Another month of the NBA season is over, and a lot has changed in 76ers Land. There’s that whole Jimmy Butler thing and there’s also that whole, uhh, Markelle Fultz thing.
Like I did for October, I asked Twitter to let me know what y’all’s takes and reactions for the month were, and then I’m grading them based on how much of an overreaction they are. Here’s the scale:
- Yeah, this isn’t an overreaction at all and is, in fact, a very valid reaction.
- Okay, I can see where this is coming from.
- I mean...let’s wait a little longer before we say this.
- Uhh, you might want to slow down with this reaction.
- CALM DOWN THE WORLD ISN’T ENDING YET
So essentially, lower score = more reasonable opinions.
Let’s go. Remember: all of these were real things that people said to me.
Markelle Fultz is a Sixers draft bust
I’d give this a four or five if it had been phrased as Fultz just being a bust, but specifying that he’s a bust for the Sixers is...possible accurate, and would bump to a one if Fultz ends up never playing another game for the Sixers.
I still have hope for Fultz, but I am losing any faith that it’ll be in a Sixers uniform when he becomes a solid NBA player. He’s still got a lot of potential as a passer and defender, he can get to the rim with ease, and in the right situation his lack of a developed jump shot won’t be a career killer.
Markelle Fultz won’t play another NBA game
Yeah, he’s a second-year player who was picked first overall. He’s going to play another game in the NBA. It might not be here, but he’s going to play somewhere for someone. Come on, y’all. (To be fair, this overreaction actually came from a couple of people from Grizzly Bear Blues. Come on, fellow SB Nation friends! What is this take???
Let’s move on. Markelle Fultz is going to play another NBA game.
Without Joel Embiid, this team would be lucky to get a seven seed
Joel Embiid has been, without a doubt, the most important player on this team, and he leads the team in both O-PIPM and D-PIPM. This team wouldn’t be as good without him.
But a team led by Jimmy Butler and Ben Simmons would still be a playoff team, right? Maybe I’m overestimating here, but right now seventh in the East means being a .500 team. Would a starting lineup of Amir Johnson/Wilson Chandler/Jimmy Butler/JJ Redick/Ben Simmons be a .500 team?
I’d tend to vote yes to that question. We’ve seen how good Jimmy Butler can be and how impactful he can be in the past. Last year, the Timberwolves won 47 games. 37 of those came with Butler in the lineup, for a 37-22 record when he was in the lineup. That means the team was 10-13 without Butler. While that’s a pretty anecdotal example, I do think it gives us an idea of how Butler can drag an average team to the playoffs.
This team isn’t finishing third in the East without Embiid, but fifth? I could see it. Seventh? For sure.
Shake Milton should get half of McConnell’s minutes
I’d like to start this off by saying I am not a big fan of T.J. McConnell. I don’t think he’s a bad player, but his skill set isn’t what I think this team needs to succeed. He’s a get to the bucket and score point guard who takes 0.5 threes per game. McConnell being in the rotation presents a lot of the same issues that made people question Fultz being in the rotation. Ideally, this team would back Ben up with a point guard who can shoot.
The Sixers have two rookies who played point guard in college — Milton and Landry Shamet — but who best project to play as catch-and-shoot off-guards in the NBA. Giving either of them extended minutes at the one is definitely not an ideal scenario, but Brett Brown can figure out some imaginative ways around that. Jimmy Butler can bring the ball up when Ben sits? You could just hope Shamet is able to be the point guard for short stretches?
This rates as a little bit of an overreaction because you’d introduce that backup point guard question, but you’d also increase the team’s shooting and floor spacing abilities, so...hmm. UNLEASH THE SHAKE.
Joel Embiid is a top five player
I’m not quite ready to anoint Embiid as a top five NBA player, but I can see where this take is coming from. Still
- Stephen Curry
- Kevin Durant
- LeBron James
- Anthony Davis
are your top four in some order, and then I think James Harden or Giannis Antetokounmpo are at the five spot. That leaves Joel’s best case scenario being “seventh-best player in the NBA,” which isn’t a bad place to be. Let’s slow down before we call him a top five guy, but it’s not some wild overreaction based on how he’s looked all season.
This team should sign Anthony Bennett
This is my own take that I have been bouncing around in my head for awhile, and I wanted to get it down via some written words so I can accurately tell myself that it’s not actually a great take.
The four is an issue for this team. You have Wilson Chandler. You have Mike Muscala. You have...Jonah Bolden. There’s some depth concerns there.
Meanwhile, Anthony Bennett’s G-League numbers are good this year. Look at the highlights from his last game:
Anthony Bennett hitting trailing threes, and hitting catch-and-shoot threes, and looking like someone who can be a good NBA player still!
But I’m overreacting, because this team doesn’t need to add a project like Bennett, no matter how impressive he’s looked in the G-League. Let a rebuilding team take a gamble on him, and let the Sixers find some other option to help at the four.
(But really, someone go sign Anthony Bennett.)