Look, I know what many of you are probably thinking and feeling. “You think I’m watching that?” Thursday’s trades from the Sixers’ front office left a sour taste in a lot of fans’ mouths, leaving a lot of questions somewhat unanswered about what direction the team is exactly headed in. Add saying goodbye to some fan-favorite players on top of the slew of injuries this team is dealing with, and it’s justifiably a hard time to stay engaged as a fan.
But, the show must go on, and the previews must continue. At least that’s what my editor is telling me. So let’s get to it.
The Sixers will be wildly shorthanded for Friday night against the Hawks with Joel Embiid, De’Anthony Melton, Nico Batum and Robert Covington all sidelined for injury and trades shipping out Patrick Beverley, Jaden Springer, Marcus Morris Sr. and Furkan Korkmaz.
As of now, Buddy Hield, who was traded from the Indiana Pacers to Philadelphia on Thursday, is listed as out. Whether or not he’ll be ready to jump on the court for Friday’s contest is not yet known, but we do know what he stands to bring to the table. A key trait of Hield’s that the Sixers will desperately welcome is that he lets it fly from long range with 6.9 attempts per outing, sinking 38.2 percent of triples this season and sinking 40.1 percent of triples in his career. Another possible reinforcement is Cam Payne, traded from the Milwaukee Bucks. Payne is another decent perimeter shooter, hitting 39.7 percent from three this season. He’s also listed as out for now, but we’ll keep you posted on whether or not either will be taking the court against the Hawks as more information becomes available.
Philadelphia won the first two matchups with Atlanta this season back when Embiid was playing, and lost to the Hawks in January when Embiid was sidelined with knee swelling.
The Hawks, on the other hand, stood pat on trade deadline day. Despite reported talks about potential trades for Dejounte Murray, Atlanta’s roster remained steady as the deadline came and went.
Murray, averaging 21.4 points a game for the Hawks this season, is questionable for Friday with lower back tightness. Center Clint Capela will be out with a left adductor strain.
Trae Young continues to lead the Hawks with 27.1 points and 10.9 assists per game. In the Sixers’ overtime loss to Atlanta back on Jan. 10, Young topped the charts for the Hawks with 28 points and 11 assists.
The Sixers have lost seven of their last eight contests and face yet another shorthanded battle on Friday. Until the injuries level out and the new players get introduced, it’s going to be a slog for Philadelphia, even against teams that are struggling like the 22-29 Hawks. Don’t believe me? Ask DraftKings, where the Sixers are currently a four-point underdog against the 10th place team in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers and Hawks tip off in South Philadelphia at 7 p.m. ET.
Who: Philadelphia 76ers vs. Atlanta Hawks
When: 7 pm EST
Where: The Center, Philadelphia, PA
Watch: NBC Sports Philadelphia, ESPN
Radio: 97.5 The Fanatic