Contributors: Steve Jones (@swjones87) and Carson Fowler (@cafowler13)
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)!
14 points, 2 rebounds, 4 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, -5
SJ: B. I’m glad that everyone forgot about Shake’s forgettable Indiana game. With Ben Simmons out for the foreseeable future, he may be expected to shoulder even more responsibility; hopefully, it’s not too tall of a task for him. Also, is it time to talk about Shake’s clutch gene? Not only did he go 3 of 5 from three, but all his threes were timely when the Sixers were either trying to tie the game and/or pull away with the lead. He also had a game-saving block in transition late:
Shake is about to be given the opportunity to get back to his pre-quarantine form with Ben out for a while.
CF: B+. Shake followed up his game winner against the Spurs with a solid performance as he grows into the starting point guard role. He still played a portion of his minutes as an off-ball guy which he continues to excel at with his shooting gravity, but the best take away was his 0 turnovers, which was an area of concern for a new point guard. Shake continues to get cooked off the dribble, but his defensive issues can be minimized with few mistakes and high-volume shooting on the offensive end.
15 points, 0 rebounds, 3 assists, 0 blocks, 1 steal, +5
SJ: B. This is Richardon’s second game in a row where he scored two 3’s in the first quarter. Although
he’s the 4th or 5th option in the starting line-up when it comes to scoring, it appears he needs to score
early in order to be effective for the reason of the game. One underrated skill he has is his creativeness with driving to the basket. He always seems to have these uncanny, yet effective moves to go around defenders in mid-air when scoring.
CF: B. Richardson had a strong shooting performance which can mask how much he doesn’t fit the context of this roster. His defense remains solid but what’s asked out of his on the offensive side continues to not play to his strengths, and good shooting spurts doesn’t change that. His off- ball movement was minimal and his stationary role as a spot up shooter asks too much of what he doesn’t excel at. I hope we find a way to get him more integrated with the offensive creativity as his role remains crucial to any playoff run.
17 points, 6 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 block, 1 steal, +0
SJ: B. Tobias Harris continues to be the proverbial jack-of-all-trades, master of none – and this isn’t a criticism or insult towards him. Harris had a nice combination of shooting from both long and mid-range as well as driving to the basket. His ability to do a little bit of everything helps when the majority of this roster lacks such an ability to do so and and most specialize in one or few aspects of the game.
CF: B-. Tobi showed up when he was needed, as him and Embiid combined for 21 straight points during the 4th quarter, but outside of that he left a lot to be desired. Harris is far too often indecisive on his shot selection which hurt the flow of the offense. He was still a masterful finisher and made the most out of his post up opportunities, but he needs to take the open 3 when it’s presented to him. To his credit, we shouldn’t have to ask 37 minutes out of him against the Wizards and he remained a solid defender when called upon.
8 points, 6 rebounds, 4 assists, 0 blocks, 2 steals, -3
SJ: D. Dude, what is going on with Ben Simmons? The benefit of having the league suspend play for over three and a half months was that it would be enough time for Ben to get healthy before the playoffs. Yet again, here we are again as he is out indefinitely with 5 seeding games left. Since the restart, he has lacked intensity on defense for long stretches of games and has been inconsistent with his ability and willingness to score. People are going to continue to beat the dead horse of how “he doesn’t take enough threes,” but my bigger concern has always been his free throw shooting as he only went 4 of 8 from the line. What’s the point of going to the basket in hopes of getting an And-1 (the equivalent of a three pointer), when you’re more likely to miss the free throw? The biggest news, however, was his sudden departure from the game as he’s out indefinitely with a left knee subluxation. Fun Fact: I now personally have the same injuries that each Simmons and Embiid have been diagnosed with (Simmons – left knee subluxation and Embiid – tendinosis).
CF: C-. Before exiting with a left knee injury, Ben had been underwhelming on several fronts. His struggles from the free throw line continued and he overall couldn’t find his shot, going 2/10 in 23 minutes. His defensive abilities were on a better display with his matchups being young guys like Isaac Bonga and Rui Hachimura and albeit he only had 4 assists, his court vision was strong. Initial reports show positive news for his left knee with no swelling or pain; however, the Sixers should be as cautious as possible with this. The playoffs are 2 weeks away and while they are still fighting for seeding position, the long term health of Simmons should stay as their first priority.
30 points, 11 rebounds, 3 assists, 3 blocks, 2 steals, +3
SJ: A+. Embiid continues his strong start of the seeding games with another dominating performance against weaker opposition. Personally, I thought Embiid could’ve had 40 easily against the likes of Anzejs Pasecniks, Thomas Bryant, and Rui Hachimura, especially since the broadcast frequently mentioned that the Wizards were the worst defensive team in the league. The play that stood out that most was Embiid’s pass to a wide-open Josh Richardson for three after being double-teamed with 2:30 left in the game. Not only does it show significant improvement at handling double teams, but appears to be drawing the Tim Duncan comparisons with the national media (if only he had a coach who once coached Duncan…). Hopefully Embiid’s performances become routine as Simmons is out indefinitely.
CF: A. Embiid continues to be masterful during his few games in the bubble with another dominating performance as the team relied on him almost every trip down the court in the 4th . His 30 points and 11 rebounds on efficient shooting, Joel had very few flaws in his game today. His pass out of double teams was excellent all game long, with the gravity he has in the post opened up a lot of open looks for shooters. Embiid being able to facilitate out of the high post unlocks a lot of what the Sixers want to do, with back door cuts or Embiid drawing a 2nd defender allowing for off-ball shooters to get open. Joel’s post defense was as noticeable as always, with Washington guards reluctant to try him on any dribble drives and their big men settling for 3’s
rather then trying to gain post position. Outside of 2 back-to-back ill-advised trailing 3-point attempts, Embiid continued to show why he’s a superstar.
2 points, 10 rebounds, 5 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +18
SJ: B+. Embiid continues his strong start of the seeding games with another dominating performance against weaker opposition. Personally, I thought Embiid could’ve had 40 easily against the likes of Anzejs Pasecniks, Thomas Bryant, and Rui Hachimura, especially since the broadcast frequently mentioned that the Wizards were the worst defensive team in the league. The play that stood out was Embiid’s pass to a wide-open Josh Richardson for three after being double-teamed with 2:30 left in the game. Not only does it show significant improvement at handling double teams, but appears to be drawing the Tim Duncan comparisons with the national media (if only he had a coach who once coached Duncan…). Hopefully Embiid’s performances become routine as Simmons is out indefinitely.
CF: B. Horford was better this game then the box score gives him credit for, as his 2 points on 1/3 shooting leaves a lot to be desired. He was an able defender on the perimeter as often his assignments were quicker 4’s then he is seen to be. Al had a strong effect on the glass with double digit rebounds and he showed passing ability out of the post with 5 assists across 30 minutes of play. Horford doesn’t have to be counted on as a high-volume scorer if he’s being a smart passer and good team defender, both of which he showed today. The main area of concern which he did a better job of today is keeping his defender honest on Embiid post ups. Far too often Horford slides inside the 3-point line from the weak side, allowing his defender a better contest at Embiid’s shot. The offense is predicated on plugging square pegs into round holes so although a spot up shooter in the corner isn’t what Horford is used to, just like Richardson, he’s going to have to adjust, allowing Embiid to flourish, if the Sixers are going to have a chance.
10 points, 4 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 0 steals, +9
SJ: B. Shooters shoot, and that’s all that he really did. He only went 2 for 4 from the foul line, and his season average of 73.5% is on the low end for a three-point specialist. But given his limited minutes, I can live with that as long as he keeps his three-point percentage around 40%.
CF: B. Korkmaz showed his 2 nd straight strong shooting performance, which is really all that is asked out of him. Being open in the corner for a Harris drive or when Embiid gets doubled is an invaluable aspect of what Furkan brings, someone who continues to keep his defender honest and is somehow still getting people to bite on his pump fake. He remains not that agile on the perimeter but keeping Embiid on the court for practically all of Furkan’s minutes allows for defensive lapses. It seems lost that Kormaz is 6 foot 7 as his 4 rebounds in 18 minutes is more then you can ask for from a supposed spot up shooter. As long as he continues to be honest with his looks, Furkan will continue to be productive and earn his minutes.
9 points, 1 rebounds, 2 assists, 1 blocks, 0 steals, +7
SJ: B. As previously indicated, it appears that Brett is slowly trusting Burks a little more each game. Though it was nice to NOT see Neto in this one, we may be forced to get some Neto minutes with Simmons out. His ability to make threes and create his own shot will be necessary come playoff time, since the rest of our bench cannot match Burks offensive skills. However, I need to see a few more consistent, similar performances (and a nice random game where he explodes for 30) before I jump on the Burks Twitter Bandwagon.
CF: B+. Brett Brown ramped up Burks’ minutes today with Raul Neto not logging any time, and Alec continued to do exactly what he’s done since he got to Philly; get buckets. A small sample size but Burks is a necessary spark plug off the bench who did a solid job being a secondary ball handler in the opportunity he had. He has yet to miss a 3-point attempt since the bubble began, and the hope is he lands the back up guard minutes once the playoffs start. Burks is counted on as one of the few reliable guys on the roster that can create for himself and in limited time, he has shown just that. His off the dribble shooting continues to be an important part of the offense and he’s shown to be a capable passer, not logging a turnover in the game. With few veteran possibilities off the bench as it is, Burks is going to be called on to give guys like Embiid and Harris a breather being the lead scorer on the court.
2 points, 1 rebounds, 2 assists, 0 blocks, 2 steals, +11
SJ: C+. Matisse continues to be Brett’s go-to defensive stopper off the bench. Due to his early season success shooting from three, it’s almost as if we forgot that the Sixers traded up to draft him solely due to his athleticism and defensive skills (nope, not going there with any RoCo comps). Not that it was reasonable to expect him to be a 3 point threat for the entire year, but here’s a interesting variation of his three point shooting percentage variance in home vs away games: 35.1% in 60 games, 44.6% in 30 home games, and 25.7% in 30 away games. Now this likely won’t matter as much as they play in a neutral venue (forget the “home court” sound effects and such), but if you happen to be in the Zoom crowd for the playoffs, please yell and cheer as much as you can for Matisse to maintain a 44% three point percentage.
CF: B-. Thybulle’s presence on the court goes past his 2 points on ¼ shooting as his 2 steals almost seemed expected at this point. Matisse remains a supremely intelligent defender on rotations and passing lanes, with Brett Brown entrusting him to be the guy out there when a stop is needed. He continues to develop his drive and kick game, as outside of shooting the 3 pointer that move is all he has. His offensive limitations are hidden by shot creators like Alec Burks, Shake Milton, and Tobias Harris taking ball handing duties but Thybulle needs to become more effective off ball if he wants to remain an overall plus player. His offensive IQ will rise with time, but his defensive abilities will need to be on full display consistently if he wants to see playoff minutes.