If you’d like to ask a question for a future mailbag, you can tweet at me or send an email to libertyballersinfo at gmail dot com.
Big Oil (via text): If the unimaginable happens and Simmons sits out the entire year without being traded, what is your ideal 9 man playoff rotation?
For the first time in the post-Process era, I’m actually feeling good about a Sixers playoff rotation. This is the best the Sixers’ bench has looked since the “Night Shift” era in 2012.
The first five guys are obviously the healthy starters: Tyrese Maxey, Seth Curry, Danny Green, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.
There are three locks off the bench: Andre Drummond, Georges Niang and Matisse Thybulle.
The Sixers, in a wild plot twist given the last few seasons watching this team, have legit hard decisions on which of their talented bench players will see run in the postseason.
It’d be one of Furkan Korkmaz or Shake Milton for that final spot.
It’s circumstantial though, right?
If one of Curry or Maxey is cold or in foul trouble, throwing Milton out there for his ball-handling ability would be a nice move from Doc Rivers. If the Sixers want to truly play four-out with Embiid at center, having Korkmaz launch threes with reckless abandon (they need an Irrational Confidence Guy!) next to Niang, Harris and Curry works well too.
We’ve got options, baby!
Swaggy Mitch (via text): Do you think the recent scrappiness of the decimated club is contagious from the improved vibes with Ben out of the picture? Any guess on when Ben will be traded? Is Zion an option?
The vibes are entirely different with the Sixers team. I wrote so earlier in the week.
Look at the way the Atlanta playoff series this past summer ended in utter embarrassment and disappointment. That type of collapse could crush teams and momentum for future years. There is A LOT going on with Ben Simmons right now, but it’s more than obvious how much he struggled against the Hawks and how fractured his relationship with both the players and the organization as a whole has become. It’s been no Ben, no problem, as Maxey has taken a leap as the starting point guard and the team is playing an infectiously fun brand of basketball.
It sucks losing. That’s evident. It’s not great that the Sixers have dropped three games this week, but the development of Maxey these last few games is monumental. These losses hurt in the standings right now, but they will provide dividends down the line when Maxey is dropping 28-6-6 in a playoff game next May.
Once the big fella gets back, this energy is only going to be heightened.
On another note, I’m not really sure what Ben’s trade market is, Mitch. I can’t imagine Zion Williamson is an option, but what about his teammate Brandon Ingram? He’s the type of perimeter player who would unseat Green in the starting lineup and pack a scoring punch that the Sixers will need come the playoffs. That may be a bit lofty though.
I would do deals with the Spurs for Derrick White and Dejounte Murray or with the Kings for Tyrese Haliburton too.
I’m thinking a deal doesn’t occur until closer to the trade deadline. It falls on Feb. 10 this season. Maybe the Sixers upstage the NFL and trade him on Super Bowl Sunday!
Jeff McDevitt (via text): Simple but complex- Why is Furkan better?
Jeff, it might simply be an increase in volume compounded by the Sixers uptick in three-point shots this season. For all the take of Ben’s three-pointers created, the team is actually 10th in made threes per game this season compared to 23rd this past year.
Korkmaz is taking 6.8 threes per game this year compared to 4.9 per contest last season. His minutes have jumped from 19.3 to 26.1 per game. There isn’t a total difference in efficiency between the last two seasons. Korkmaz’s three-point percentage has actually dipped from 37.5 percent to 35.8 percent. His true shooting percentage is up a tad from 54.4 percent to 55.1 percent.
Based purely on the eye test, is there something to be said about Korkmaz having greater confidence than he’s had previously? He’s always willing to get shots up, but, as I covered, the energy is different for the Sixers this year. An increased role can do wonders for a player’s mind and how they approach their game.
If Furk is in Doc’s playoff rotation, let’s get The Furkan Korkmaz Game we all so badly deserve.