Sixers Playoff Rotation Breakdown
There were many positives for the Sixers with the league suspending its season, but there was one negative. The post-trade deadline Sixers did not have much time to gel together and figure out roles and rotations.
Now with the league’s sprint to the finish right around the corner, the Sixers have little time to figure out what players are going to see the court in the postseason. Although the team has eight games to figure as much out as they can, here is how the breakdown looks heading into the return of play.
This is the most obvious part of the rotation heading in. Although there might be some changes, the team’s original starting five are going to carry the load of the minutes when the lights get brighter.
We may see Al Horford become the sixth man when games return, but even off the bench, he will still see a good amount of time in the rotation as a backup center to Joel Embiid and potentially slide into his original role to close out games.
Two players fall into this category, Shake Milton and Alec Burks. They arguably could be thrown in as locks, but don’t have solidified spots like the players mentioned above.
This could change if Brett Brown does decide to make some changes to the starting lineup. The move that has been discussed a lot in the break is Shake Milton becoming a starter and Al Horford sliding into a sixth man/super-sub role.
These two will most likely eat up most of the minutes when Ben Simmons is off the floor. Earlier in the year, Brown brought up the idea of using Josh Richardson as a backup point guard in the playoffs, but with the acquisition of Burks and the emergence of Milton, things may change.
The Sixers are going to need scoring and shot creation off the bench, something that both of these guards bring to the table. The team is also going to need as many ball handlers as they can get for when the game slows down and Ben Simmons is potentially moved off the ball at times.
On The Bubble
This is where things get tricky. After the five starters and two guards there are at most two spots open in the rotation, but three players that could essentially fill in those spots. The three players competing for these spots are Glenn Robinson III, Furkan Korkmaz, and Matisse Thybulle.
Brett Brown has been known to have “quiet tournaments” in the past for spots in the rotation, and there is a good chance that we see that here. All three players have a valid case as to why they should be on the floor come playoffs.
Shooting is arguably going to be the main factor in what players take these spots. The Sixers are going to need floor spacing and consistent shooting if they are going to make a serious run at the title. This means if one of these players go on a hot streak in these final eight games, it just might lock them into the playoff rotation.
Realistically it is most likely going to be Glenn Robinson III and one of Korkmaz or Thybulle. Korkmaz has proven that he can be a rotation piece this year but is a serviceable defender at best. Thybulle has shown that he can be a lockdown defender but has not shown a lot of consistency on offense to guarantee him a spot.
There is a small chance all three could make it if coach Brown wants to use Thybulle as a situational defender at times. This pick for the final spot is going to come down to what side of the ball Brett Brown wants to focus on.
Outside Looking In
With the rotation tightening up there are always going to be players that don’t make the cut. The guys in this situation are Norvel Pelle, Kyle O’Quin, Raul Neto, and Mike Scott.
Mike Scott could arguably be thrown into the category above but I think it will be tough to squeeze him in during the playoffs. With the starting lineup already having so much size the team could benefit more from giving the bench spots to guards and wings then throwing in another power forward to the mix.
The rest of the guys are just stuck in a situation where they play a position that is at a surplus on this team. Al Horford will be the backup to Joel Embiid so there is no need to throw O’Quin or Pelle into the mix, and Neto could be a mismatch on defense leaving him out of the rotation.
There is still a lot of time before the league returns and playoffs start, so things could change. But right now this is a good indication as to how the makeup of a potential playoff rotation looks for the Sixers.