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Sixers Mailbag Season 2 Vol. 6 - What Do We Do With Nik Stauskas?

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This week's questions include Stauskas, 2016 draft eligible point guards, Tony Wroten, and more.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Which number will be higher: the volumes of the Liberty Ballers mailbag, or the Sixers win total? Definitely looking like it will be the mailbag. As always, you can catch up on previous installments here. Let's get started.

Hubert (via email): It's annoying when Stauskas is missing open looks but I still think he has the potential to be our starting SG of the future and he should stay in the starting five despite his struggles. Is Brett Brown patience for him ending? Should we anticipate a lineup change?

I think a lineup change is pretty inevitable at this point. Last night he shot 0-4 from the field (0-2 from beyond the arc), making him 0-10 over the past two games. He didn't see any action against Dallas past the 8:42 mark of the 3rd quarter on Monday. There's no real explanation for why Stauskas is playing horribly, at least from an offensive standpoint.  According to NBA.com, Stauskas's most frequently takes shots when defenders are 4-6 feet away, and he's shooting just 23.3% from three-point range. That's the sign of a guy with a shattered confidence. At this point, I'm not sure Brett Brown can continue to let him try and fight through his shooting woes (although it looks like they'll let him), because the Sixers first unit desperately needs somebody who can knock down an open three. Hollis Thompson has struggled in his starts this season, but Philadelphia really has no choice but to throw him in there while Stauskas tries to re-discover his game. Thompson is shooting 47.2% from the field and 54.2% from three over the past five games; might as well try to ride the hot hand.

Overall, I think the outlook for Stauskas's career is still bright. His shot form looks fine, and there's no real good reason a guy who shot 44.1% from beyond the arc during his two seasons at Michigan should be missing open looks on a consistent basis. For his sake, I hope he breaks out of his shooting funk soon. The Sixers are much more fun when he's playing well.

Benjamin C. (via email): With Dario Saric coming over next year, is this the year we draft starting caliber guards so we can possibly compete for at least the 8th seed in the 16-17 season?

It's still not guaranteed Saric comes over next season (although he has made it seem that way), but Philadelphia needs to find some backcourt help regardless. The chances that the starting point guard and shooting guard of the future are on this roster currently. T.J. McConnell has turned out to be a nice find for the Sixers coaching staff and should eventually fit into a cozy reserve role, but they desperately need a lead guard that can score consistently and efficiently from the outside (not Isaiah Canaan). That talent is arguably there at the top of the draft. Kentucky's Jamal Murray is about as pure of a scorer as there is, and the Sixers could desperately use his help. He's a little undersized for today's NBA two guard, but that's the role he'll be playing most at Kentucky. He'd instantly be their most well rounded offensive player not named Jahlil Okafor. Kris Dunn from Providence is much more of a true point guard with a decent mid-range game, but adding a three-point shot will be key for his development. He put up 32 points against Harvard in his season debut.

Another option I like further down the draft board is Demetrius Jackson from Notre Dame. He's an excellent shooter and comfortable at either guard position. They'll be able to find their guy this year.

@JustinPMcHugh: Is an Embiid, Noel and Okafor 30 minute per person tandem a dream or can it be reality next year?

This seems like kind of a pipe dream, for a handful of reasons. I can't imagine Joel Embiid will be averaging 30 minutes per game at any point next year. The Sixers will be extra cautious with him and likely limit his minutes throughout the season as they get him up to full speed. He'll probably play somewhere in the ballpark of 20 minutes a night, and the Sixers will have to pray that he can hold up.

I'm not sure how he fits in the equation though, considering how Okafor and Noel are struggling to play together. It's still early in the year, but the floor looks too crowded for the both of them right now. The ability for the two of them to co-exist seems reliant on Noel being able to find a mid-range jumper, and right now he's shooting 16.7% on shots between 10-16 feet. Noel's offensive numbers haven't been great in general this year, but it's clear that he plays a lot better around the rim as opposed to at the top of the key. If you throw Embiid on the floor with Noel, they're going to run into the same problem as they are right now with Okafor.

Embiid certainly can't play the four. He won't be quick enough to defend the position, and considering playing in the post is his bread and butter, moving him off the low block would really limit him offensively.

Okafor could possibly make the move to the four because he has a decent shooting foundation, but again, you're removing him from a position of strength. Good luck trying to get him to defend the perimeter as well. They've got a lot of things to figure out, but seeing how it's working thus far between Okafor and Noel, I don't think adding Embiid solves any of their problems.

@omachoomar: When everyone is healthy, would you have Tony Wroten in the regular rotation? Whose minutes do you think he takes?

Wroten will definitely need to be eased into the rotation, and I'm sure he'll be on a minutes restriction to start. He'll eventually work his way back into the sixth man role that suits him pretty well. Considering Canaan seems to have returned to more of a ball handling role, I imagine Wroten would have to eat into his minutes.

At this point I feel like I'm complaining about Canaan in every mailbag, but he gives me plenty to be angry about. He's the antithesis of consistency, and simply doesn't know how to get his teammates involved. Wroten has a tendency to get tunnel vision, but is far superior at passing than Canaan is. At the very least, Wroten's ability to get to the basket is going to collapse defenses, which should result in open looks for the likes of Thompson, Covington, and others. That's a whole lot more than what Canaan is bringing at the point guard position.

One scenario that I think could work would be benching cutting into the minutes for Stauskas, and allowing Canaan to play off ball. Canaan is shooting 41.5% from three on catch-and-shoot opportunities, and has always looked more comfortable as the off ball guard. However, it all depends on what Brett Brown wants to do with Stauskas, but it sounds like he's pretty committed to letting him shoot through his problems. Wroten says he'll be back in early December, so we'll know more about the minutes situation then.

Thanks for reading. As always, you can send me your questions via email at jake.pavorsky@gmail.com, or on Twitter @JakePavorsky.