Projecting the Sixers 2018-19 depth
Though some more minor moves could still be made, the Philadelphia 76ers roster for the 2018-19 NBA season is largely set.
To start the season, the starting lineup [in all likelihood] will remain the same as it was throughout the ’17-18 campaign when the team won 52 games and advanced to the Eastern Conference Semifinals
PG1. Ben Simmons – Simmons will enter his sophomore season (yes, he was a rookie last year) looking to cement himself as one of the league’s best pure point guards. After averaging 15.8, 8.2, and 8.1 last season, it’s not crazy to think that Simmons could flirt with averaging a triple-double over the course of the campaign.
SG1. J.J. Redick – Outside of landing a franchise-altering talent like LeBron James or Paul George, bringing back J.J. Redick was a top priority for the Sixers this offseason. His ability to knock down shots and space the floor for the Sixers is infinitely important.
SF1. Robert Covington – Mr. First-Team All-Defense will be back in his starting forward spot looking to lock down opposing perimeter players. Some consistency on the offensive end, especially from long distance, could take his game to another level.
PF1. Dario Saric – Dario’s sophomore season saw The Homie develop into a legitimate stretch four and an excellent on-court complement to Simmons and Embiid. Expect continued development from Dario in ’18-19.
C1. Joel Embiid – The literal centerpiece of the Sixers, for the first time in his career Embiid will be entering a season healthy, without restriction, and after an entire offseason of working out.
PG2. T.J. McConnell – Throughout last season and into the playoffs McConnell solidified himself as a legitimate backup point guard, which is what he will be for the Sixers this season.
SG2. Markelle Fultz – Fultz will be the x-factor for the Sixers this season. If he is able to put the shooting and confidence issues that plagued him last season behind him and become the player that the Sixers drafted him to be, the team could be adding a third star – or at least a very solid contributor – without making a big splash in free agency.
Fultz will likely be the first player off of the bench for the Sixers in many games, and it will be interesting to see if he takes over the starting shooting guard spot from Redick at any point throughout the season.
SF2. Wilson Chandler – Chandler was the team’s biggest offseason addition, and he is going to be looked at for some major buckets off of the bench.
PF2. Mike Muscala – Bjelica Muscala projects to fill a similar role to what Ersan Ilysova did for the Sixers last season as a big man that is [somewhat] mobile and capable of stretching the floor.
C2. Amir Johnson – Bringing back Amir Johnson wasn’t a flashy move, but it filled a need for the Sixers. Expect him to see around 14 minutes of action a game in relief of Embiid.
PG3. Landry Shamet – The bulk of the Sixers’ ball-handling duties will be handled by Simmons, McConnell, and Fultz, so Shamet’s role will be a pretty small one to start his career.
SG3. Zhaire Smith – Smith won’t have a huge role as a rookie, at least to start the season, but Brett Brown is very high on his two-way potential, and he will definitely get an opportunity to show his stuff.
SF3. Furkan Korkmaz – Korkmaz’s strengths (shooting, floor spacing) happen to be a major need for this Sixers squad, so there could be some minutes available for Furkan, especially following the departures of Ilysova and Marco Belinelli. His ability to compete on the defensive end will likely have a major impact on how many minutes he is able to earn.
PF/C3. Jonah Bolden – Bolden will be taking over the Richaun Holmes role of the mobile big off of the deep bench. By signing Bolden and trading Holmes the Sixers sent a clear message that they are higher on Bolden's long-term potential than they are on Holmes'. Bolden projects as a better defender and floor-spacer than Holmes.
UTL. Jerryd Bayless – Bayless is still on the Sixers roster, but the team has looked to move him and he is clearly not a part of the plan moving forward. His role will likely reflect that.
Follow Michael Kaskey-Blomain on Twitter @therealmikekb.