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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Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports /

The Sixers’ rotation bubble

So there you have it. The Sixers should run a staggered bench unit of De’Anthony Melton, Danuel House Jr., Georges Niang, Shake Milton, and Paul Reed. I happen to believe this is where Doc Rivers will land too. It is worth emphasizing, however, that Philadelphia should never have more than three bench players on the floor at once. There are four offensive stars on this team. Keep two on the floor at all times.

That said, the Sixers’ depth does afford them options (matchup-based or performance-based). Here are the players on the roster bubble and what we should expect going into the season.

Matisse Thybulle, the defensive savant

It’s hard to imagine benching a guy who has two All-Defensive teams on his resumé at 25 years old. But Thybulle is simply not good enough offensively to get regular minutes. Last season, Philly started him out of necessity. He was a year younger and there was a gaping hole in the perimeter defense thanks to Ben Simmons’ departure. Now, Philly has several stud defenders across the roster.

The Sixers will still go to Thybulle on occasion. He has spark-plug potential because of his ability to generate turnovers and kickstart transition offense. If the Sixers are facing a particularly dynamic backcourt, then maybe we see Thybulle get some run. But in general, Thybulle’s offensive limitations will make it hard to justify extended minutes.

Montrezl Harrell, the bench’s best scorer

Again, Montrezl Harrell is a tremendous regular season backup who could probably lead the bench in scoring if given the chance. He also crashes the glass. Rebounding was an area of weakness for Philly last season. What holds him back is defense. The Sixers have to make investments for the playoffs, and Reed projects as the superior postseason big. We will see Harrell off and on — he’s too talented to be buried entirely — but the Sixers only have so many minutes to go around in the frontcourt.

Furkan Korkmaz, the elder statesman

At 25 years old, Furkan Korkmaz is now the second-longest tenured Sixer behind Joel Embiid. He is entering his sixth NBA season and has shared the court with Embiid for several years now. That’s not insignificant — there’s real chemistry there, and the Sixers’ offense should be geared toward maximizing Embiid’s comfort.

Korkmaz was bad last season. There’s no sugarcoating it. He was also injured and out of rhythm. A healthy Korkmaz provides a decent variety of skills on offense. He can shoot, pass, create a little off the bounce. His movement shooting and ability to run two-man actions with Embiid could earn Korkmaz a few minutes here and there, but right now it’s hard to imagine Korkmaz getting every-night burn.

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