hot enough, which is what you acquired him for.
2 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 2 blocks, 2 steals, +0
SJ: C-. Another 2 block and 2 steal game for Matisse but very little offensive output. At this point, I’m ok with it, as long as he understands his role: being a nuisance on defense. I think we need to coin a "Gordie Howe hat trick" for games when Matisse gets 2 blocks, 2 steals, and….2 dunks? Maybe call it the ‘Tisse Triple Dub? (Editors note: yes)
DM: C+. I'm still concerned with giving Matisse playoff minutes when he is non-existent on the offensive end, but clearly the Sixers will need his defense without Simmons. I think no Ben actually moves Matisse up the pecking order significantly and now leaves Korkmaz as a fringe rotation guy now, especially if they can get to the third with a lead. If Matisse can just work on his cutting and finishing a bit leading into the playoffs, he can probably hold his own just fine.
2 points, 3 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, +1
SJ: P. Yes Mike Scott gets a “P” for mere participation tonight. Scott only played 8 minutes in his first game since the restart. Not much to really grade or judge here. I suspect there will be more minutes and opportunities in these last 4 games as long as Scott remains healthy.
DM: C. Giving Mike the benefit of the doubt that he was just kicking the rust off in this one. Hopefully the time to heal the knee and four games ahead to get back in the swing of things can be a bit of a revival for Scott, who's clutch shooting in the past would be a nice addition to a hurting Sixers rotation entering the playoffs.