June 13, 2019, 4:29 am
A shot that seemed like it rattled around the rim for centuries was all it took to end the process that was the Philadelphia 76ers’ season.
In one of the most spectacular shots in all of NBA history, Kawhi Leonard hit the first ever Game 7 buzzer-beater to send the Sixers packing. The way their season ended left so many questions, but one reigns supreme: While the 76ers made some huge moves this season, did they really make any true progress?
Just one year removed from being beaten in five games by a Boston Celtics team without Kyrie Irving in the Eastern Conference Semifinals, the 76ers once again came up short. For the second straight year they were watching the Eastern Conference Finals from their televisions rather than lacing up and playing in it themselves. They swung for the fences, trading for both Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, but the team just never seemed to truly click. They were rarely fully healthy and when they were there were very clear issues in spacing and overall chemistry.
The 76ers—like any other team—had their ups and downs and now it’s time to take a look back at all of them and see what went wrong.
2018-19 Record: 51-31
Philly’s “process” took a shot of adrenaline and accelerated quite a bit this year.
A team that was once focused on taking home-grown talent and creating their own superstars turned into a team that looked as though it desperately wanted to win, no matter the costs. In November, it all started with acquiring Jimmy Butler from the Timberwolves in a deal that the 76ers most definitely won. They were able to send Robert Covington and Dario Saric to the Wolves for a four time All-Star in Butler. There was worry surrounding how Butler and his explosive personality might fit and it was well warranted. He was used to being the number one option on all of his previous teams and no one quite knew how Butler would handle being second, or even third, fiddle to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The 76ers rolled with the big three of Embiid, Simmons and Butler all the way up until February when they acquired Tobias Harris. This trade yet again only cost them Wilson Chandler and Landry Shamet but they also gave the Clippers a significant amount of draft capital with four picks. This acquisition wasn’t like Butler’s — nobody questioned whether or not Harris could fit in because he isn’t the same ball-dominant player that Butler is. It seemed like he was okay being the odd man out, the fourth man on a team considered to have a truly talented big three.
The 76ers rolled through the regular season, eclipsing the 50-win mark for the second straight year and solidifying themselves as a top-5 team in the NBA. They finished as the third seed in the East which gave them a date with the Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs.
The Nets were a young team, hungry for the upset and ready to prove that they belonged. It looked like Brooklyn might actually best the 76ers after they defeated them in Game 1 but that ended up being the only game that Brooklyn would win. It became clear as the series went along that the Nets just weren’t in the same realm as the 76ers with three out of the five games being decided by 15 or more points. The series was chippy, with Jimmy Butler being ejected for the second half of one game, but the Sixers still managed to pull through.
Their victory over the Nets put them on a collision course with the top-seeded Raptors in the second round. After taking a commanding 2-1 lead, it looked as though Philadelphia might finally reach the Eastern Conference Finals for the first time since 2001. However, Kawhi Leonard and the Raptors stormed back to tie the series up and went on to win the next game as well.
In the end, it came down to 4.2 seconds. We all know what happened next:
That was all it took for Leonard to hit one of the most iconic shots in NBA history and send the 76ers packing.
With that much talent, how did they lose? What went wrong, or even better, was anything truly ever right with this team?
The 76ers got away from what they hung their hat on, their process, and just went for it all in one season. They acquired as many stars as they could, put them together on the court and just hoped for the best without taking into account whether or not their play styles would mesh well. Now, with Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris and J.J. Redick entering free agency this summer, they’ll need to think hard about what the next step is.
Do you run it back? Take all of the cap-holds, offer Butler the “Super-Max,” try and convince Harris and Redick to take some sort of discount and go well above the cap just to possibly get bounced yet again? There’s so many questions surrounding this 76ers team but they’ll have to answer them all this offseason. If they were able to bring everyone back for a proverbial “re-do,” they’d be locked into deals for at least the next three to five years and Ben Simmons still needs to get paid.
So what’s next? It’s very possible that not even the 76ers themselves know the answer.
Brett Brown isn’t a bad coach… or is he?
That’s the question that so many people have struggled with this season. At times Brown looks to be a top tier coach in the league and then at others it’s tough to see why he even has a head coaching gig to begin with. It’s not completely his fault though — the 76ers aren’t the most well-constructed team in the NBA.
They’ve got a 6’10 point guard who’s never made a single three in his NBA career and he’s really the root of all the problems. The way that teams play Ben Simmons is simple, they back all the way up into the paint and force him to ram right into defenders or kick it out to someone else. Now, Simmons is so good that sometimes when he rams into them he either dunks right over them or knocks down the tough layup. However, other times he makes a bad pass because he’s got nothing else to do and then even if he gets fouled, he’s not the most reliable free throw shooter at only 60.0 percent.
This severely limits the 76ers’ spacing and causes real problems because he’s not surrounded by knock-down shooters. Theoretically, the 76ers could run a five-out type of offense and have Ben Simmons isolate his defender and take advantage of his height with occasional screens from Joel Embiid.
However, this requires the other defenders to actually trust that everyone else besides Simmons on the court can knock down the three. That’s not the case most of the time as Embiid does most of his damage in the low-post and while Butler can shoot the ball, he’s far from being considered sharpshooters. The same can be said to a lesser extent about Harris.
So taking that into account, Brett Brown does a pretty good job creating offensive sets for the 76ers even though their problems are very noticeable to every other NBA team. The 76ers finished this season with the third highest winning percentage in the East and the seventh highest overall so Brown was doing something right.
While he made some noticeable coaching moves and admittedly looked lost at times during the playoffs—the Toronto series in particular—he made the most of the hand that he was dealt. The 76ers were top-10 in offensive rating (111.5), field goal percentage (47.1 percent), true shooting percentage (57.4 percent), 3-point percentage (35.9) and pace (102.64) while finishing top-5 in points per game (115.2).
He was also able to get them to buy-in on the defensive side of the ball too as the 76ers finished top-15 with a defensive rating of 108.9. Brown placed a heavy emphasis on locking down the 3-point line as shown by the 76ers holding their opponents to only 34.2 percent shooting from behind the line, which is the fourth-lowest in the entire league.
Outside of all of that, the 76ers believed in their coach. They played hard for him as shown by the 30 “clutch” wins, which is the second-most in the NBA. Brown’s job appears to be secure for now but that could all change if the 76ers get off to a rocky start next season or make an early exit in May yet again.
ADP: 15/16 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value:13/17 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 7/10 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 64
2018-19 averages: 64 G | 33.7 MP | 27.5 PTS | 1.2 3PM | 13.6 REB | 3.7 AST | 0.7 STL | 1.9 BLK | 3.5 TOV | .484 FG% | .804 FT%
Joel Embiid gave himself “The Process” as a nickname because the entire rebuild started with him.
Perhaps the most telling stat comes in the form of one of the most confusing ones: the Player Impact Estimate. It’s defined as “a player’s overall statistical contribution against the total statistics in games they play in“, so let’s just say that it basically shows how a player’s stats in one given game can affect the outcome of that game. In Embiid’s case, his stats impact the game at an extreme rate as he owns the third highest PIE in the entire league at 19.6, behind only James Harden and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Although they have Ben Simmons, Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, make no mistake, the 76ers run through The Process.
The only downside to Embiid is his injury risk and it reared it’s ugly head again this season. Although the 64 games was the most he played in his career, it’s still only 64 games. Before the All-Star break, he had only missed four games but after the break it all came tumbling down.
He was forced to miss 14 games for left knee tendinitis and then his health was a constant issue for the 76ers throughout the playoffs. Had he played 82 games he’d have a legit shot at finishing as a top-3 player in fantasy. He’s the NBA’s best center and does everything fantasy owners could ask for, except stay healthy.
Listen to this — Embiid became the third player in NBA history to score 3,800 points, grab 1,800 boards and block 300 shots in 160 games or less with the other two being David Robinson and Shaquille O’Neal.
He can score the ball in bunches, knock down a couple of triples, grab rebounds, block shots and distribute the ball better than most big men. He’s already stated that he’s going to dedicate this offseason to getting even better and healthier, so next season we might see a whole different beast. Regardless of his injuries woes, Embiid is a surefire top-10 pick next year with the upside to be a top-3 player in fantasy.
ADP: 21/24 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value:39/24 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 22/15 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 65
2018-19 averages: 65 G | 33.6 MP | 18.7 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 5.3 REB | 4.0 AST | 1.9 STL | 0.6 BLK | 1.5 TOV | .462 FG% | .855 FT%
Jimmy Butler reversed his image in a matter or a couple of games. After leaving Minnesota and destroying the Wolves’ starters with the third string players, Butler didn’t have the best reputation. He was looked at as a guy who couldn’t handle losing and was just an overall team cancer. However, in just a short amount of time he disproved that theory by buying into whatever the 76ers were selling him. He was able to put his pride to the side and accept him diminished role on the team in the hopes of winning an NBA championship.
Butler played 55 games in a Philadelphia uniform and he tried to make the most of every single one of them. The only downside was the slew of injuries he had to face, such as a strained groin, upper respiratory infection, right wrist sprain and back tightness. However, in 33.2 minutes, which is the least since his sophomore season back in 2013, he still managed to provide his owners with a multitude of different stats.
Butler was asked to sacrifice the most of any star on the team because he was so used to being the Alpha Dog. Sure, Tobias Harris was the number one option for the Clippers but he didn’t have the same fire in his heart that Butler does, because not many NBA players do. In fact, Harris even attempted more shots per game than Butler in their time as teammates. In his first year with the 76ers Butler adapted and did what was asked of him, with him finding his role in the offense along the way.
When he was asked to take over, he did.
He proved to the world that he was still capable of being that same guy, but he just didn’t need to do it all the time. He was able to provide his owners with points, rebounds, assists, steals and the occasional triple while also keeping his turnovers to a minimum and his field goal percentage respectable.
In the beginning of the year, Butler was slipping in drafts because no one really knew where he’d end up and when it became clear that he’d be in Philadelphia his outlook diminished even more. However, he was a till a top-20 guy in 9-cat leagues and made every single owner that passed on him regret the decision.
With his free agency on the horizon, it’ll be interesting to see where Butler ends up. The 76ers are rumored to be willing to offer him the super-max of five years, $190 million, which is $50 million more than any other team can offer. However, it’ll be interesting to see if Butler wants to try things again with this group of guys rather than take less money to go somewhere where he could possible be the Alpha again. One thing is for certain, no matter where he ends up Butler should still be a second-round pick in drafts come next season.
ADP: 54/36 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value:22/20 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 42/35 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 82
2018-19 averages: 82 G | 34.7 MP | 20.0 PTS | 1.9 3PM | 7.9 REB | 2.8 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.8 TOV | .488 FG% | .866 FT%
Harris played in all 82 games for the second time in his entire NBA career and averaged the most minutes of any of the 76ers’ big four. He was their most versatile guy and willing to do whatever was asked of him at any given time. He was even more versatile for fantasy owners as he was a Swiss army knife of sorts, providing them with points, threes, rebounds, assists, low turnovers and incredible percentages.
The fact that he was able to play in all 82 games speaks to the consistency that owners get when they select him in their drafts. Harris will also be a free agent this summer and if anyone is unlikely to return to the 76ers, it’s him. He’s been rumored to want to go to multiple other teams with the 76ers not being the favorite to land him in most scenarios. His value next year will depend on where he ends up but he proved this year, on a team with three other All-Stars, that he could still hold his own and provide for his fantasy owners. He should be a top-40 guy again next season with the upside for even more.
ADP: 12/15 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value:23/44 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 39/70 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 76
2018-19 averages: 76 G | 34.2 MP | 16.9 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 8.8 REB | 7.7 AST | 1.4 STL | 0.8 BLK | 3.5 TOV | .563 FG% | .599 FT%
Simmons is a very polarizing fantasy player to say the least.
He’s a guy with so much hype surrounding him that he’s selected in the top-15 of almost every fantasy draft, yet has failed to live up to that hype two years running. He doesn’t seem to have a problem with injuries like his buddy Joel Embiid, but he doesn’t provide owners with as much as other guys that are taken after him. For example, Paul George, Bradley Beal and even his teammate Jimmy Butler were all taken after him. Yet each of those players give their owners a more balanced stream of production.
With Simmons, he’ll get the assists and rebounds which is good for the occasional triple-double. However, when it comes to 3-pointers, turnovers and free throw percentage his owners basically have to punt the categories. While Simmons is extremely valuable to the 76ers, he’s not as valuable to owners in fantasy but the hype still carries over. He’s a great basketball player, but he’s not a great player for fantasy basketball and players must understand that.
He’ll continue to improve and there will likely even be a video or two of him knocking down open threes this offseason, but until he does it in an NBA game it means nothing. Simmons should start being drafted in the third or fourth round of leagues next season, but we all know that he’ll be off the board much earlier.
ADP: 126/87 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 79/72 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 90/90 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 76
2018-19 averages: 76 G | 31.3 MP | 18.1 PTS | 3.2 3PM | 2.5 REB | 2.7 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.3 TOV | .440 FG% | .894 FT%
Redick posted career-highs in points and minutes this season despite being the fifth fiddle on the 76ers. He was the reason that a ton of Ben Simmons lineups worked due to the fact that he was really the only legitimate threat from behind the arc. When it comes to fantasy, owners know what they’re getting out of Redick. He’s a sharpshooter who provides owners with points and good free throw percentages along the way.
While the 34-year-old did deal with back tightness and soreness this season, he’ll be entering free agency as well and there will likely be a ton of teams vying for his services. The great thing is, his role will likely never change. While it’s possible his minutes will decrease on a team with better depth at shooting guard, his job will still be to knock down threes at a consistent rate. His value next year is up in the air until we know what team he’ll be on next season but he should still be able to maintain top-125 standing at worst.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 153/160 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value:204/208 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 76
2018-19 averages: 76 G | 18.0 MP | 6.1 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 2.1 REB | 3.2 AST | 1.0 STL | 0.2 BLK | 1.1 TOV | .519 FG% | .784 FT%
McConnell is an interesting player to break down due to the fact that his production so frequently fluctuates, as does his role on the 76ers. He served as Ben Simmons’ primary backup but he’s also not much of a shooter so the defense didn’t truly have to adjust very much when he checked into games. In all honestly, the 76ers would be better off finding a backup who’s strengths complement Simmons’ weaknesses, such as shooting.
For fantasy purposes, he gets owners a couple of points and can be a good source of assists and steals when trying to stream players. Outside of that, he’s not too valuable in most leagues. He could serve as a late-round draft choice in an extremely deep league if he signs with a team that will use him more, but if not, he can be left on the wire come draft day.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 233/215 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 262/246 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 58
2018-19 averages: 58 G | 21.2 MP | 6.8 PTS | 0.9 3PM | 3.2 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.7 STL | 0.4 BLK | 0.7 TOV | .472 FG% | .700 FT%
Ennis’ role was significantly diminished as he left Houston. After dealing with right leg injuries, such as a quad contusion and calf injury, the 76ers only used him as an outside threat against teams and he didn’t find much success in that role as he shot only 30.6 percent from behind the arc. On the 76ers, Ennis only averaged 5.3 points in 18 games and wasn’t worth owning for a majority of the season.
He doesn’t do much in the other categories either, averaging less than one assist, steal and block while also not serving as a reliable free throw shooter. Maybe he’ll see his role increase if the 76ers make major changes to their roster again but until then Ennis should be going undrafted.
ADP: 140/136 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 236/239 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 251/262 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 56
2018-19 averages: 56 G | 11.9 MP | 7.4 PTS | 0.1 3PM | 4.6 REB | 1.0 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.5 BLK | 1.1 TOV | .613 FG% | .760 FT%
Boban is only limited by the amount of minutes that these puny NBA teams choose to play him.
Seriously though, he could be a legitimate monster if he was given the minutes to do so. When looking at Marjanovic’s per-36 value, he’s a top-100 player who averages 22.3 points and 13.8 rebounds. This season he served as a backup to Joel Embiid so he was rewarded with a couple of chances to show what he’s working with. Unfortunately though, the emergence of Jonah Bolden put a damper on Marjanovic’s party as he was forced to split playing time.
If he could land a starting spot on an NBA team, he might just be fantasy gold but there’s not enough to work with in a backup role. His points and rebounds are good for the low amount of minutes he plays but outside of that, nothing else matches up. He’ll be a free agent this offseason so maybe he can go to a team with a less established big man and take over but until then, he’s not worth owning.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 254/241 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 333/325 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 79
2018-19 averages: 79 G | 17.7 MP | 5.8 PTS | 1.3 3PM | 3.5 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .400 FG% | .667 FT%
Scott had a pretty good year as a member of the 76ers. He finished with career-highs in both 3-point percentage and 3-pointers made while also nabbing a career-high 3.8 rebounds. His role was simple: stand in the corner and shoot the three-ball when Ben Simmons passes it to you. Scott was able to excel at that and served as one of the 76ers’ primary sharpshooters behind JJ Redick.
He’s another guy who will be entering free agency this summer and his value will also depend on what teams he’s playing for. He proved to owners this year that he can be a reliable source for 3-pointers and a couple of rebounds but he’s still not worth drafting next season.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 299/298 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 202/267 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 44
2018-19 averages: 44 G | 13.3 MP | 4.1 PTS | 0.7 3PM | 3.3 REB | 0.8 AST | 0.4 STL | 0.7 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .470 FG% | .484 FT%
Bolden’s rookie year went pretty well considering he’s a center backing up the best big man in the league.
When Embiid missed time, Bolden became a fantasy darling due to the fact that he could score the ball, rebound and shoot while also keeping his turnovers at a reasonable number. Bolden’s production was even more clear in the G-League where he averaged 15.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.3 assists, 1.5 steals, 0.8 blocks and 2.3 triples while shooting 41.7 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from behind the arc in 31.0 minutes a night.
Unfortunately, barring a trade Bolden won’t be able to break out next season either so he doesn’t warrant a late-round draft pick next season. Just make sure to listen out for when Embiid misses games because then he’ll be one of the hottest pickups on the market.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 321/312 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 335/319 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 48
2018-19 averages: 48 G | 14.8 MP | 5.8 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 2.3 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.6 STL | 0.0 BLK | 0.5 TOV | .400 FG% | .818 FT%
Korkmaz’s sophomore year went much better than his rookie year and he improved in almost every aspect, including both field goal and 3-point percentage. The only problem is, he tore his right meniscus in mid February and it forced him to miss the remainder of the regular season. He’s only 21 years old and he still has a long way to go but he flashed his potential at certain times during the year. He really only provided owners with 3-pointers, points and a good free throw percentage but he didn’t get enough minutes to really make any of it matter. That should be the case next year as well so Korkmaz can be left on the wire on draft day.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 453/450 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 328/356 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 6
2018-19 averages: 6 G | 18.4 MP | 6.7 PTS | 1.0 3PM | 2.2 REB | 1.7 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.0 TOV | .412 FG% | .750 FT%
Zhaire Smith is just another case of the Sixers rookie curse. It struck Embiid and Simmons as well and Smith is its most recent victim. Smith fractured his left foot in developmental camp back in the summer and if that wasn’t, enough he also dealt with a severe allergic reaction in September. It was reported that Smith might’ve lost 20 pounds during the recovery and he was basically held out of the majority of the 2018-2019 season. However, he did return and he was a bright spot for 76ers fans as the season came to a close.
In his season finale, Smith delivered a 17 points, four rebounds, five assists and two triples in 31 minutes. He’s a guy capable of putting up big numbers in a hurry and a good complement to Ben Simmons. If he comes into next season healthy, he could be worthy of a late round flier depending on how much hype he receives in the offseason.
ADP: N/A (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 325/332 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 378/386 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 51
2018-19 averages: 51 G | 10.0 MP | 3.8 PTS | 0.2 3PM | 2.7 REB | 1.1 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.3 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .516 FG% | .756 FT%
Johnson had one of the worst seasons of his entire NBA career this year.
He finished the season averaging career-lows in minutes and field goal percentage while also having the second-lowest scoring numbers of his entire career. He just wasn’t needed very much on this 76ers team and had multiple DNP-CDs rack up throughout the year. He was un-ownable in fantasy this season as he didn’t provide owners with anything outside of the occasional rebound and that can be found almost anywhere.
He’ll be a free agent this summer so maybe he’ll sign with a team that needs his services more than the 76ers but even then he most likely won’t be worth rostering anywhere.
ADP: 138/142 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 310/326 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 356/400 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 56
2018-19 averages: 56 G | 19.0 MP | 6.5 PTS | 0.5 3PM | 2.3 REB | 2.5 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.3 BLK | 1.2 TOV | .380 FG% | .742 FT%
Simmons was one of Philly’s worst fantasy players this season and could never really get things together. He was asked to play defense and serve as a shooter when the 76ers needed him too but the latter of the two never really came to fruition as he only attempted 1.4 triples. When he did shoot them, he knocked them down at a clip of 42.9 percent, he just didn’t get very much opportunity to do so.
For fantasy owners, Simmons didn’t really do much in any category and was a definite killer in field goal percentage. He’ll still be on the 76ers next season so maybe his role will increase but if not then he’s not worth owning in most leagues.
ADP: 136/135 (ESPN/Yahoo) | Total Value: 364/376 (8/9-cat) | Per-Game Value: 405/424 (8/9-cat) | Games Played: 43
2018-19 averages: 43 G | 11.2 MP | 5.3 PTS | 0.0 3PM | 4.0 REB | 0.6 AST | 0.3 STL | 0.2 BLK | 0.8 TOV | .487 FG% | .625 FT%
Monroe was the Sixers’ worst fantasy player by a mile and for good reason. He only played 11.2 minutes per game and was behind not only Joel Embiid, but also Jonah Bolden and Boban Marjanovic. When Monroe was on the court, he didn’t do much outside of scoring the occasional bucket and grabbing a rebound. His percentages also wouldn’t have helped out many owners and the 0.8 turnovers per game are unacceptable in just 11.2 minutes. Monroe will be a free agent this year and it’s very likely he doesn’t find another team that will pick him up until mid-season. It goes without saying but Monroe isn’t worth owning anywhere.
The 76ers aren’t very far away from an appearance in the NBA Finals and they’ve got the framework that they need, but they must continue to build upon it. One thing that almost every player outside of the big four have in common is that they won’t be worth owning in fantasy next season, and that’s a problem.
The 76ers spent so much to get their big four that they absolutely demolished their depth. Philly might need to let Tobias Harris or Jimmy Butler walk and then use that money to sign some veteran free agents to bolster their bench. That way Simmons and Embiid won’t have to play as much and they can maximize the time that they’re on the court. One of the major pickups this offseason should be a backup point guard than can shoot, so that teams must adjust their gameplans when Simmons comes out.
If the 76ers had a backup point guard that excelled in the one place that Simmons doesn’t, then it would allow for them to bring a whole new kind of variety to their game. Yes, they have Zhaire Smith ready to make the leap, but it also wouldn’t hurt to get a proven sharpshooting guard in the mix as well. At the end of the day, the 76ers need to stick to their process, stick to the values that got them where they are now and simply build on what they already have.
They have an incredible base, now just don’t ruin it by trying to do too much.
Oh, and also, have Ben Simmons work on that jumpshot because if he doesn’t make a single three next season we’re going to have a problem.
January 29, 2020, 8:57 amThaddeus YoungPF, Chicago Bulls
With the NBA trade deadline coming up, there has been speculation that Thaddeus Young could be headed to a title-contending team, but his minutes have gradually increased due to a plethora of injuries in the Bulls’ frontcourt.
The 31-year-old forward is averaging the fewest minutes and points per game since his rookie year with the Sixers in the 2007-08 season. There were reports last month that Young was unhappy with his role and might even seek out a trade if the situation didn’t change. With
Lauri Markkanen sidelined though, and the Bulls currently only two games out of the final playoff spot in the East, it seems unlikely he will be traded before next Thursday’s deadline. Young deserves consideration even in standard leagues as long as Lauri Markkanen, Wendell Carter Jr. and Daniel Gafford remain sidelined.
Source: NBC Sports
January 29, 2020, 2:00 amJ.J. BareaPG, Dallas Mavericks
J.J. Barea got some extra run in garbage time on Tuesday and he finished with 15 points on 6-of-10 shooting, two rebounds, seven assists and one 3-pointer in 23 minutes vs. the Suns.
Barea has been in and out of the lineup lately and he can be left alone in fantasy leagues. Jalen Brunson closed out the game and totaled 15 points (5-of-7 FGs, 5-of-6 FTs), two rebounds, one assist and one steal in 25 minutes.
January 29, 2020, 1:54 amKristaps PorzingisPF-C, Dallas Mavericks
Kristaps Porzingis (left knee) had a rough go of it on Tuesday, producing just nine points on 2-of-8 shooting, three boards, one dime and one trey in 20 minutes in a big loss to the Suns.
Porzingis' minutes have been low since he returned from his injury, even aside from this lopsided game. That's a bit of a concern considering his past and present injury issues. Otherwise, Kristaps is doing well outside of his terrible field goal percentage.
January 29, 2020, 1:47 amDorian Finney-SmithSF, Dallas Mavericks
Dorian Finney-Smith hardly showed up in the box score again on Tuesday, going for just three points, three rebounds, one assist, one steal, one block and one 3-pointer in 23 minutes in a blowout loss to the Suns.
DFS had become a popular pickup after he posted back-to-back 10-rebound games last week. However, tonight's game and Monday's two-point, 8-rebound and nothing else game show that he's still no more than a real-life defensive specialist that doesn't produce defensive or offensive stats.
January 29, 2020, 1:40 amLuka DoncicPG-SF, Dallas Mavericks
Luka Doncic was able to salvage a decent fantasy line in Tuesday’s blowout 104-133 home loss to the Suns, providing 21 points (7-of-15 FGs), six rebounds, two assists, one steal and one 3-pointer in 25 minutes.
One positive for Luka was that he went 6-of-7 from the free throw line, where he’s been struggling recently. He’s not near the top of the rankings for the past month, but with a small adjustment to his percentages, Doncic could be right back in the mix.
January 29, 2020, 1:32 amWillie Cauley-SteinC, Dallas Mavericks
Willie Cauley-Stein made his Mavs debut on Tuesday, playing 12 minutes and putting up four points (2-for-4 FGs), three rebounds, one assist and two steals.
It's hard to tell how much WCS will play normally as this game was a blowout that was decided in the third quarter. Even with Dwight Powell (right Achilles surgery) out, the Mavs have too many bigs to be playing WCS more than backup minutes.
January 29, 2020, 1:26 amDeandre AytonC, Phoenix Suns
Deandre Ayton was incredible on Tuesday, scoring 31 points on an ultra-efficient 13-for-15 from the field and 5-for-5 from the stripe, while also adding nine rebounds, one assist, two steals and one block in 29 minutes as the Suns blew out the Mavs 133-104.
Ayton's sample size (17 games) is getting big enough to begin to trust for the season. He's now in the top-30/15 (8-cat/9-cat) with no reason to think he can't keep it up. It looks like we're not going to get any 3-point attempts added to Ayton's game this season, but it's certainly not unrealistic for future seasons.
January 29, 2020, 1:17 amDevin BookerSG, Phoenix Suns
Devin Booker was great on Tuesday in a blowout win over the Mavs, putting up 32 points on 12-of-20 shooting, six rebounds, nine assists, two steals and two 3-pointers in 31 minutes.
Booker continues to shoot the lights out and is a top-5 player for the past month. He's fantasy's best free throw shooter over that period after factoring in his 9.8 attempts per game. It'll be tough for him to keep up the efficiency, but Booker could easily bring back some more threes and/or finally increase his steals to stay in the top-20 even with a drop in percentages.
January 29, 2020, 1:07 amMikal BridgesSF, Phoenix Suns
Mikal Bridges was efficient after moving into the Suns starting lineup on Tuesday, going for 13 points (4-of-5 FGs, 4-of-4 FTs), two rebounds, six assists, two steals, one block and one 3-pointer in 34 minutes in a win over the Mavs.
Bridges is definitely worth an add in 9-cat leagues. He's excellent in steals and also had zero turnovers in this game, with that category also being one of his specialties. Bridges won't stand out, but he's in the top-75 in 9-cat leagues over the past month and stands to make gains with this new larger role.
January 29, 2020, 12:55 amDuncan RobinsonF, Miami Heat
Duncan Robinson hit four more 3-pointers to go with 12 points, five rebounds and two assists in 39 minutes in a loss to the Celtics on Tuesday.
Robinson makes it seven games in a row with at least four 3-pointers. It shouldn't be surprising to see him doing this on a nightly basis, but it's hard to expect a player like this to keep up his pace. Robinson is 11th in 3-pointers per game for the season and 7th for the past month.