The Philadelphia 76ers had a relatively underwhelming offseason by some standards. Not one member of the elite small forward triumvirate of LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are preparing to play ball for the Sixers this season. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t a host of new faces in Philadelphia. While rookies Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet, Shake Milton and Jonah Bolden all hold more intrigue, veterans Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler project to be key parts of the bench mob with a role from the outset.
So, I’ve reached out to fans and writers of their former employers — the Atlanta Hawks and Denver Nuggets — for some insight on each of these guys. Up first in this two-part installation is Muscala and I’ve called on Justin Hodges, the Site Leader for Atlanta Sports HQ and Assistant Editor for SB Nation’s A Sea of Blue, to be our tour guide.
What will the Hawks miss most about Muscala on and off the court?
Muscala is an easy guy for fans to like and root for. Screaming “MOOOOOSE” after he’d drill a three honestly grew to be a staple with Hawks fans. He had the best nickname on the team, and a knack for coming in and hitting jumpers in crucial moments. Atlanta will miss that.
How do you think he fits in Philadelphia? What skills will prove most useful?
Even if it’s in limited minutes, Moose’s perimeter shooting is how he’s established a career for himself. He made 37.8 percent of his three-pointers during his Atlanta tenure while standing at 6 feet 11 inches. He’s a stretch big and those are extremely valuable off the bench. I can honestly see him being a regular rotation player in Philly.
In what ways can he replace Ersan Ilyasova? In what he ways can’t he?
In terms of being a tall, dynamite shooter, Moose fills the void that Ersan left there. However, Ersan has a lot more to his game than that — things that Moose doesn’t. Notably, Ersan’s knack for hitting ridiculously difficult shots is an extremely valuable commodity that will be lost if Moose is expected to serve as his replacement. Part of that is because Ersan lives off of absorbing contact and being physical. I can’t see Moose ever gaining those same tendencies as he’s much more of a finesse scorer.
What are some of his limitations as a player?
Frankly, his defense isn’t pretty. He’ll continually get lost on switch-motion assignments and is about as grounded with his lateral movement as an NBA player can get. I think he improves on a lot of areas in Philly, especially if he’s taking notes from Embiid. He shouldn’t be expected to be anything more than a role player that’ll average 6-10 points a game, and, for Philly fans, that should be perfect.