Which five bench players should the Sixers use?

De'Anthony Melton, Georges Niang, Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
De'Anthony Melton, Georges Niang, Joel Embiid, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

Georges Niang, the Sixers’ sharpshooter

After all these years, the Sixers still need a sharpshooter. We have seen many iterations of the “pure shooter” in Philly: J.J. Redick, Marco Belinelli, Seth Curry. Georges Niang is different than all of them. After a successful first season with the franchise, Niang returns for round two. He should play important minutes yet again.

It’s easy to let Niang’s postseason struggles overshadow just how great he was in the regular season. He was a revelation, emerging from obscurity in Utah to become Philadelphia’s primary bench weapon. He will take more of a backseat in 2022-23 (Melton and House will “lead” the second unit), but the Sixers should still find plenty of minutes for the 29-year-old.

Niang has the quickest trigger and the purest shot on the team. He’s a 3-point sniper through and through. He does a better job than anyone of playing within the confines of his own skill set. Niang doesn’t waste much time pounding the rock or considering his options. If he has space, he’s going to chuck up a shot. Generally with positive results. If his defender closes out too fast, Niang has mastered the one or two dribble pull-up or pass. He’s efficient, concise, and endlessly self-confident with a team-first bend.

There are valid criticisms of Niang. He’s a poor athlete by NBA standards, lacking the quickness and agility necessary to defend at a high (or even passable) level. He brings no shortage of energy and effort, but Niang simply cannot survive on spunk alone. The Sixers will have to phase him out of the playoffs rotation as a result, but when it comes to regular season production, there’s no doubt that Niang deserves his share of minutes.