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Rotation Trust Level: What is Nick Nurse cooking?

Nick Nurse is still figuring out his rotation, but essentially said eight players are locks and there are basically two spots available. Who should he trust?

Philadelphia 76ers v Detroit Pistons Photo by Mike Mulholland/Getty Images

The 76ers are currently playing their easiest stretch of the season, in the midst of seven straight games against an opponent with a record under .500. So far, they’ve taken care of business with two close wins over the Washington Wizards and Atlanta Hawks before destroying the Wizards again Monday.

While the quality of opponents would indicate otherwise, this is an important stretch for the team. With Kelly Oubre Jr. back, it’s the first time all season head coach Nick Nurse has had the full roster available for his rotations with four guys coming over from the Clippers.

Nurse was asked last week about his rotation and how set in stone it may be. Unsurprisingly, he feels pretty locked in to the starting lineup, with Nico Batum settled into that fifth spot.

He went on to explain that the first three guys off the bench are fairly set, leaving two more spots in open competition as he’d like to play 10 guys a night. Those first three are Paul Reed, Oubre and Patrick Beverley.

So for this week’s poll, we’ll be looking at the guys who could realistically fill in for those last two spots.

Marcus Morris, Sr.

To the surprise of many, Morris seems to currently be the first option for the backup wing/ninth spot in the rotation at the moment. His defensive metrics still look dreadful. He has the worst efficiency differential (points scored minus points allowed per 100 possessions) on the whole team at -14.9.

Opposing team’s effective field goal percentage is up 5.9% with Morris on the floor, also a team high. Though it’s certainly not fair to dump all of the defensive woes on Morris. Both of those statistics should be taken in context of who Morris is out there with and what point in the game he’s out there. He’s only playing 12.5 minutes a game and the entire team is struggling with point-of-attack defense.

And if no one is going to stop anything on that end of the floor, at least he’s still hitting shots. Morris is now up to 50% on three-pointers for the season, just taking less than two a game. He hasn’t looked capable of keeping up on defense, but how he’s shooting at the moment has made up for it somewhat.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Marcus Morris Sr.?

This poll is closed

  • 14%
    A lot
    (216 votes)
  • 54%
    Meh
    (825 votes)
  • 30%
    Little to none
    (466 votes)
1507 votes total Vote Now

Robert Covington

Covington’s reunion has been a bit more stop-and-start than he probably would have liked. He’s had a couple of spot starts in the past month due to depleted rosters, but has also picked up some DNP-CDs as well.

What’s puzzling is how Covington’s trip to the doghouse came after his best game of the season. After putting up a season-high 18 points and grabbing five steals in Boston, Covington played only four minutes last week in Washington and not at all against the Hawks.

He also provides a skillset that the team could really use right about now. Covington can’t solve all their point-of-attack woes, but he’s still been incredibly effective as a wing defender. He currently leads the league in deflections per 100 possessions.

He doesn’t seem as frustrated with his inconsistent playing time as he did on the Clippers, however. After last night’s win, he told reporters that after last year it doesn’t bother him at all.

“We’re a deep team,” he said, “it’s just the way he’s still figuring out lineups, so whatever happens, I’ll go in, I’ll stay ready.”

Still, with the Sixers getting crushed on the perimeter just about every game, it feels like they could use Covington’s skillset on a consistent basis.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Robert Covington?

This poll is closed

  • 72%
    A lot
    (855 votes)
  • 24%
    Meh
    (287 votes)
  • 3%
    Little to none
    (44 votes)
1186 votes total Vote Now

Jaden Springer

This is another guy who seems to have fallen out of the rotation despite playing his best basketball of the season. His only action since returning from illness was in the fourth quarter last night with the game well in hand.

Springer has yet to light the world on fire, but once again it just feels like the Sixers could use his skillset at the moment. For as great as Covington has been this year, he’s more of a team defender at this point, muddying up passing lanes and playing stellar help defense.

What this team could use right now is a stopper, someone who can pick up the other team’s star at half-court and be a pain in their ass for a few minutes. Springer not only has shown to be capable of that, but he’s done it against elite talent.

Even this season, he’s done an excellent job guarding top-end talent such as Jalen Brown, Jayson Tatum and Trae Young 1-on-1. But if all it took was an illness to knock him out of the rotation, Nurse clearly isn’t as high on Springer as others may be.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Jaden Springer

This poll is closed

  • 37%
    A lot
    (385 votes)
  • 52%
    Meh
    (542 votes)
  • 9%
    Little to none
    (97 votes)
1024 votes total Vote Now

Danuel House Jr.

Despite clearly being on the outside looking in, House’s numbers are actually pretty decent so far this year. He’s up to 35% from three and his defensive on/off numbers look excellent. Opponents effective field goal percentage is down 3% and teams score 8.4 less points per 100 possessions.

House’s athleticism and versatility were a unique feature on last year’s team, which is what made him useful. This year however, there isn't much he provides that the rest of the bench doesn’t already have.

He’s not as good of a shooter as Batum, Morris or Covington, and lacks the ball-handling skills of Oubre. He’s also not the lockdown defender that Springer is, and isn’t a help-defense guru like Batum and Covington.

It’s a testament to how deep this team really is, because a guy like House would have been the first or second wing off the bench in years past, but this year, he has quite the competition for minutes.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Danuel House Jr.?

This poll is closed

  • 12%
    A lot
    (116 votes)
  • 61%
    Meh
    (553 votes)
  • 25%
    Little to none
    (235 votes)
904 votes total Vote Now

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