The Philadelphia 76ers are stacked in the front court heading into this upcoming, which leaves their second year big man with one option for playing time.
The weakness of the depth chart at power forward and center for most of last season gave Philadelphia 76ers then rookie Jonah Bolden an opportunity for playing time early and often. That won’t be the case this upcoming season, as general manager Elton Brand did a great job filling out the depth chart at center this summer. Which will leave the second year big man one option for legit playing time.
Jonah Bolden’s rookie season proved that the Australian big man has potential as a 3-point shooter and defender. In 44 games with Philly last season, he averaged 4.7 points, 3.8 rebounds, 0.4 steals and 0.9 blocks, while converting 35.4 percent of his 3-pointers. Despite his potential on the defensive end, he still struggled on that side of the ball, especially with foul trouble. Bolden averaged 5.6 fouls Per 36 Minutes.
There’s real room for Bolden to grow coming into this season, but with the re-signings of Tobias Harris and Mike Scott, along with the free agent signing of Al Horford and Kyle O’Quinn, front court playing time will be sparse. Horford, Harris and Scott will take up most of the playing time at the power forward spot, whereas Joel Embiid, Horford and O’Quinn will take up any remaining minutes at the center position.
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There’s no doubt that Bolden could learn a lot from sitting on the bench in games and practicing with these veterans. Justin DiVirgilio of The Sixer Sense, recently wrote about what Bolden could learn from Horford this season. This could benefit Bolden, but he still needs game reps to incorporate what he could learn from the team’s other big men.
Bolden simply isn’t in a stage of his development to challenge those veterans for playing time. Unless foul trouble, blowouts or injuries occur, expect Bolden to be sitting in his warmup uniform most nights. The 23-year-old still needs game action to help his development and with the strong bench rotation set in Philly, there’s only one option for the second year big man to get minutes.
The Delaware Blue Coats, the Sixers G-League Affiliate, is Bolden’s best chance to develop from playing against legit competition. He would have all the playing time he could ask for with Delaware, which should be looked at as a positive. The 6-foot-10 stretch big man had played with the Blue Coats for eight games this last season. In those games, he averaged 15.3 points, 11.8 rebounds, 1.5 steals and 0.8 blocks, while shooting 34.6 percent from downtown.
It’s clear that Bolden benefited from playing with the Delaware Blue Coats last season. With the current depth that the Philadelphia 76ers have in place, playing with Delaware would seem to be the most beneficial route that he and the Sixers should take this upcoming season in terms of getting him playing time and developing his skills.