Welcome back to the second edition of the Sixers mailbag. If you missed last weeks edition, go check it out here.
The Sixers currently sit at 0-6, but there has been some surprisingly good basketball to watch, and much to discuss. We'll get right to the questions.
Q: Alexy Shved has been impressive so far this season. Is he a part of the long term plan, or will he be dealt at the deadline for another 2nd rounder?
Q: If you could only keep 1 as the future backup PG for the team would you keep Shved or Wroten?
Grouping these two questions together, since they're related to the same topic.
I've been pleasantly surprised by Shved thus far this season, and I think he's probably playing the best basketball of his career, but I wouldn't say I've exactly been blown away. I think he's quicker than I expected, and can get into the paint better than I anticipated, but he really struggles to shoot: at the rim, off the dribble, behind the three point line. He has some good form on catch and shoot opportunities when he has time to gather himself, but he's going to need to be far more efficient than he's been to really be a part of the future.
As to which one I'd keep, it's Wroten, easily. I'm not among Wroten's biggest fans, but for where this team is, you take a chance on him over the next 1.5 years, find out if the jump shot is legit, and whether he can improve upon any of his other deficiencies. It would be different if Shved had real upside, then his more controlled style of play and good pick and roll passing would be bigger considerations, but Shved is fungible. If in 1.5 years Wroten can't fill the backup point guard role, you can easily find somebody of Alexey Shved's quality to replace him.
Q: Do you think that after MCW returns and puts on a good show that Hinkie will trade him for a future #1 or more?
I have a lot of questions on MCW's future with the team. I think Joel Embiid is the guy to build around, and ideally you want a lead guard who can both shoot from the perimeter to open up the floor and also be a dominant pick and roll player to pair with Embiid. MCW, for all of his strengths, really is neither of those.
I also think there's a fine line, where Hinkie can get burned either way. Give up MCW too soon and, if he improves shooting off the dribble enough to be a good pairing with Embiid, Hinkie can get burned. But, if he holds on to MCW too long, Embiid gets back, and he struggles to play with Embiid, then it can hurt the Sixers leverage if they do decide MCW is not the perfect pair with Embiid, both because it might depress MCW's stats and also because the knowledge that the two don't work together well would lessen Hinkie's bargaining power in a trade.
But I don't expect Embiid to play this season, so we have quite some time until that becomes a consideration. And if you're going to trade a young guy like MCW, you're not likely to find the best value during the season, but around draft time. I don't think Hinkie is going to look to unload MCW, but I do think MCW might be available if Hinkie is specifically targeting a young player in the draft whom he might think he can more easily build around.
Q: Do you think that Jordan McCrae will be back with us next year and do we still have his rights?
First of all, yes, they absolutely do still have his rights.
Second, I do believe there is a fairly good chance that he comes back over at some point this year, after he's gotten a chance to get some playing time for Melbourne, and after Hinkie has gotten a chance to evaluate some of the guys that he had in during camp, such as Chris Johnson and JaKarr Sampson. I'd say there's a greater than 50% chance that you see McRae this season.
Q: Why are the Sixers having problems defending the 3? Brown blamed TOs. Or is it scheme? Just poor execution?
Yes. Yes. And yes.
The Sixers turnovers do absolutely hurt them defending the three, as they've given up the 4th most points in transition. They also tend to over-help defensively, especially with Noel out. At the heart of their problem though is their defensive rotations, in my opinion. They're not crisp enough, and when a guy rotates over to help, nobody has their back. It's a combination of youth, a lack of recognition, and a lack of familiarity with each other.
Q: When is the earliest it is possible to see Saric? Next year possible?
I wrote about this not too long ago.
The tl;dr version of it is that no, there is not currently anything in his contract to give him an out after this season. If things get untenable, then perhaps the two can negotiate a new out, but I don't see that happening.
Q: If a big becomes the clear #1 the draft, any merit to having 3 play for 36 minutes a night, and get a wing with the Heat pick?
It really depends on how much the big separates himself from the other draft prospects, how well Noel plays this season, how well the front office thinks Noel can fit with Embiid, and whether the other prospect (say, Okafor) might have more upside than Noel and/or be a better fit with Embiid. In other-words, there's still a lot of information to be gathered before this question can really be answered.
As for whether the team would keep 3 top-6 picks that are all big men? I doubt that. Seems eventually you're devaluing your assets, and you'd be better off trading Noel and/or the upcoming pick for something that can help out in other areas.
Q: How many players currently on the roster would make another NBA team's roster?
Most of them.
Obviously, Michael Carter-Williams, Nerlens Noel, K.J. McDaniels, and Joel Embiid would be welcome on any team in the league, even if they're not necessarily perfect fits in some other players already there. Henry Sims and Hollis Thompson would be able to fit in as role players pretty easily as well, and Luc Mbah a Moute has had a long NBA career thus far, and hasn't struggled to find work.
I wasn't convinced that Brandon Davies was an NBA player to start the season, but with what he's shown so far, he'd easily get another look if the Sixers let him go. And Alexey Shved, while it's quickly getting to be time to show he can be an efficient NBA player, I think has enough skills to get looks for another few years, even at his current efficiency.
The only real questions are JaKarr Sampson, Malcolm Thomas, and Chris Johnson. I think Malcolm Thomas has enough physical tools to be interesting, but he might be in the D-League trying to showcase them. Same for JaKarr Sampson.
That will wrap it up. Thanks to everybody who submitted questions, and my apologies if I didn't answer yours. If you want to submit a question for next week, either hit me up on twitter (include #sixersmailbag in the tweet) or send me an email.