FanPost

KJ McDaniels Looks Legit

The second most exciting thing about the Sixers first summer league game, behind Noel's wonderful display, was KJ McDaniel's fourth quarter. In it, he banged an open three pointer, got an easy dunk on the break, double pumped a baseline two hand jam on Aaron Gordon after cutting baseline and receiving a dart from Noel at the high post, and most impressively (because they told us he could run and jump and hit the occasional three) caught a pass at three point line, left hand dribbled to the elbow, rose and dropped a smooth jimmy. He got beat back door once by Aaron Gordon, but he also defended him well one on one. And it was his off-balance layup attempt that Gordon caught in mid-air. The Sixers made their comeback and KJ did his work after Oladipo went to the bench in the fourth. Before that the Magic had stretched out to a fairly comfortable lead. It would've been terrific to see how KJ would have fared guarding Oladipo. Still, he clearly has what it takes to man the three. I'm not ready to say after one game that he can be the starting shooting guard to start the season. But today's performance places it within the realm of possibility. Regardless, the talent is evident. Comparing the development of pogo-sticks Gordon and McDaniels could be fun. In Hinkie we trust...

On another note, Noel looked fantastic, most surprisingly as a passer. His assists were pure dymes. He won't often get only three rebounds, but I'm not sure that he'll average ten, at least in his first couple seasons. He and Embiid will be different types of defenders, with Embiid probably a better rebounder and block presence. Athletically, thought, Noel looked like he could play 3-4-5. His shot of course is all that's limiting him to the five right now. Embiid said he sees himself as a forward, and he can surely play the middle. Saric is a three or four. They all bring different skills to the table, and both Saric and Noel's agility and versatility will allow them to play together. All that after on game? Yes.

Because I think Noel will only be a decent rebounder at first, and because Noel will have to play with another 7'0 in Embiid and a three/four in Saric, it makes sense at this time for the starting lineup this year to include Henry Sims as the starting center, along with Thaddeus at the small forward. Thad at the four and Noel at the five is too thin to effectively control the defensive boards. I appreciate what Hollis did today, but unless he grabs ten boards on a consistent basis, we might need a beefier lineup than Noel at the five and Young at the four and Thompson at the three. But if you go Sims, Noel and Young, then without a sniper at the two guard spot, there's precious little for MCW to pass to on the outside. Optimally, McDaniels proves he can actually stroke it from the bean, and the problem is solved, giving the Sixers a ridiculous defense that could win thirty+ games. Otherwise, someone else will have to fill in (Thompson, Williams, Wroten?). Or, the Sixers sign a stretch four like Josh McRoberts who can shoot and rebound next to Nerlens?

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