The Philadelphia 76ers have depth at the guard position, something that has been lacking in years past. While the season is still young, it’s time to make a change to the starting five.
In the Philadelphia 76ers’ season opener the starting lineup was Ben Simmons, Danny Green, Seth Curry, Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid. This combined the two new free agents in Curry and Green with the Sixers’ core from last season. It has been previously noted that the addition of perimeter shooting spaces the floor and allows Simmons and Embiid space to do their work in the paint. However, I do not believe this is the best starting lineup for the team.
Currently, Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton are averaging 21.6 and 26.6 minutes per game respectively for the Sixers coming off the bench. Both trail Danny Green in playing time, however both bring something unique to the floor that Green does not: the ability to create their own shot. Maxey and Milton undoubtedly provide a spark for the second unit, but their shot creating ability could be more beneficial to the starting lineup.
Green is having one of his worst shooting years averaging 37 percent from deep (down three percent from his 40 percent career average) and a career low 38.7 percent from two-point range (down seven percent from his 46 percent career average). Shooting slumps are not something new for Green and he has worked his way through slumps in the past. Even recently after going 0-7 from three in a game against Atlanta, he bounced back the following night against Miami shooting 9-for-21 en route to tying a Sixers single-game franchise record for 3-pointers.
However, the severity of Green’s shooting decline has been more drastic this year than in past years. Coming off the bench could be a necessary adjustment for him, even though he has been a starter the majority of his 12-year career. While hoping that this lineup change would benefit Green’s shooting, it would also provide a guaranteed benefit for a Sixers’ starting lineup that could arguably be the best in the league.
Both Maxey and Milton are already averaging more points per game than Green in less minutes and both are explosive enough to drive by defenders and create their own shot when needed. In addition, Milton is averaging similar defensive numbers to Green, a skill that Green has garnered much praise for in the past.
The final decision lies with Doc Rivers and maybe he wants to keep the explosivity and strength of his second lineup intact. Yet inserting Maxey, or more likely Milton, into the starting lineup would maximize the 76ers’ offensive abilities while maintaining the toughness of their defense.