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Rotation Trust Level: How recent injuries are shaking things up

The Sixers’ depth is being tested yet again with injuries and an illness still lingering around the team.

Minnesota Timberwolves v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

It has been another productive week of Sixers basketball. Since our last installment, the Sixers have gone 4-1, with three blowout wins against the Detroit Pistons and Charlotte Hornets, and a statement win against the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, the Minnesota Timberwolves.

This stretch hasn’t come without roadblocks however. During Monday’s loss to the Chicago Bulls, Nico Batum left the game due to right hamstring tightness. While the team doesn’t believe it’s anything more serious than that, they are expecting to be without him for a couple more days.

Wednesday’s win saw another wing leave with an injury, as De’Anthony Melton suffered a left thigh contusion after colliding with Jaden McDaniels. There has yet to be any further update on him so far and he’s listed as questionable for Friday.

The team is still dealing with an illness as well. Robert Covington and Marcus Morris Sr. have both missed a game this week due to feeling under the weather.

Between injuries, and a third of the fourth quarters so far being garbage time, head coach Nick Nurse has been able to get all 15 guys a decent amount of action recently. So, how are they holding up?

KJ Martin

Before Wednesday, Martin had yet to play non-garbage time minutes in a game that Joel Embiid suited up for. Even in garbage time, he’s typically been one of the last guys to finally check into the game. Which made it very surprising when Nurse went to Martin in the second half in a tight game against the Timberwolves.

Martin held his own. He was a +12 in less than seven minutes of game action. He made use of himself in the dunker spot, converting his only field goal attempt and splitting a pair of free throws.

His limitations on offense will make it hard for him to stay in the rotation — even at the free throw line he’s a pretty bad shooter. He’s at 50% from the line this year and 67% for his career, but bringing a young player cold off the bench in a big game and having him contribute positively is quite the development for this team.

Poll

How much trust do you have in KJ Martin?

This poll is closed

  • 6%
    A lot
    (26 votes)
  • 48%
    Meh
    (205 votes)
  • 45%
    Little to none
    (190 votes)
421 votes total Vote Now

Paul Reed

As easily the best center to back up Embiid, Reed has been safe from these polls so far this year. While that’s still been the case, this year hasn’t been as smooth sailing for Bball Paul as some may have expected.

His points per game is up this year and his field goal percentage hasn’t dipped, but he’s looked shakier on offense without James Harden spoon-feeding him the ball off rolls. That’s probably most evident in the one turnover per game he’s averaging this year.

His other stats that are less Harden-reliant are down this year too. His offensive rebounding percentage, block and steal percentages are all career-lows, per Cleaning the Glass. These numbers could all balance out. It’s still very early in the season, but Reed’s been slightly less reliable than what was hoped for. He was even benched in favor of Mo Bamba two weeks ago after a very rough first-half shift.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Paul Reed?

This poll is closed

  • 49%
    A lot
    (1066 votes)
  • 41%
    Meh
    (902 votes)
  • 9%
    Little to none
    (201 votes)
2169 votes total Vote Now

Mo Bamba

Bamba has not looked like the worst center to ever touch an NBA court, which is a vast improvement on how he looked in the preseason. Playing with a ton of switchable wings has helped. He’s been effective on defense when his only job is to stand there and be tall.

It helps that he’s finally seen some shots start to fall as well. He has an effective field goal percentage of 60.8 and is shooting 50% on his three-pointers, albeit on less than one attempt per game.

It would take a miracle for him to hop Reed in the rotation, but the idea that Bamba is an option if Reed is struggling is good for the team.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Mo Bamba?

This poll is closed

  • 9%
    A lot
    (118 votes)
  • 44%
    Meh
    (529 votes)
  • 45%
    Little to none
    (545 votes)
1192 votes total Vote Now

Danuel House Jr.

Unsurprisingly, this has been the first wing Nurse has gone to out of the House/Springer/Martin/Korkmaz bunch to fill in for Morris and Covington. House’s play has been adequate when he’s been on the floor this season.

He’s at 40% on his three-pointers, taking 1.7 a game, which is all this team needs from a wing playing off of Maxey and Embiid. House, like most shooters, is one of those guys who looks better with consistent minutes. He looks bad when he’s coming in cold to his first game in a couple of weeks.

That’s been another positive of the recent string of blowouts. All 15 guys have gotten some run, meaning they haven’t been as cold when guys like Batum and Melton have gone down with injury.

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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