Examining the Philadelphia 76ers Bench
The Philadelphia 76ers are one of the top teams in the Eastern conference. Their core of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and new addition Jimmy Butler are handling their business on the court, and they deserve all the praise they get. But as good as they’ve been, the rest of the team haven’t played all that well.
The Sixers are seventh in the NBA in points per game at 114.2. They score the ball a lot and efficient on offense, but their bench is only averaging 30.9 points per game, which is good for 24th in the league. This means that majority of their points is coming from the starting lineup which is great. Let’s take a closer look at the bench.
The key players for the Sixers off the bench are Mike Muscala, TJ McConnell, Furkan Korkmaz, and Landry Shamet. None of whom you would know if you were not a Sixers fan. These guys are still producing as Shamet and Muscala are giving the Sixers eight points per game, and McConnell is a very solid point guard that has been clutch on a few occasions for the Sixers over the years.
The question that needs to be asked going forward is, will the bench stop the Sixers from advancing far in the playoffs? The answer is no.
There is no doubt that the Sixers could use some help on the bench, especially considering that Markelle Fultz may no longer be on the team. The bench they have right now is still good enough to produce.
McConnell is a solid backup behind Ben Simmons, and Muscala is a big that can stretch the floor with his shooting as he is shooting 35 percent from three. This gives Joel Embiid more room to operate in the low post. Shamet is also a decent shooter, and Amir Johnson can provide some good minutes as well.
The bench is seventh in the NBA in field goal percentage, which means they are efficient at scoring when they do. They have the capabilities of scoring when the Sixers need buckets, which is all you really can ask of a second unit.
The issues with the Sixers stem from turnovers and late game situations (both of which were problems in last years’ series against the Boston Celtics), but the bench actually helps with that as McConnell is good at controlling tempo and pace. The reserves are far from perfect and definitely need help, but the Sixers could have a worse bench than they do now (see the Oklahoma City Thunder).
They may not put up great numbers, but they have all the intangibles that will give them a boost in the playoffs. Muscala in particular because he can change the way opposing players guard Embiid with his ability to shoot the three.
The Sixers will be fine with the players they have, they just need to find better ways to execute. The bench is young and will gain experience as the season progresses and the players will improve with that.
Would the Sixers like some additional help off the bench? Sure, who wouldn’t? Do the Sixers necessarily need a better bench to compete in the East? Not necessarily. The bench players aren’t perfect, but they can hold down the fort until the starters come back in. For as good as the starters are, that’s all you really need.