One Take for Each Opening Night Sixer

An abbreviated offseason only allowed two preseason games before the 2020-21. The NBA bubble is deflated, and now teams will be traveling regularly. The Sixers roster is set and the expectations with a functioning roster are high. Here’s a bunch of predictions that aren’t entirely serious and are 100-percent bound to happen …

Shake Milton will get votes for Sixth Man of the Year and Most Improved- Super sub Shake is going to play crucial minutes in crunch time. It isn’t difficult to envision him becoming a starter, but finishing games is more important. His versatility offensively will earn him minutes with nearly any lineup. Milton could replace any starter not named Joel Embiid, and the offense could still work. Doc Rivers has talked about Shake playing with freedom, and if he can effectively guard three positions, he’ll be pushing 25 minutes per night. Buy stock before its too late.

Tony Bradley leads the team in FG%– It’s hard to think of spicy takes about a third-string center, but if there’s anything we know about Tony Bradley its that he’s efficient. He’s a career 63-percent shooter with over 70-percent of his career attempts happening within 3 feet of the bucket. His PER and ORtg is going to be comical.

Furkan Korkmaz has the 2nd highest PPG of the second unit- Korkmaz took a major step forward last season, and it doesn’t feel fluky. His 40-percent clip from deep may not be matched this year, but he may be the best shooter on the team not named Curry. I could watch a 90 minute video of him just pump faking defenders out of their shoes. The Sixers may finally have a bench mob, and his yellow shoes will be a part of it. I’m expecting double-digit ppg from Korkmaz.

Seth Curry leads the team in game-winning shots- The resounding side-effect from J*mmy B*tler’s absence has been the lack of a go-to scorer late in the game. Curry is a sniper with the ability to get his shot off in a variety of ways. He can be used off the catch as well as a lead ball-handler. Curry has a shooting skillset the Sixers have been sorely lacking. The world-class shooting stroke. plus his father-in-law coach makes his a prime candidate to close out ball games.

There will be a Vincent Poirier game– There’s going to be a gastroenteritis outbreak in the Sixers locker room and Poirier will have to play 20+ and he’s going to have a career night. We all need a random 20 and 15 game from the most random Sixer.

Isaiah Joe forgets how to shoot– Finding a player with a genuine NBA skill is difficult in the latter half of the second round. The Sixers found an NBA-quality shooter at the 49th pick. Joe is a flamethrower and Sixers rookies are never normal. So naturally, his 37-percent mark from deep in college will take a dive. This has nothing to do with Joe as a player or prospect, but it just feels like a bizarre but destined Sixers’ rookie oddity.

Danny Green shoots 40-percent from deepBen Simmons is highly effective finding open shooters. Doc Rivers has emphasized a pick-and-roll heavy, quicker space offense. Danny Green’s proficiency from the corner will benefit from more downhill action towards the rim, by making help defenders pay for sagging off. He’s going to get plenty of chances to heave triples and build off of his elite career numbers.

Mike Scott gets dealt for PJ Tucker- Like many, I was under the impression Scott was going to get traded over the offseason. He’s on an expendable contract and coming off of a rough season. I hope he can bounce back under Doc Rivers, but he’s upgradable and stretch big is a need with or without him. His $5 million salary makes him a starting point in multiple trade scenarios, and he’s not a bad Tucker replacement for a Houston team with a murky outlook. The mobility of Dwight Howard and Tony Bradley wouldn’t be a concern with an exceptional small-five like Tucker on the roster.

Dwight Howard get a DNP due to a snake bite- Would you really be that surprised ? When you think about how much the Sixers use the “Unite or Die” snake logo, Dwight Exotic was meant to be in Philly.

Terrance Ferguson is the first Sixer traded- Anyone else forget he’s on the team ? Trade bait.

Ben Simmons leads the league in assists AND steals– Everything the Sixers did this offseason was designed to cater towards Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Adding better shooters and defenders will allow Simmons to defend and distribute with even more freedom. Finding Simmons’ rhythm in pick and rolls (as a ball handler or roll man) will open up even more dime dropping opportunities. I suspect all of which will be done as a Sixer, and only as a Sixer.

Matisse Thybulle is out of the playoff rotation- Thybulle has exhilarating highs and miserable lows. At his best he’s a maniacal defender and a threatening shooter, while his worst looks like a hack-fest who offers nothing on offense. Thybulle’s volatility doesn’t bode well for an advantageous general manager who always looks for upgrades. I’m not bailing on his potential, but the Sixers may not be able to trust him playing significant minutes.

Joel Embiid drops a career high in points per game- The space Embiid will have to work with is going to be night-and-day. The big fella will have plenty of room to work with and wreak havoc. His career high is 27.5 ppg. I don’t think he shatters that number but I think it improves slightly. Embiid looked fluid and spry in his lone preseason game and it will translate to the regular season. He’s happy. He’s fit. Joel Embiid is going to remind everyone just how special he is.

Tyrese Maxey: Playoff Hero- Maxey has the goods. This guy is just different. He’s a gym rat and may already be the best driver on the team. It’s easy to envision him clamping down the backup point guard role and even finding minutes alongside Ben Simmons. Fellow Kentucky guard Tyler Herro exploded in the 2020 postseason and Maxey is cut from the same cloth. The Sixers and Maxey were made for each other. Maxey has the creation they desperately need, and the Sixers will give him the stage to shine.

2020-21 will be Tobias Harris’ last as a Sixer– There’s a case to be made his contract is the worst in the league. Tobias Harris is a good basketball player, who often catches ire from the fanbase unfairly, but is he a good fit to maximize the team’s stars ? Sixers fans often forget he was dropping 20 points a night last year, but until he consistently bombs away from three and creates off the bounce, the question will always linger. Morey showed he can dump undesirable contracts by moving Al Horford away with ease. Harris has $148 million left on his contract that could potentially hamstring their future flexibility. Freeing up cap space to become major free agent recruiters feels like an avenue Morey will absolutely explore. The Sixers may need to add incentive to any hypothetical Harris swap, but I think Morey can manufacture some semblance of a market for a solid but unfortunately pricy player.

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