Wed. Oct 23rd, 2019

With the official start of the season only 17 days away, we got a first look at this new Philadelphia 76ers team. 

After an offseason filled with changes, we finally got to see how the Philadelphia 76ers‘ starters together on one side and the second unit on the other side. With no surprise, the Sixers’ starters (Blue) won the Blue x White scrimmage; their star power and length gave the White team a lot of trouble on both sides. DEFENSE was the name of the game for both teams.

The Blue Team: Joel Embiid, Al Horford, Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, Ben Simmons, Raul Neto, Haywood Highsmith, Norvel Pelle, Isaiah Miles and Furkan Korkmaz.

The White team Kyle O’Quinn, Mike Scott, James Ennis, Trey Burke, Matisse Thybulle, Zhaire Smith, Jonah Bolden, Christ Koumadje, Shake Milton and Marial Shayok.

Some notable events from this afternoon are that Joel Embiid only played the first half due to load management. Matisse Thybulle was probably the best player on the court. We did not get to see Simmons shoot an outside shot. Horford seemed to fit in well. Josh Richardson got very limited touches and looked like he was playing the Tobias Harris role from last year.

Matisse Thybulle was the player who left the biggest impression. Defensively he forced many turnovers with deflections and steals, and he just caused havoc for the ball handler. If Thybulle can manage to do this in NBA games and shoot the three at a decent clip, there is no doubt that Thybulle will be an important bench player all season. The only reason he didn’t get an A+ is because he could’ve done better offensively.

Tobias Harris is going to take a bigger role this year, and this game showed it. He was the third option, and when both Embiid and Simmons were both off the floor, Harris was the primary guy on offense. Harris played relatively well, but defense is still an attribute of his game he has to work on. Harris also played both SF/PF, showing that he’s capable of doing both like he said at Media Day. He played a good game, and didn’t shy away from scoring when he had the chance.

Ben was pretty sloppy today. He had quite a few turnovers, and some very forced passes that didn’t work out. When it was time to score in the paint, he did do his job. But we didn’t see anything new from Ben other than his free throw shot. His shooting form is nowhere near perfect, but his left hand not sticking out is encouraging. He did a good job defensively, as always.

The former Boston Celtic played a solid game. He was at the right place at the right time, whether it’d be on defense with a block, or on offense with a three-point shot, Horford just fit. The most encouraging sign with Horford was his cohesion with Ben Simmons. They both seem to play well off one another, and having a center that can shoot will greatly benefit Ben Simmons game when Joel is on the bench.

Josh Richardson didn’t have the ball much today, but when he did, he did rather well. As of now Richardson seems to be out of place in this lineup, and he didn’t play a big role offensively. Defensively, his role will be to stop the opposing team’s best player and form a scary defensive backcourt with Simmons. Richardson’s role on offense should expand as time goes on,  but for today, he had a rather quiet night and did what he had to do.

Trey Burke had many situations to score, but his shot just didn’t seem to fall. Raul Neto, the man fighting for that backup PG job with Burke, made the offense flow better than Burke did. Getting the ball moving and playing off ball is Neto’s game. They both seemed to play at a very high intensity when defending each other, and fighting for the PG job between each other is a flashback from their Utah days, when Neto got the better of Burke.

Another player making a case for backup point guard is Shake Milton. He probably played the best game out of the three, demonstrating his speed and ability to score.

Three-point shooting seemed to be a bit of a concern throughout the quarters, especially the bench players, who got a lot of open looks that just didn’t fall.

Scott and Ennis both seemed underwhelming, but they are already both established bench players in the NBA and don’t have much to prove, which might explain their performance.

Next: 3 reasons Thybulle will make All-Rookie team

In the end, a scrimmage doesn’t mean much. It may or may not show what these guys will bring to the table when the NBA begins. Their official preseason begins on Oct. 8 against the Guangzhou Loong Lions.