Three Normal Things: Sixers Vs. Grizzlies
Three Normal Things
Adam Aaronson, whose legal name is Sixers Adam (@SixersAdam on Twitter), covers the Sixers for The Rights To Ricky Sanchez. He has been legally banned from covering the team in person, and when that ban was set to be lifted, Covid-19 struck. He believes cantaloupe is the best food in existence, and is brought to you by the Official Realtor of The Process, Adam Ksebe.
Welcome back to Three Normal Things! Let’s get straight to it.
#1: Where the Sixers need George Hill most
The Sixers’ all-bench units have struggled of late, and notably failed to generate efficient offensive opportunities tonight against the Grizzlies.
Doc Rivers has the ability to avoid no-bench lineups altogether if he wants to, but Rivers does not employ rigid staggers as much as Brett Brown did. Given Doc’s apparent inclination to continue running those lineups -- typically built around Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle and Dwight Howard -- it seems likely that all-reserve units are here to stay.
Right now, what those lineups need most is stability -- a consistent player, preferably a ball-handling guard, who can defend at a reasonably competent level, spot up for threes and do a bit of facilitating.
Enter George Hill!
Hill’s timetable to return from his hand injury remains unknown. But when he is ready to play, he’ll be a welcomed entrant into the Sixers’ rotation.
#2: Mike Scott continues to struggle
Scott has been placed in a significant role in the rotation since Joel Embiid went down with a knee injury last month. Unfortunately for both Scott and the team, it has not gone well.
Scott’s often-reliable three-point jumpshot has not been so of late, or really at all this season. He entered tonight’s game shooting just 32.6 percent from beyond the arc, and his true shooting percentage (49.0 percent) is a career-low among all of his full seasons in the NBA.
Defensively, Scott no longer is light on his feet, and though he’s strong, he isn’t strong enough for matchups like tonight’s in Jonas Valanciunas.
Zooming out a bit, what is most confusing is how easily the Sixers could have upgraded from Scott. It would have taken nothing more than Scott’s expiring salary and a second-round pick or two to replace him with a much better and more reliable stretch four, and perhaps one who could hold down the fort at center as well. But, they didn’t make a move to fill that hole, so here the Sixers are relying heavily on an unreliable commodity.
#3: BBall Paul gets an opportunity
With Embiid out and Tyrese Maxey also sidelined due to health and safety protocols, the Sixers had a hole in their rotation that Doc Rivers chose to fill with Paul Reed, coming off of his illustrious G-League rookie season.
Reed did not show much in his few minutes as part of the real rotation, but looked very comfortable during garbage time, helping lead a unit of end-of-the-bench reserves as they were able to force Memphis to bring the big guns back in.
The lineup of Reed, Rayjon Tucker, Isaiah Joe, Mason Jones and Ignas Brazdeikis earned a standing ovation after chomping into the Memphis lead quite a bit. Small victories are still victories, folks.