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Best Case / Worst Case: Sixers Opening Night

Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

In honor of opening night, and of the renewed rivalry between the Sixers and the Celtics, and the fact that we’ve got top billing on TNT, here is the Best and Worst Case for every active player on the Sixers:

Joel Embiid

Best Case: Embiid plays around 32 minutes, and in those 32-ish minutes racks up something like 28 and 12. He gets to the line often, getting at least one of the Celtics’ starters in foul trouble. Probably Jaylen Brown. He also blocks Aron Baynes so hard his top bun falls off revealing a questionable skull tattoo of Crocodile Dundee.

Worst Case: Embiid plays way too many minutes in a game where we are trying to stay close, loses the ball roughly half the time he tries to dribble-drive, goes 0-5 from three, and finishes with something like 28 and 12.

Ben Simmons

Best Case: Simmons logs his first of many triple-doubles (16/12/11 sounds about right) while throwing no less than five alley-oops. Also, moments after some drunk jabroni from Boston yells, “Shoot a three you coward!” Ben makes his first three of the season OR posterizes Tatum on his way to a three-point play before yelling back, “That’s how I shoot a three, you coward.”

Worst Case: Simmons has pretty much the same game statistically, but he gets back together with Kendall Jenner afterwards.

Robert Covington

Best Case: RoCo shuts down Gordon Hayward in his return, and gets so any deflections that Wu-Tang member Inspectah Deck decides to permanently change his name to Deflectah Deck. He also goes 4-7 from three and drives to the rim multiple times without dribbling off his foot even once.

Worst Case: Regardless of how well he shoots threes, or how the handle is, a subpar game on defense is the worst case for Covington. Especially against the wing-heavy Celtics. Especially given how hungry Celtics fans are for an excuse to say any Sixer is overrated.

Markelle Fultz

Best Case: Markelle not only starts, but is effective in 25+ minutes on the floor for the Sixers. He knocks down a few jumpers, plays tough defense, shows off his spin move, hits at least one three and maybe even throws a chase-down block in the mix. He’s 5 of 6 from the line, and seems poised whenever he’s on the floor. Also he dunks so hard on Terry Rozier that Rozier cries, forcing the Celtics’ to give up on their “Cus Crise” because it’s too close to “Cause Cries.”

NOTE: I know it’s C Us Rise, but it looks like Cus Crise, which also sounds like the name of a back-up rapper on an Uncle Kracker track from the mid-2000s.

Worst Case: Assuming he doesn’t show up with an entirely new way to shoot a basketball, we’re good. This season is about development. Any progression, or lack of regression, is success. So as long as he plays a decent game, this is going in the plus column for Fultz.

Dario Saric

Best Case: The Croatian Sensation AKA Cro-deo Drive AKA Dar for the Course AKA Get Sa-Ric or Die Tryin’ AKA The Homie Dario is definitely a fan favorite, or at the very least a personal favorite. He’s been working on his footwork, fitness and speed. If those things translate to being more of a plus defender alongside his already strong offensive game, Dario could one day be an All-Stario. In the meantime, a highly efficient offensive game in the 60/40/80 range (fg%/3pt%/ft%) would be very *chef-kiss emoji*

Worst Case: He has one of those weird, flat-shot Dario games instead of one of those ‘oh that’s going in’ Dario games. And/or he clumpy-flumps his way into foul trouble on the offensive side of the ball.

JJ Redick

Best Case: JJ embraces his roll as Sixth Man because it not only affords him fresh legs, leading to lots of silky-smooth catch-and-shoot threes in not a lot of minutes, but because it gives him the opportunity to start to embrace his future role as NBA head coach. It also gives the Celtics less opportunity to cut under screens and foul him into the hardwood.

Worst Case: He has Kyrie on the JJ Redick podcast after Kyrie torches us to talk about how Kyrie torched us, which would just be rude to be honest.

T.J. McConnell

Best Case: T.J. McGritty makes the most of his 10-12 minutes on the floor by annoying Kyrie, knocking down a half-dozen jumpers from his spot (which should eventually be renamed the T.J.), and hitting a wide-open, set-your-feet three that sends us to O.T. where he also hits a game-winning layup. This display of gritness leads to McDonald’s renaming the McRib the McGritty (until research shows that to be a very unappetizing name).

Worst Case: T.J. doesn’t play.

Landry Shamet

Best Case: Landry Shamet takes a page out of the book of Redick and scores 17 points in limited minutes on something like 80% three-point shooting (4/5 sounds about right). The TNT announcers argue over whether it’s pronounced ‘Sham-may’ or ‘Sham-mitt’ which leads to Barkley declaring loudly, and incorrectly, on national TV, that it’s ‘Shammit, dammit.’

Worst Case: Because he’s a rookie on the Sixers the worst case is always that he gets a season-ending injury, probably to his foot.

Furkan Korkmaz

Best Case: We have a big enough lead that Furkan is able to come in for limited minutes late in the game. If this is a close one, don’t expect Furk to break into the rotation. If he does clock 5-7 late game minutes, a few quick release 3’s would be a win. A highlight worthy dunk that causes the crowd to think the words ‘Furk yeah’ would be the best case scenario.

Worst Case: Furkan gets fined by the NBA after trying to get ‘Furk yeah!’ to catch on in his post-game interview.

Amir Johnson

Best Case: With Mike Muscala out, Amir is probably going to play more minutes than he should. If he is able to grab a few offensive rebounds that lead to second chance points, draw a few fouls when he spells Joel in the third, and piss off the home crowd , let’s consider that making the most of his minutes.

Worst Case: His ankles both shatter like Samuel L. Jackson’s character in M. Night Shyamalan’s upcoming sequel, Glass, forcing JoJo to play more minutes than he should.

Jonah Bolden

Best Case: He puts in a few plus minutes as a back-up involving zero unforced errors and less than zero corner threes.

Worst Case: After watching Marcus Smart flop a bunch of times, Bolden decides flopping is a ‘smart’ idea and becomes the league’s biggest flopper

Jerryd Bayless

Best Case: He plays?

Worst Case: He plays?

Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, Zhaire Smith


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