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Liberty Ballers Community Rankings: Mike Muscala

Voting for #8 as well.

Melbourne United v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images

Liberty Ballers is asking for the community’s help in ranking the Sixers’ full roster (12 active players, 3 inactive players, 2 two-way players) according to on-court value for the upcoming season. When casting a vote, you should concern yourself only with each player’s ability to contribute to winning this season. You can find the original post here, which includes the Sixers’ projected final roster.

The voting for the #9 spot has concluded, with the community settling on Mike Muscala. Muscala being around the #9 spot makes sense, but TJ McConnell being ahead of both Amir Johnson and Mike Muscala doesn’t. With TJ now advancing to the top 8, that means the community expects Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz and TJ McConnell to all be within the top eight most valuable players on the team. All of three of those players are most comfortable as point guards, all of them prefer the ball in their hands, and as of now, none of them can shoot.

Mike Muscala

I’ve been spending too much of my time over the summer watching Hawks’ film and trying to figure out exactly who Mike Muscala is and what he does on the basketball court. I haven’t yet arrived at a concrete answer. Brett Brown has decided he’s a stretch four if we’re going off of the preseason, and it seems that Brown envisions Muscala as an Ersan Ilyasova & Nemanja Bjelica replacement.

Ilyasova and Muscala are somewhat similar, but they have their differences to be sure. For one, Muscala doesn’t move off-ball like Ilyasova. I mean, Muscala has legs and they work. And it’s not like Ilyasova was running marathons off-ball. But Ilyasova is so aware and often finds open space, while from what I gather, Muscala is more of a plotter. The good news, and another difference, is that Muscala has a pretty quick release for a big, which should help compensate for his lack of movement. Muscala is likely a more efficient shooter than Ilyasova:

Mike Muscala vs. Ersan Ilyasova shooting

Player Career FG% Career 3PT% Career FT% Career eFG% 17-'18 FG% 17-'18 3PT% 17-'18 FT% 17-'18 eFG%
Player Career FG% Career 3PT% Career FT% Career eFG% 17-'18 FG% 17-'18 3PT% 17-'18 FT% 17-'18 eFG%
Mike Muscala 49.1% 37.8% 84.8% 55.4% 45.8% 37.1% 91.9% 55.8%
Ersan Ilyasova 44.3% 36.6% 77.0% 50.3% 45.2% 36.0% 77.8% 52.6%

But the main discrepancy between the two players comes on the defensive end. Muscala’s mold is that of a traditional center, and so putting him at the four could generate mismatches in favor of teams that employ more athletic forwards. This is where Brett Brown could get creative. In a five-out-like lineup of Ben Simmons, Mike Muscala, JJ Redick, Robert Covington and Wilson Chandler/Dario Saric, Muscala could stretch the floor offensively while Brown sticks him close to the rim on the opposite end. Even then, Muscala is an uninspiring rim protector, and last season he allowed a defensive field goal percentage of 60% within 6 feet of the rim.

Muscala is poised to be a factor on the Sixers. I’m just unsure of how he’ll be utilized in a way that mitigates his weaknesses. Luckily for me, that’s on Brett Brown to figure out. I’m sure we’ll see plenty of screens from Muscala, and a relatively frequent amount of pick-and-pops. Placing him around #9, for an end of the rotation big, seems about right. (I anticipate fans feeling pretty ambivalent about Muscala.)

Sixers Community Rankings

Rank Player Vote percentage Runner-up Runner up vote % 3rd 3rd vote %
Rank Player Vote percentage Runner-up Runner up vote % 3rd 3rd vote %
17 Demetrius Jackson 41% Jerryd Bayless 29% Furkan Korkmaz 10%
16 Jerryd Bayless 29% Demetrius Jackon (leading vote getter) 32% Shake Milton 22%
15 Shake Milton 81% Jonah Bolden 8% Zhaire Smith 4%
14 Jonah Bolden 69% Zhaire Smith 17% Furkan Korkmaz 12%
13 Zhaire Smith 39% Furkan Korkmaz 37% Amir Johnson 8%
12 Furkan Korkmaz 64% Amir Johnson 11% Landry Shamet 11%
11 Landry Shamet 30% Amir Johnson 26% Mike Muscala 21%
10 Amir Johnson 43% Mike Muscala 35% TJ McConnell 17%
9 Mike Muscala 55% TJ McConnell 26% Wilson Chandler 15%
8 TJ McConnell 53% Wilson Chandler 37% Markelle Fultz 11%

Vote for #8:


Who will be the Sixers’ 8th most valuable player?

This poll is closed

  • 52%
    TJ McConnell
    (233 votes)
  • 10%
    Markelle Fultz
    (46 votes)
  • 36%
    Wilson Chandler
    (163 votes)
442 votes total Vote Now

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