This is the 20th edition of the weekly 76ers mailbag.
Each week, Inquirer.com followers may submit questions to be answered on Friday.
- Josh Richardson’s free agent future is now even more uncertain. Can he change that with the Sixers in Orlando? | David Murphy
- Sixers playing-time issues are big on Brett Brown’s agenda as Orlando camp is set to begin
- Joel Embiid keeps nudging Ben Simmons. The Sixers need both of them to take the hint. | Mike Sielski
Missed out on the party this week? No worries. Submit question(s) for next time by following me on Twitter @PompeyOnSixers and tweeting your inquiry with the hashtag #PompeysMailbagFlow.
Answer: What’s up, Steve? Thanks for asking this great question. I must admit this was one I kept thinking about for the past several days.
The first key to winning it all has to do with the health and mindset of Joel Embiid. The three-time All-Star has to be healthy and mentally locked in. If you can recall, he was injured in the Sixers’ last two postseason appearances. Yes, Embiid dominated on occasion. Imagine how he would have performed if healthy. Secondly, he has to come in focused to dominate whenever he’s on the court. When he does that, there’s no one in the league capable of stopping the big fella.
The second key is finding a way to better utilize Al Horford when he’s on the court with both Embiid and Ben Simmons. As the team shrinks its rotation in the postseason, it’s going to have to rely on those three playing more minutes together. So Brett Brown must find a way to make it work and get Horford more involved.
The third key has to do with sharpshooter Furkan Korkmaz being more consistent. He needs to make people forget about former JJ Redick and Marco Belinelli. The Sixers reserve guard shot 45.3% on three-pointers in 30 home games. Meanwhile, he shot 34.7% from that distance in 34 away games.
If he can consistently knock down shots at Walt Disney World’s neutral site, the Sixers could be hard to beat.
A: What’s good, Malachi? I expect the Sixers to utilize a 10-man rotation. I see the Sixers starting Milton, Tobias Harris, Embiid, Richardson and Simmons with Horford, Korkmaz, Alec Burks, Matisse Thybulle and Glenn Robinson III coming off the bench.
With that said, Shake won’t have to push Richardson. Plus, Richardson, a solid defender and glue guy, will be vital to the starting lineup. I do see Shake getting a lot of time during the eight “seeding” games. However, I expect the Sixers to start resting their starters once they realize who they’ll face in the first round. The eight games will give the team a better understanding of who will be in the postseason rotation more so than the starting lineup.
A: What’s up, J.A.? I understand and appreciate your question. I think the problem with Simmons is that he’s too versatile. He can play point guard, power forward and center all at a high level. I believe you are talking his refusal to shooting three-pointers while on the perimeter as a point guard. Yes, that would make him more of a complete point guard and help the Sixers. However, I think his best position is point forward, where he doesn’t have to shoot three-pointers. To me, he’s unstoppable and everything seems more natural to him there.