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Liberty Ballers Mailbag!

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Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

OK folks, it’s Mailbag time. If you are ever bored, you can always ask us questions or suggest we do another mailbag, they’re always fun. And there will always be a couple of us who will happily get into the weeds of your burning questions or hot takes. Without further ado, let’s see what ya’ll came up with. This time it was Sean Kennedy and myself, Dave Early who got into these.

SK: I think it makes sense. Furkan was a guy who really impressed Doc in training camp, following a 2019-20 season where he shot the ball really well from 3 (40.2 percent). You’d like to see how much of his success is repeatable to determine whether he should be part of the playoff rotation. As encouraged as we’ve been by Isaiah Joe’s performance in limited action, I find it highly unlikely Doc would throw two rookies into a playoff rotation (assuming Tyrese Maxey will see some time in the postseason). During the regular season, injuries will crop up, we’ll likely see more contact tracing, and guys will get rest days. Joe will still see some action and continue to develop, so I wouldn’t sweat this too much.

SK: As a Sixers fan, one would hope Ben’s slow start to the season is due to not being 100 percent healthy, and hopefully his performances last Saturday in Detroit and the fourth quarter against Boston the night before would be indicative of that reality. He definitely hasn’t had the same burst and explosiveness via the eye test this season. In his fourth season, though, I think we might have to start accepting the reality that Ben is who his is: one of the top defensive players in the world who can’t be one of your top playmakers offensively.

DE: I’ve put a lot of thought into this one, and possibly, since we’ve seen a preponderance of personal fouls I’m pretty sure he’s not purely healthy. Dude has only logged like 20 games in a calendar year, so I’m happy to give him some ramp-up time. Manage his minutes and pair him with a stretch 5 as often as possible when Joel sits and wait for the returns.

SK: These won’t stop until he either starts making one 3 per game at around a 30 percent clip or he’s late enough in his career to be on a veteran-minimum contract. The lack of shooting is simply too obvious and glaring a weakness in his game; it’s incredibly divisive and feeds right into the “How can he make that much money when he can’t even shoot?” mentality of a certain segment of the fanbase/media culture.

DE: Unfortunately, no. These are never going stop. And you must read them all and listen to every podcast. One day you will resemble Santa Claus and will be doing crossword and jigsaw puzzles while sipping chamomile to keep sharp and you will hear Ben Simmons trade packages. Dems the rules.

SK: After a slow start to the season, Thybulle has looked terrific defensively the last couple weeks. Have I seen signs that he’s developing into any sort of playmaker? No. But all he really has to do is hit open catch-and-shoot 3s at a league-average clip. Think Danny Green. His 35.7 percent mark from 3 last season was perfectly acceptable for a rookie, and there’s no reason to think he can’t improve with more seasoning. I would ignore Thybulle’s dreadful shooting start this year as a product of small sample size and keep the faith.

DE: As long as his elbows look like this (below) while he shoots, I can’t get myself to trust him as a spot-up shooter.

SK: It hurts, because another in-conference contender has gotten better, although I think losing Jarrett Allen is more impactful to Brooklyn than most people discuss. Ultimately, I don’t think the Sixers were in any position as a clear-cut favorite, so I’d give them the same puncher’s chance as before. The most important things for the Sixers are getting a reliable late-game shot creator (whether via trade or internal development in the form of Milton or Maxey) and having everyone healthy in the postseason. Having everything squared away in-house is much more critical than worrying about the other rosters too much.

DE: Brutal. The Nets now have the most talented team in the NBA. If Kevin Durant is healthy by playoff time, they’re going to be favored over maybe anyone except the champs. And certainly better than Philly. It’s hard to see anyone beating a fully healthy Nets unit. Should the Sixers consider sending the farm for Zach LaVine to play with Ben and Joel?

DE: Almost 2,000 words on that subject, I’m with you.

DE: This to me is a weirldy important yet often overlooked point IMHO. When Joel sits in his “cool down” chair, they don’t really have anyone who is stretching the floor. Maybe Tony Bradley can become this, but I’m not sure if defenses will give him credit for knocking down shots until he does. Hmm let’s see. There are names like Dragan Bender, Anthony Tolliver, Dewayne Dedmon and Omari Spellman available via free agency. Perhaps some tire kicking? Maybe Luke Kornet can be had for cheap? Four shooters surrounding Ben in bench units is the one thing we all kind of expected to get when Daryl Morey came aboard but we haven’t gotten it yet. I want to see some ridiculously experimental lineups. LFG!

DE: why not? Bryan Colangelo would be so proud too, added bonus.