This is the 22nd and latest installment of the Liberty Ballers Sixers Mailbag, although now under new management. Derek Bodner has graciously handed off these duties, and I will do my best to live up to the very high standards he's set for me. Let's get this party started.
Off Topic Questions
@killakow: You into Lou Bega?
Mambo No. 5 was released when I was around the age of 4, and I remember my grandparents playing it way too much for me, which meant I probably liked it. I surprisingly don't hate it now, so I guess Lou is cool in my book.
@KyleNeubeck: Is a hot dog a sandwich?
I'm not sure I've given my take on this yet, so I will go on the record as saying a hot dog is a sandwich, and you're a moron if you think otherwise. While Google's definition of a sandwich is "an item of food consisting of two pieces of bread", people are taking the two pieces part way too literally. In my book, if a food item is surrounded on two sides by bread, it's a sandwich. A hot dog bun is technically one large piece of bread, it covers enough ground to surround two sides of the hot dog. And if that's not good enough for you, tear the bun in half (super easy to do if you've never tried), and now you have two pieces. Also, if a hot dog isn't a sandwich, what category do you even put it in?
Dumb question, because hot dogs are sandwiches. Don't try and debate me on this. I'll fade you on sight.
Sixers Related Questions
@BrandonGowton: Who wins a ring first, Chip (Kelly) or Sam (Hinkie)?
I'm going to take the Sixers and Hinkie, partially because I'm biased towards the Sixers process, and also because I'm convinced I'll die before I ever see the Eagles win a Super Bowl.
If I were to use actual rationale here, I'll say it's because the Eagles are in a position where they're attempting to win now, but still have way too many question marks across the board. If healthy, I think Bradford could be the franchise quarterback this team desperately needs, but I'm super wary of his ability to stay on the field after two ACL tears. I have health concerns with DeMarco Murray and Ryan Mathews as well, and those guys seem like they're supposed to be mainstays in the Eagles offense for a while.
Basically, I think the Eagles are becoming too reliant on players who have shown that they can't really make it through an entire NFL season. This could either go really well or really bad, and if things go south, they'll be forced to blow it up.
While the Sixers rebuild certainly has its own vast set of questions, I think Hinkie has done a good job of setting himself up with so many assets that he can afford to fail here or there. It's hard to say that Chip has any real backup plan.
I'll give the edge to Sam here. Unless Chip decides to go back to college...
@Piratebro: Do you think Covington will see a significant amount of time at SG this year? Does this depend on if Wroten is the primary PG?
No, not really. Basketball Reference estimates that Covington played small forward 54% of the time he was on the floor, power forward 43% of the time, and even a little bit of center. While I don't expect the Sixers to really use him as a small ball four because they have a logjam of bigs, I think the same could be said for the guard situation.
Right now, they currently have Nik Stauskas, Hollis Thompson, and Tony Wroten (who I really don't prefer playing off ball) all likely to be getting reps at shooting guard. Add Scottie Wilbekin to the mix, who is auditioning for a third point guard spot, but is pretty effective playing the two. He looked really good playing off of Pierre Jackson in summer league. That's too many guys for Covington to get looks in the back court.
Worrying about specific positions are sort of silly, because it's really all dependent on matchups, but I do think you'll most likely see Covington playing as and defending small forwards.
@CB9921: Who do you think is the starting PG opening night?
Probably Isaiah Caanan. I've made it pretty well known I'm over him, but I think the Sixers are pretty committed to giving him every opportunity to prove himself. I would have taken Ish Smith over him, but that ship seems to have really sailed.
There are other options on the team, although I doubt they get the starting nod. Tony Wroten may not be back in time for the start of the season as he recovers from a torn ACL, and I'm not sure they'll want to throw him into the fray like that. One or two of TJ McConnell, Jackson, and Wilbekin will be on the opening night roster, but they're looking at more of a reserve role. Stauskas actually handled the ball a little bit while at Michigan, but I think they'd rather him try and improve the catch-and-shoot aspect of his game before giving him an expanded role.
Canaan seems like the only sure thing at point guard right now, so I'd expect him to start.
@JayWalker8012: Does the staff expect Richaun Holmes to contribute good minutes at the four this year?
I think the biggest benefactor of the Jason Thompson trade (outside of Jason) was definitely Holmes. After the team acquired Thompson and Carl Landry from Sacramento, he seemed like someone who could be headed to the D-League, or even overseas.
With Thompson gone and Landry likely to be out of the picture, Holmes should definitely be expected to contribute minutes at the four. He won't get off the bench before Jerami Grant and Furkan Aldemir do, but both those guys are versatile, so there are a good 10-15 minutes a game for Richaun to have playing power forward.
I thought he really impressed during Utah Summer League. He shot the ball pretty well from the outside, went after rebounds on both ends, and could even take defenders off the dribble. I think it would be sort of a waste not to try and work him into the rotation this year.
@jp_melle: What should change about the Sixers approach to Embiid in light of his second surgery?
I imagine they'll probably handle him with kid gloves this time, but I'm not really sure the organization did anything wrong the first time around. From all indications, they followed a pretty strict rehabilitation timeline, and only allowed him to ramp basketball activities up when they received an OK from the surgeon. People made a whole lot out of the team allowing him to go too hard, specifically his between the legs dunk from March. But at that point, he was nine months removed from surgery, and according to Hinkie, had an MRI that looked on schedule a couple days after. It was after March when his foot seemingly fell apart.
The Sixers can't monitor Embiid 24/7 when he's away from the team, and Joel needs to keep on the straight and narrow on and off the court. While Philadelphia may certainly try and take things slower this time around, I think a lot of responsibility rides on Embiid to follow the team's guidelines so he can hopefully have a long and prosperous career.
@Radmonovic: Skal Labissiere or Ben Simmons?
I'm leaning Simmons here. He's a freakish athlete; it's hard to find many 6' 10" guys who can facilitate an offense like he can. He's seems more destined to play small forward or power forward at the pro level, but it's nice to have a guy who can play as many positions as he can. He's going to have to improve his shooting, but that can be said just about almost every college talent these days.
Maybe the idea of taking another big man is what is scaring me away from Skal, but he is a talented defensive player with a surprisingly good jumper.
With all that said, I need to see a whole lot more of these guys before I make a decision, and luckily I have an entire NCAA season to do just that.
Thanks for your questions. Although it's dead season, I'm going to try and make this a weekly thing. If you want your question answered next week, follow me @JakePavorsky or email me at email@example.com