Sixers basketball is finally back! The Sixers calmly ended their perfect preseason with last night’s 99-94 win against the Hornets. Those four games were ideal to get a glimpse of the newest acquisitions under their new uniforms and to have a first look at what some of our rotations could look like. Before things start to get real for our Sixers, here are the five biggest takeaways from their 2022 preseason.
1. Maxey is awesome, Tobias needs to adapt
Maxey played every game and effortlessly scorched defenses, scoring 30.9 points per 36 minutes. His shooting seems to have improved even more and he’s asserting himself as a formidable three-level threat. We recently made an article about what Maxey taking that next step means for the Sixers and himself, but we should mention that this expansion in Tyrese’s role also means that other players will see a change in their duty. Tobias Harris won’t be handling the ball as much as before, but If he buys into a more incisive role and if he capitalizes on the advantages his teammates will create for him, he will be a terrific fourth option and it will tremendously improve our offense.
2. P.J. Tucker will fit perfectly in Philly
The biggest addition of our summer made a really solid first impression. He started as the small forward when our starting five was complete and he immediately showed why he adds so much to a team: he took on many different defensive assignments, spotted up in his usual corner, set though back-screens and he will simply do everything on the floor to help you win. Furthermore, he was once used as the starting center and he showed that, with the spacing he brings and his great understanding of the game, he could be a viable suitor at that spot if other options don’t pan out.
3. Melton could be what we needed all along, but only if used right
Another game-changing addition for the Sixers will be De’Anthony Melton. He played all four games and instantly become the swiss army knife Philly needed. The problem is that the Sixers seems to be decided to give him a lot of responsibilities as a ball-handler. It’s not necessarily a terrible thing, but when you have James Harden and Tyrese Maxey on your team, there really is no need for that. In the second game against the Cavs, where he was partially used as a small forward for his length, he found his groove and his fit on the team was exquisite. He shots a huge volume of threes and it’s clear that defensively, he will be the guy we send to contain most opposing guards.
4. The back-up center spot will be a big topic of discussion, but Reed seems to have an edge
When the front office decided to sign Montrezl Harrell, the fear was that he would take Paul Reed’s minutes as the back-up five. It doesn’t seem to be totally the case at the moment. In the first three games, Reed always entered the game in the first quarter and he was pretty solid: his mix of agility, talent and constant activity makes him a really fun and dynamic player to watch. Instead of naming a clear-cut back-up center, match-ups could also be the determinant factor. Depending on the opponent, Reed is more armed to be solid contributor defensively and Harrell would be the preferred choice when we are in true need of a scoring punch.
5. The Sixers finally have a decent wing rotation
The front office needed to address this issue after last season and with the current roster, it looks like the Sixers ultimately have the right wings to compete. In four games, we saw PJ Tucker, Tobias Harris, Thybulle, House Jr. and Melton took on the small forward job, all with different approaches and various skillsets, but all with success. I wouldn’t totally be against the idea of trading for a guy like Jae Crowder who was made available, but even without such a move, the Sixers should have enough options and wing-depth to survive in the playoffs.
New season, new team, but same ambitions. This squad looks on paper more than prepared to flood the league and make Philly proud. We already can’t wait to cheer on them and like that, I’m sure that we will make this season one to remember, perhaps one crowned with a title.
Wishing everybody a great season, GO SIXERS!