Coach Brett Brown had a long-range plan of possibly looking at 76ers starting shooting guard Josh Richardson also as a backup point guard to all-star Ben Simmons.
Early in training camp, Brown suggested that Richardson might be able to fill that role possibly when the playoffs rolled around.
However, that long-range plan might now become a reality, as Richardson appears to be the favorite to earn the backup role. Before training camp veteran free agents Trey Burke and Raul Neto were considered the favorites to battle it out for that position.
After Wednesday’s practice, Brown said he simply changed his mind on waiting until near the postseason to see Richardson as a point guard.
“It wasn’t any indictment on Raul or Trey, it wasn’t anything that Josh did that was ‘wow I better look at this sooner.’ ” Brown said. “It was me internally questioning why would I anticipate it could happen in the playoffs, and why wouldn’t I just try it now. It seemed smart and I did it and I like what I saw.”
Simmons missed Tuesday’s 106-86 preseason win over the Detroit Pistons with lower back tightness and Richardson, acquired from Miami in a sign-and-trade with Jimmy Butler, got the start at point guard. He has 11 points, five rebounds, and had six assists.
“All of us, led by me, would probably say he has really done a lot to make you think, ‘shoot should he be the backup point guard.’” Brown said.
Brown said it is just deeper than just who earns the back up point guard. If Richardson is the backup point, Brown needs to decide who comes in and plays shooting guard alongside him. Right now, rookie Matisse Thybulle appears the logical choice.
“There are ripple effects,” Brown said. “That is why I hope to grow Matisse, that is why Ben Simmons may have to do it (guard point guards) more than I originally thought.”
The Sixers assist leader this preseason is reserve center Kyle O’Quinn. He has 20 assists in four games. The 6-foot-8 ¾ O’Quinn is an excellent passer form the high post, where he gets many of his assists.