Joel Embiid made his preseason debut Friday, but it was Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton who stole the show.
The Sixers were able to finish the preseason 2-2 after beating the Atlanta Hawks, 120-106, at the Wells Fargo Center.
Melton led all scorers with 29 points and Maxey got everyone involved with 12 assists. Embiid looked like a guy that hadn’t played a preseason game, but still managed to put up 21 points in 33 minutes. Jaden Springer continued his push for a rotation spot with a pair of threes and hounding defense.
With James Harden not practicing this week and not playing at all in the preseason, Nick Nurse’s rotation without The Beard has taken shape. Melton will slide into Harden’s starting spot while Kelly Oubre, Jr., Patrick Beverley, Danny Green, Paul Reed and Springer appear to be the five off the bench.
But we can focus on that when the games matter on Oct. 26 in Milwaukee. For now, let’s get to the Bell Ringer!
De’Anthony Melton: 29 points, 6 threes, 5 rebounds, 2 assists, 2 steals, 1 block
Mr. Do Something has been doing everything for the Sixers this preseason. After nearly posting a triple-double in Brooklyn, the guard took advantage of the space Embiid provided. He went 6 of 10 from deep.
While Melton’s volume three-point shooting was a welcomed addition to last year’s team, the athletic guard struggled finishing at the rim last season. At media day, he attributed those issues to health. He said that this summer he’s worked on his body and added strength. The results have been positive as Melton was able to finish multiple fast-break opportunities Friday.
It’s only the preseason, but Melton looks like a player that has a chance to really thrive under Nurse on both sides of the ball.
Tyrese Maxey: 15 points, 12 assists, 3 steals, 1 block
There’s been so much talk about Maxey’s role with Harden’s trade request. With Harden still away from the team, it appears Maxey will be the team’s point guard. If Friday was a sneak peek, the Sixers will be just fine.
Maxey dished out 12 assists. For context, his career-high is 10. Having Melton go off and Embiid back in the lineup helped, but Maxey still looked sharp as a playmaker — especially in transition.
The backcourt combination of Maxey and Melton has been perhaps the most exciting aspect of the Sixers’ preseason. The pair are very close off the court and it seems to be translating to games. Under Nurse, they’re pressuring the ball, forcing turnovers and getting out on the break. As much as everything will always revolve around Embiid, getting easy buckets with two of your fastest players is a good idea.
Jaden Springer: 6 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assists, 1 steal
Springer was far from a lock to be in Nurse’s rotation before the preseason began. He has absolutely forced his way into the conversation with his play.
While the numbers don’t look like much, Springer nailed two threes in confident fashion Friday. His ability to take and make open shots is likely the separator between him playing or not. He went 7 of 8 from deep in the preseason.
And we all know what Springer brings on the defensive end of the floor. He was an absolute terror against the Hawks.
Watch Jaden Springer throughout this whole possession— Daniel Olinger (@dan_olinger) October 21, 2023
Hawks eventually score, but this is an All-Defense level sequence from a 21 year-old guard. I think he's in store for a breakout season in 2023-24. pic.twitter.com/sYCJgItKZh
Play the kid.
Who was the Sixers Bell Ringer Friday night vs. the Hawks?
This poll is closed