Sixers vs. Mavericks Preview: Who Is Still Here?

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The trade deadline is now over and the Sixers are schedule to return to action. So with all of yesterday's moves, who is available for tonight's game?

The NBA Trade Deadline has come and gone and the Sixers' roster now looks significantly different than it did when the Sixers last played against the Cavaliers on Tuesday night. The Sixers return to action tonight against the Mavericks, but the BIG question is: who the hell is even going to play?

As of now, I'm guessing these are the starters: Michael Carter-Williams, James Anderson, Hollis Thompson, Thaddeus Young, Arnett Moultrie. As for the bench: Tony Wroten, Lorenzo Brown, and Elliot Williams. Not included in this projection is any player the Sixers acquired yesterday: Byron Mullens, Danny Granger, Eric Maynor, Henry Sims, and Earl Clark (who the Sixers waived last night). Sixers overlord GM Sam Hinkie indicated as few as 7 and as many as 9 players will be available. Two of Sixers trades made yesterday have officially gone through, but two are still pending.

The other thing I'm wondering is: how bad will this team actually be? You look at recent losses before the deadline like the slaughtering at the hand of the Clippers, and you wonder how things could possibly have gotten worse. And now it has! Boy, these final games are going to be fun*. Let the losses pile up in droves. Only 27 games left.

*Incredibly hard to watch.

Hinkie Quotes

Hinkie held a press conference around noon today and touched on a number of topics. Some of the highlights below. Quotes courtesy @ChrisVito.

On the rationale behind the deadline moves: "[The goal is] finding foundational players we can move forward with."

On the future outlook of the Sixers: "We're trying to acquire things that will help us move forward. [...] I don't think any other team is focusing on player development more than we are. [...] [The goal is] finding foundational players we can move forward with."

On Thaddeus Young still being on the team: "I think (Thad Young's) role will grow. It will be a new opportunity for him, as well. We'll continue to lean on him."

On MCW: "We're pleased with him so far. He's persevered."

On the status of Danny Granger: "We'll meet with (Granger). ... It's going to be interesting. We're going to sit and talk. [...] There's a chance for us to have a discussion."

Note: ESPN's Marc Stein had the following to say regarding Granger:

It is NOT an automatic Granger will get a buyout from Sixers. Keeping him for sign-and-trade options this summer holds appeal for Philly.  But Granger clearly does not want to be in Philly and is expected to push for his release to try to work his way to Miami, OKC, SA, etc. Granger's camp said to want buyout ... but he'd lose his Bird rights going that route. So lots to talk about in those "discussions" with Hinkie.

LB's own Jake Pavorsky has noted the buyout for Granger remains a strong possibility: "Granger's buyout is not a done deal, but it's something strongly being considered."

Blogger Q&A - [My answers at Mavs Moneyball]

As part of this Sixers-Mavs preview, Doyle Rader from Mavs Moneyball and I swapped a few questions and answers. Here's what I asked him:

1) My previous perception of Monta Ellis was that he was a low-efficiency, high-volume gunner who puts up good numbers but limits team success. The Mavs seem to be doing well for themselves with him though. So what's your take on Monta now and has that changed from when the Mavs signed him?

I'm not sure that he has changed, per se. The situation he is currently in just asks him to do much less on the court and play within himself. Previously, Ellis was the primary scoring option. On the Mavs, Ellis plays alongside the likes of Dirk Nowitzki, Jose Calderon, and Vince Carter. Each of these players take a lot of scoring pressure off of Ellis. Beyond that, Dallas spaces the floor extremely well with all their shooters, this allows Ellis to drive and either look for his own shot or set up one of his teammates as the defense collapses on him.

At first I was skeptical about the Ellis signing. I always liked him but the low-efficiency shots you mentioned were a red flag. However, I, and certainly many, are quite pleased with the addition of Monta.

2) The Mavs and Sixers both late lottery teams last year. The Sixers, under new GM Sam Hinkie, decided to blow up the roster and rebuild. Sixers backers were largely supportive of this organizational move because it took them out of mediocrity and laid the framework for slowly building a contender. The Mavs opted for immediate success and decided to add some pieces in free agency in order to improve the roster.  Do you see the Mavs as viable championship contenders or do they need a rebuild (like the Sixers) before that can happen?

No, they are certainly not championship contenders as presently assembled. The front office will probably continue to tinker with the roster for as long as Nowitzki is still playing. Their goal is to put the pieces around him in the chances of getting back to the Finals one last time during his career. After Dirk retires, though? That's the big question. Dallas chased a major free agent and came up empty the last two summers. Chances are they will continue with this approach until they land one. I highly doubt that the Mavs will ever willingly put themselves in the position that the Sixers are in. The Mavericks have shown no real interest in drafting for some time. Josh Howard was the only good draft pick during Mark Cuban's tenure.

I'm not sure what the Mavericks need but it isn't more of the same. They need to start valuing the draft, even if it only a little while continuing to add veterans. But a full fledged tank is very unlikely.

3) All these years and I still can't get over Shawn Marion's shooting form. I mean how does that thing work?

I have no idea. I like to imagine that something similar to the board game Mousetrap goes on inside his body each time he shoots.

The Enemy

Mavs Moneyball

Prediction

I put my 0-5 record when doing game coverage for LB on the line tonight. Here's to 0-6.

Game Info

Tip is at 7:00 PM EST. GameThread will be up at 6:30 - don't forget to join us. You can catch the game on CSN. You can listen live on the radio: 97.5 The Fanatic.

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