Pros and Cons: Sixers vs. Thunder
The good and bad from Sixers-Thunder.
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
It’s hard to even imagine focusing on an actual basketball game right now after we were so locked in on silly trade rumors. Click here for my extended thoughts on the Ben Simmons and James Harden trade, from how Harden fits to how to replace Seth Curry and Andre Drummond and much more, in a bonus edition of Pros and Cons.
And now, let’s turn our attention to Sixers-Thunder.
Pro: Shake Milton returns, with a new role on the horizon
Milton, who missed a hefty 18 games with a back injury, returned to the floor tonight -- and did so in timely fashion after Curry's exodus.
Before his injury, Milton was certainly not playing the best basketball of his career. His efficiency was down because of his poor jump-shooting production, a bit of a surprise given his prior track record of being a very reliable shooter.
But when Milton was playing earlier in the year, it was often as a pure point guard. With Harden now in the fold and Tyrese Maxey having emerged, Milton can go back to the role that he has always been best at: a secondary ball-handler and creator who can spot up from three and occasionally attack a closeout.
In the long run, there is going to be far less pressure on Milton to produce, and he’ll finally return to his optimal role. In fact, he may be one of the players who benefits the most from Harden’s arrival.
Con: Sixers bench struggles mightily
Milton gets a pass for obvious reasons, but he -- in addition to Georges Niang and Danny Green -- had a rough go of it tonight.
The Sixers’ depth will be challenged a bit more moving forward, but I’m not too concerned about it yet. Part of the reason for that is… well… Harden is on the way.
Between Harden and Embiid, life is going to be so much easier for each Sixers reserve. They’ll each be asked to do a little bit less and in turn find themselves in a more fitting role. Whether it’s more open shots for players like Milton, Niang and Green or lob opportunities as a roller for Reed and Bassey, having two superstars is going to make things much more simple for these guys.
So, note that the bench struggled quite a bit tonight, but also keep in mind that things are about to change.
Pro: Paul Reed gets an opportunity
Against a very small and fast Oklahoma City team, Doc Rivers opted to give backup center minutes to Reed over Charles Bassey, which is a platooning style I can get behind for now -- Reed plays against smaller and faster teams, while Bassey plays against more traditional opponents.
An epic missed dunk will be what you remember from Reed -- and boy, was that bad -- but otherwise, he gave the Sixers really solid minutes. Reed posted multiple steals and blocks, and managed to get a whole lot of deflections.
Reed is certainly far from a perfect prospect -- as is Bassey -- but at least until the Sixers find a proven backup center on the buyout market (if they can do so), this is a nice opportunity for Reed and Bassey to show what they’re capable of, and it’s a nice opportunity for the Sixers to see what they have internally.