Frontcourt, Simmons Carried Sixers to East’s Best First-Half Record


The second half of the NBA season is underway. To recap, the Sixers are entering the second half as the No. 1 seed in East with a 24-12 record. They reached this point with contributions across the board, from starters to bench. We took a look at the team and issued some mid-term grades ahead of the home stretch.

Starting Front Court

Dave Pedron (@DavePedron): A-

Joel Embiid is having the best season of his career and is looking like an unstoppable force. Tobias Harris emerged as a near 20-point-per-game scorer and became a reliable closer in crunch time. The weakest part of the front court remains Danny Green, who has yet to show consistency this season. Still, he leads the team with 80 3-pointers. The Sixers need Green to perform more consistently if they plan to make a deep playoff run.

Derek Stein (@DerekRStein): A-

Embiid is an MVP candidate who has the ability to take over an entire game where guard and wing play dominate today’s era. Tobias Harris has nearly played up to his contract’s worth. At times he is the only shot-creator for this roster and is truly part of the Sixers’ “Big Three”. Danny Green leaves a lot to be desired. A streaky three-point shooter at his best and an offensive liability at his worst. He drags the starter’s grade down a hair.

Jeff Moran (@JefeMoran247): A

It’s hard not to give this core an A+. Joel Embiid is the league’s MVP and Tobias Harris is playing the best basketball of his career. At their best, the offense is hard to match and their defense is impenetrable. However, this group hasn’t been at their best all season long. The Danny Green experience has been as advertised– a floor-spacing guard with good instincts on both sides of the floor but routinely disappears in games.

Starting Back Court

Dave: B

Ben Simmons silenced all of his haters with a dominant end to the season’s first half. If he continues to perform at that level, the Sixers will be fine. Seth Curry, on the other hand, has followed an opposite path. Since his bout with COVID-19, he struggled to find his footing. Before the break, he showed signs of life. Philadelphia needs him to channel his excellent three-point shooting more consistently.

Derek: B

Prior to February, Ben Simmons underperformed. Since then, he is performing like a star player should. Despite his excellent defense, his offense needs more consistency. Seth Curry has returned to Earth in a big way since his early postings of 50% from the field, 50% from three, and 100% from the line. Curry is a valuable piece for both Simmons’ and Embiid’s game. Although, he has always been a low-volume guy and I worry he is often asked for too much in Rivers’ offense. All and all, the guard play has been an improvement this year and is a big reason why the Sixers are a top dog in the conference.

Jeff: B-

Ben Simmons is looking like a dominant two-way player. Seth Curry was having an incredible shooting stretch before his positive COVID test. Since, he has been a common example of how difficult it can be to recover from the virus. The Sixers’ backcourt has produced more or less what was to be expected. The inconsistency of these two is concerning looking ahead to the playoffs. If Daryl Morey is going to make any tweaks to this roster before the trade deadline, the backcourt should be the priority.

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The Bench

Dave: C

It’s no secret the bench is the Sixers’ weakest spot. During the first half of the season, the bench’s inconsistent offense and spotty defense eliminated almost every lead the Sixers had. The bench seemed to turn the corner near the break, but time will tell if players like Matisse Thybulle, Mike Scott, Furkan Korkmaz, and Tyrese Maxey can play well enough to earn a spot on the team. If not, we may see them shipped out as part of a trade package.

Derek: C-

Inconsistency is the word for this unit. Shake Milton is a piece worth keeping and being excited about. Production from this unit typically leaves much to be desired, however. Offensively, Korkmaz, Maxey, and Scott display streakiness in their shooting. Dwight Howard and Matisse Thybulle are defensively sound, but lack offensive consistency. The Sixers’ starters have been dangerous to their opponents this year but the opposition can typically stay in games thanks to the subpar and perhaps too youthful bench. The Sixers are good with this team, just not great yet.

Jeff: C+

Much like the 76ers team as a whole, when things are right, the bench can look really good. When things are not right, the Sixers look like a top heavy team. The bench consists of players that play specific roles or provide specific skills. If one player is missing, the bench can look flawed.

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About Dave Pedron

As a Pennsylvania native, Penn State grad, and diehard Sixers fan, I'm very excited to cover the team and usher in the next chapter of the Process.

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