The Philadelphia 76ers certainly had an eventful summer making a number of moves. They managed to retain Tobias Harris and extended Ben Simmons. They did end up losing important contributors in J.J. Redick and Jimmy Butler but replaced them with promising guard Josh Richardson and seasoned veteran Al Horford. It’s hard to say whether this team is better or worse, but they’ll certainly be different. With Kawhi on the Clippers, the path to the finals from the east has gotten a lot easier and the Sixers certainly recognize that. They’re all in on this squad as most of their starting lineup is locked up long term, and they’ll be heading into this season with a championship or bust mentality. Here are some important questions they should have for their starting lineup.
Is this the Most Physically Imposing Starting Lineup in the League?
After the Warriors dominated the league with small ball for years, it seems that the Sixers will be going the opposite way with bully ball. This starting lineup is massive, with their smallest player, Josh Richardson, still 6′ 6″. The starting lineup features two centers in Al Horford and Joel Embiid, and both can play the part of bruisers down low. Their primary ball handler, Ben Simmons, is almost 7 feet tall. While the Warriors small ball lineups tired opponents out by their constant ball movement and speed, the Sixers starting lineup should wear their opponents out by sheer physicality. This starting lineup isn’t a perfect fit but there’s no other team in the league that can match its combination of size, physicality, and talent. They might need to make some adjustments in the playoffs, but they should be a buzz saw in the regular season. Consider them the favorites to take win the Atlantic division.
Does this Starting Lineup have Enough Shooting?
This starting lineup is one of the most talented squads in the league, but their perceived lack of shooting may haunt them. The loss of Butler is hurts, but one could argue the loss of J.J. Redick is more damaging to this certain squad. For years, Redick was one of the best floor spacers in the league, and he would’ve been a great help to this iteration of the team. They’ll have to move forward without him, but it's going to be very tricky. Of their 5 players, 4 of them can shoot, but none of them are truly elite. Both Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson are quality shooters that let it fly with decent volume, but neither are great shooters. Al Horford and Embiid can shoot the occasional 3 ball, but they’re far from snipers. As for Ben Simmons, his complete lack of any jump shot has made him notorious. He’s supremely talented and an elite ball handler, but his lack of any semblance of shooting has hurt the Sixers before in the playoffs. If he can develop an even average 3 point shot this summer, it would be a great boon for the sixers. Right now, floor spacing is probably the biggest concern for this starting lineup.
How will Brett Brown Handle this Lineup?
Brett Brown’s job appeared to be in jeopardy heading into the playoffs, but apparently he showed enough in the playoffs to convince management to retain him for another season. They most likely realized that for all of Brown’s flaws, there wasn’t a better option available on the market. They’ve instead chosen to go with continuity, hoping a full offseason with this roster will be enough to make a difference this season. Although Brown does have certain flaws, he still has a lot of positive traits and hasn’t exactly been dealt a fair hand in his career. He had to struggle through the process era 76ers where the team had a complete lack of talent, then had to integrate players like Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris into the team on the fly last season. Now that this core is locked up long term, he should get the chance to take a breather from the gauntlet he faced last year. This offseason will give him time to create a system that takes advantage of their starting lineups strength. This year will be a defining year for Brown, as a deep playoff run feels mandatory for Brown to keep his job another season. We’ll see if he’s up to the task.