Philadelphia made an early trade sending Dario Saric and Robert Covington to Minnesota for Jimmy Butler. They lose an elite defender in Covington, but obviously Butler can fill that role. Ben Simmons continues to start at point guard as one of the more versatile guards in the game at his size. The Markelle Fultz experiment did not go as planned, and J.J. Redick is now back starting at shooting guard. Butler solidifies that small forward role for the 76ers, and adds another superstar into the mix for them to possibly compete later down the line. With Saric now in Minnesota, the 76ers will rely on Wilson Chandler to start most nights, but injuries have given him trouble, so Mike Muscala is a name that can slide in and provide some quality minutes. Joel Embiid is one of the best centers in the game right now, and his minutes are up as he continues a stretch of good health.
Preseason Analysis: Philly Looking to Take the East
Trust the process they said, and those who did were rewarded. Philadelphia is now one of the up and coming young NBA teams, and are in line for a very bright future. This offseason was more about adding a few pieces for depth, and guys like J.J. Redick returned, but Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler are underrated pieces for their bench. Redick was on a one year deal last season, and is returning. Redick adds three point shooting to a team that needs it, but his veteran presence also helps. While Ben Simmons doesn’t necessarily have a point guard build, and we mean that in a way where he is oversized, he is the point guard on this team.
Simmons was the dominant ball-handler last season, and was a triple-double threat on a nightly basis. Simmons needs to work on his shooting from the mid-range and outside, if he does that then we are looking at a potential replacement for LeBron over the next 15 seasons. With Simmons playing point guard this makes Markelle Fultz’s role a tough one to predict. He will definitely play off the bench, but his overall play is still in question. T.J. McConnell is also deserving of some minutes, but the logjam roster at point guard is no guarantee. Robert Covington signed an extension in the middle of the season, but had a short leash in the second half at times. With Wilson Chandler now in the picture he is going to have some company if he is not hitting shots. Dario Saric has been an underrated asset for Philly, and his usage picks up when Joel Embiid gets some rest. Saric is someone who can play the three, four, and the five which gives Philly an advantage for when they want to matchup with other teams. With Ersan Ilyasova in Milwaukee, Muscula is hoping to fill that role. Of course Embiid needs to be mentioned. He has a dominant usage, and is a top five player in the Eastern Conference.