Once upon a time, Jrue Holiday was a member of the 76ers, and then he was traded to the Pelicans for Nerlens Noel and the draft pick that became Elfrid Payton (a pick that turned into Dario Saric and Landry Shamet!), and the whole Process thing really got started.
This isn’t Holiday’s first time to play against his former team, but it is the first time that he comes to town in the Jimmy Butler era, as the Process that the Holiday trade began has crystallized into something else.
New Orleans (10-7) and Philadelphia (12-7) are both looking for their fourth straight victory in Wednesday’s matchup, and both teams are led by elite big men. Anthony Davis comes into this one averaging 27.6 points per game and 12.4 rebounds, along with a career-high 4.9 assists per game, and he isn’t the only big producing for this New Orleans team. There’s Nikola Mirotic, who is having a great year at the four, and there’s former Laker Julius Randle, who has carved out a key role off the Pelicans bench.
E’Twaun Moore has been shooting well for New Orleans this year, hitting on 49.2 percent of his three-pointers this season, and they’ve gotten good contributions, especially when it comes to shooting, from unlikely sources like Wesley Johnson and Darius Miller.
Jrue Holiday, meanwhile, hasn’t had the greatest start to his season. While he’s scoring 19.5 points per game, a 0.5 jump from last year, he’s doing so less efficiently, and he’s hitting under 20 percent from three. He’s also posting the worst defensive rating of his career.
For the Sixers to win, they’ll need to battle to a draw (or an Embiid victory) up front. Limit what Anthony Davis does and make a backcourt that is without Elfrid Payton be the thing that has to beat you. New Orleans is second in the NBA in assists, but the Sixers are allowing the fifth-fewest assists per game this year, and if they can keep the pass-happy Pelicans from being pass-happy, there’s a good chance they can pull out the win.
What to watch for from the 76ers side
Well, there’s the Markelle Fultz thing. He’ll be visiting a specialist for a look at his shoulder and will be out for...some amount of time. That gives backup point guard duties to T.J. McConnell, which...not sure how people feel about that, but McConnell seems like a downgrade since the one thing that people largely complain about with Fultz (lack of shooting) is also true of McConnell, who has not made a three-pointer all season.
Landry Shamet and Furkan Korkmaz will continue to get minutes, but neither can be trusted to run the point. Maybe we see some lineups where Butler initiates the offense? Could that be fun? Does Philly need to acquire a backup point guard? Maybe tonight will answer some of those questions.
When: 7:00 pm EST
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, PA
TV: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Radio: 97.5 the Fanatic