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Rotation Trust Level: It’s Always about the Backup Centers in Philadelphia

Is it really a Sixers season if we aren’t all worried about who will back up Joel Embiid?

Orlando Magic v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

It was quite the dramatic week for the Philadelphia 76ers, as they won two storyline-heavy games on national television against the Brooklyn Nets and Denver Nuggets, and then blew a 21-point lead at home to the Orlando Magic to snap a seven-game winning streak.

Ugly loss last night aside, the Sixers remain one of, if not the hottest team in the NBA, as they’ve won 20 of their last 25 games. With the trade deadline on the horizon it’s time to once again ask the question: how much trust do you have in the Sixers’ rotation?

Montrezl Harrell

A rough week for Harrell, who hardly contributed on the offensive end to make up for his defensive shortcomings. This came to a head during Saturday’s matchup against the Nuggets, as Harrell was tasked with covering Nikola Jokic longer than expected as Joel Embiid needed a breather. Doc Rivers remarked a couple days later that he especially did not like that matchup for Harrell against the two-time MVP, but still trusted Harrell with those minutes in the second half.

It got uglier on Monday night as Harrell, along with the entire Sixers’ front court, was shredded on the offensive glass by the Wagner brothers. Perhaps the most telling sign of where Harrell is as a defender was the third quarter of the Nets game. Ben Simmons, the least willing scorer in the NBA, was going right at Harrell every time down the floor.


How much trust do you have in Montrezl Harrell?

This poll is closed

  • 69%
    Little to none
    (475 votes)
  • 24%
    Eh, we’ll see come April
    (165 votes)
  • 5%
    A lot
    (40 votes)
680 votes total Vote Now

P.J. Tucker

It was certainly an interesting week for Tucker, as he had his best performance as a Sixer in the second half of the Nuggets game when he was given the primary task of guarding Jokic. Tucker did an excellent job as Jokic only scored two points and turned the ball over three times in the fourth quarter of that game. Despite that, Tucker got booed pretty loudly during that game, which he didn’t appreciate too much.

Tucker playing minutes at center did restore some optimism in Sixers fans, as he was a very effective small ball five for Miami in the playoffs last year. Rivers cited as much in the postgame press conference when he was asked about the decision during the Nuggets game.


How do you feel about PJ Tucker as a backup center?

This poll is closed

  • 25%
    (60 votes)
  • 46%
    (107 votes)
  • 27%
    Not so confident
    (64 votes)
231 votes total Vote Now

Georges Niang

Another week where Niang’s three-point shooting was critical for this team. He was 4 of 7 from downtown in the Nuggets game, and his threes came at a time where if the Sixers didn’t get a basket, Denver was going to run away with the game.

He also made an impact on the defensive end, as his stop on Simmons in the post effectively ended Simmons’ night. Niang chirping at Simmons despite never playing a minute together is extremely on brand for Niang. His emotions did get the best of him as he got into a verbal altercation with Shake Milton during the Denver game after Milton missed him on a fast break. It was clearly nothing more than just a moment of competitive frustration, but Niang might benefit from reeling it in just a bit.


How much trust do you have in Georges Niang?

This poll is closed

  • 18%
    Little to none
    (128 votes)
  • 48%
    Eh, we’ll see come April
    (340 votes)
  • 33%
    A lot
    (238 votes)
706 votes total Vote Now

Matisse Thybulle

Thybulle continues to look pretty good in this specialty role he’s played his way into. He had his best offensive week of the season, scoring 10 points against the Nets and the Magic. The frustrating thing with his better offensive games is that they don’t show many signs of progress, they’re just nights he makes a three pointer or two. It will be interesting to see if Thybulle’s role changes at all with the team’s perimeter defense struggling as of late. And while it’s been pretty quiet for Philly’s trade rumors, it was reported last night that the Sacramento Kings have interest in Thybulle. It will be interesting to see if Thybulle can make himself useful in the playoffs, or if he’s even still here by then.


What should the Sixers do with Matisse Thybulle

This poll is closed

  • 32%
    Trade Him
    (72 votes)
  • 67%
    Keep Him
    (148 votes)
220 votes total Vote Now

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