clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Rotation Trust Level: Calling all cars

The Sixers have been ravaged by injuries, giving players Jaden Springer and KJ Martin opportunities they hadn’t had. Can Nick Nurse trust them going forward?

NBA: Philadelphia 76ers at Utah Jazz Rob Gray-USA TODAY Sports

The Sixers are returning home from their longest road trip of the season, a five-game trip that swung out west that went about as poorly as it could possibly go. They dropped four of the five matchups, but more importantly will lose Joel Embiid for what is looking like an extended period of time.

The updates on the big fella have been vague, but it seems quite likely the team will have to go forward without the reigning MVP for a significant period of time. That spells trouble, as the team improved to a measly 4-9 in games without Embiid this season.

Evaluating the Sixers’ rotation as a unit is tricky, as Nick Nurse has hardly had anything resembling a full lineup to play with for much of the season. De’Anthony Melton, Robert Covington and Kelly Oubre Jr. have all been sidelined for extended stretches of the season.

On top of that, veterans such as Nico Batum and Marcus Morris Sr. have been in and out of the lineup with nagging injuries, on top of an illness hitting the team over the last month.

With the New York Knicks and Cleveland Cavaliers both surging, the Sixers are going to have to make something happen before next week’s trade deadline to avoid a serious free fall in the Eastern Conference standings. So this week’s edition will take a look at some of the guys who have gotten extended run during this stretch to see if they are capable of stepping up.

Jaden Springer

Springer has definitely been on the furthest outside looking in for much of this season, but he might have stuck his foot in the doorway with his last two performances. He had one of his best offensive nights in the NBA last Tuesday in Golden State, going for 10 points and two assists in 21 minutes of action. It’s just been six attempts, but he’s hit 50% of his threes in his last three games.

His defense has remained consistent. He had four steals in that game against the Warriors, and locked down Jordan Clarkson for much of the second half in Thursday’s win against the Jazz.

He is still very prone to mistakes in the way that young, aggressive defenders are. Despite the production, he was called for seven fouls in the last two games. He’s going to have to cut down on those quickly. With Melton and Embiid out of the lineup, Springer quickly becomes one of the best defenders on the team, giving Nurse a reason to trust him to leave him out there could be huge for this team.

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

KJ Martin

This was maybe Martin’s most impactful week as a Sixer. He had 11 points in a loss to the Pacers to kick off the trip. He played 19 minutes in the loss to the Denver Nuggets, several of which he was asked to guard Nikola Jokic.

Martin is a weird fit on this team. He’s a strong, athletic body who can switch on to guys in the post and not get bullied out of rebounds, but there are times where he is more offensively challenged than Springer.

He’s looked like a hopeless jump shooter, and his free throw percentage is down to 47.8% on the season. He’s also played in a lot of lineups that anyone would struggle to develop in offensively. Lineups with Springer, Martin and Danuel House Jr. all in the backcourt have sometimes made generating shots feel like nails on a chalkboard.

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

It was a wild week for Bball. Shooting 4-of-7 from behind the arc this week, Reed was the team’s most reliable outside shooter for a portion of this trip. He had a career-high 30 points in a losing effort to the Nuggets, and followed that up by shooting 5-of-8 from the floor in a loss to the Trail Blazers.

His shooting did come back down to earth against the Jazz, and Nurse elected to finish the game with Mo Bamba on the floor. Despite struggling to chase Lauri Markkanen around, Reed is playing his best basketball of the season and it couldn’t have come at a better time. Whether the team acquires another center or not, Reed is going to be in the starting lineup for the foreseeable future.

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

Thursday’s win against the Jazz was the quintessential Bamba experience. Utah was able to spin him like a top when they got him out in space, but he was effective when he was able to stay home. He ended the night with three blocked shots and a big basket in the fourth quarter.

It also helped that he was able to pull down nine rebounds, an area he’s struggled with this entire season. Bamba’s had some moments this year, but it feels like the Sixers need to go out and get another big if they’re going to be without Embiid for a prolonged stretch. There’s still some tricky matchups that Reed will struggle with like the Jazz, and Bamba has yet to show he’s consistent enough to pencil him in to back up Reed.

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

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liberty Ballers Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Philadelphia 76ers news from Liberty Ballers