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Rotation Trust Level: Is this the deepest Sixers team of Joel Embiid’s career?

Patrick Beverley had an outstanding week and, despite dropping both games without Joel Embiid, the Sixers look mighty deep.

Toronto Raptors v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

The 76ers are nearing the quarter-mark of the season, and after a tumultuous offseason, things are looking pretty good. They shipped James Harden out of town before his trade request antics negatively affected regular-season games, and currently sit at 12-7 in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.

They’ve boasted a top-five offense so far this season, currently fourth in the league in points per game at 120.1 PPG. While Tyrese Maxey taking another leap to stardom and Joel Embiid once again leading the league in scoring are the headlines, the depth of this team feels notable compared to past Sixers squads.

This has especially been the case since the Harden trade. The Sixers acquired four role players and expiring contracts in return for Harden as opposed to star hunting. So it’s once again that time where we ask, how much trust do you have in the Sixers’ rotation?

A caveat for the first edition of this year’s series, any Sixer that got hit by a fucking car will be omitted, though it is great to see Kelly Oubre Jr. already back out there practicing and preparing to return to the court this week.

OK, now let’s get started.

Nicolas Batum

Batum has been such a glue guy for this team he doesn’t even care what you call him. He’s had an extremely eventful first 15 games as a Sixer. Not only did he have a family matter to deal with as he moved them across the country, but he also suffered a grizzly finger injury just a couple of games into his Sixers tenure.

That hasn’t stopped him from shooting the lights out. In 10 games in Philly, he’s shooting 56.3% from deep on just over three attempts per game. Seeing as that’s where most of his shots come from, he currently has an 82.5 effective field goal percentage.

Those numbers are definitely not sustainable, but Batum’s skillset goes above the average 3-and-D wing. Being above average at passing makes him one of the best distributors on the team by default. He certainly isn’t going to be creating shots off the dribble but he can find Embiid with an entry pass, which is something.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Nic Batum?

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    A lot
    (185 votes)
  • 7%
    Meh
    (14 votes)
  • 0%
    Little to none
    (0 votes)
199 votes total Vote Now

Jaden Springer

After an impressive preseason, it’s been an uphill battle to stay in the rotation. He’s picked up five DNP-CD’s this year, the last coming Friday night in Boston despite Philly being down three rotation players coming into that night.

When Springer’s been on the court, he has shown some flashes. He continues to impress on the defensive end, averaging half a steal and half a block a game in just 11 minutes a night. When he does get minutes, he’s still drawing tough assignments like Tyrese Haliburton, Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown.

He’s more than held his own on that end, recording multiple highlights picking the pockets of Tatum and Brown. In fact, it feels like any time Springer’s made a play this year it’s been a SportsCenter Top 10 highlight.

His offensive game is still a work in progress. He’s still shooting 25% from three and averaging a full turnover a game this year. Still, he looks to have a lot more confidence when he has the ball in his hands this year, and he appears to improve when he’s regularly playing. Whether he’ll continue to get that chance remains to be seen.

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

Patrick Beverley

This is likely Springer’s biggest competition for back-up guard minutes. Beverley has come on as of late after a brutal offensive start to the season. He had only made two three-pointers in the first 15 games of the season, and has made nine in the last four.

Scoring is not what Beverley hangs his hat on. For the most part he’s defended and rebounded in just as many scrappy ways as advertised, but for the first 15 games of the year, he was as useful as P.J. Tucker on offense. That’s a big problem when it’s the guy bringing the ball up the floor.

Pat Bev’s scoring has been a fun surprise the last couple of games, but when he’s cold it does highlight how thin the team is in creators behind Maxey. Beverley will continue to be a good 10th or 11th man for this team, but it will hurt them to not add one more guy to that backcourt.

Poll

How much trust do you have in Pat Bev?

This poll is closed

  • 70%
    A lot
    (345 votes)
  • 28%
    Meh
    (138 votes)
  • 1%
    Little to none
    (9 votes)
492 votes total Vote Now

Marcus Morris Sr.

Unlike the rest of the Clippers haul that came over in the Harden deal, Morris’ acclimation hasn’t been the smoothest. He has said multiple times since he’s gotten here that he believes he’s still a starting-caliber player, but has yet to exactly prove why that should be the case.

He’s been a disaster defensively. If this was four years ago things might be different, but so far he’s shown no ability to be able to keep guys in front of him or not fall asleep when he’s guarding off the ball.

His shot has started to fall as of late — he’s up to 47.8% from three this year. He won’t stay that high, but if he can shoot at an effective clip playing him around eight minutes a game it won’t be the worst thing in the world.

Morris is this year’s washed veteran that will frustrate every fan when he gets minutes, but he is more affective than 2022 De’Andre Jordan or 2023 Montrezl Harrell.

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

Mo Bamba

A week ago, Bamba probably wouldn’t have made this article, but he’s been out there a couple times and the third-string center is worth talking about with this team.

Bamba saw his first non-garbage minutes in two games last week against the Pelicans and Celtics, both games that Embiid missed. After looking as bad as he possibly could in preseason, Bamba actually looked alright in Boston, scoring 11 big third-quarter points.

The Sixers have finally figured out their problem of getting killed when Embiid goes to the bench. They have a capable defender to back him up in Paul Reed and a co-star who’s learned to carry those minutes in Maxey.

Now all the Sixers have to worry about is the 15-20 games Embiid is going to miss. A big reason the Celtics game was the only non-Embiid game that was competitive this year was because Reed started, and the Sixers didn’t go into a 15-point whole as soon as the game started.

Bamba’s job is to just look passable in the 15ish minutes he has to back up Reed in the 15-ish games Embiid will miss. It’s a low bar, but one he didn’t look capable of clearing a couple of weeks ago.

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

Robert Covington

The last main-stay in the rotation from the Harden trade, Covington has returned to the Sixers just as advertised. He’s at 39% from downtown while also being a deflection monster, averaging 1.4 steals per game.

While a large part of his game is the same, it's been exciting to watch an older, more mature Covington play here. His handle and finishing at the rim have improved tremendously. He’s already had several plays this year that would have resulted in dribbling off his foot or shooting it over the backboard six years ago.

The one thing that’s been slightly off is his playing time. He’s at 17 minutes a game this year as a Sixer, which is once again from his career average. It hasn’t been consistent game to game either, with him hopping in and out of the starting lineup. With Batum hopefully not needing any more time away, and Oubre ramping up for a return, Covington’s minutes should normalize as Nick Nurse can finally begin to set his rotations in stone.

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

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