Sixers: Preseason grades for every player

Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, Sixers (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
Tyrese Maxey, James Harden, 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 /

Sixers preseason grades: Second unit


De’Anthony Melton got a couple spot starts and performed admirably. It’s clear his defense will play a central role in Doc Rivers’ rotation. Melton is the Sixers’ best guard defender with a passable offensive repertoire. He is your sixth man. That being said, the Sixers leaned heavily on Melton’s ball-handling in certain lineups and often paid the price. Melton is turnover-prone and largely ineffective as a play initiator. He’s best thought of and used as a 3-and-D wing who occasionally slashes to the rim and uses his athleticism to finish inside.

. F. 76ers. GEORGES NIANG. B

The Mini-Van is back for another trip around the block. Georges Niang looks primed to play a significant role in the second unit once again. He is extremely valuable to the Sixers’ offense because of his completely unabashed confidence behind the 3-point line. The Sixers will have to plan in advance for Niang’s postseason disappearance, but he’s one heck of a regular season boon.

F. 76ers. DANUEL HOUSE JR.. A-.

Danuel House Jr. was seriously impressive, which flew entirely too far under the radar — even in dedicated corners of the Philly fanbase. It’s hard not to be enamored with his game. He defends at a high level and plays excellent connective basketball on the offensive end. House spaces the floor for his stars, but he’s also capable of attacking close-outs with his handle and making smart passes on the move. He’s the kind of 3-and-D wing Philly has long dreamt of but seldom possessed.

B. . C. 76ers. PAUL REED

Paul Reed has locked up at least a share of the backup center minutes from the look of things. He was Embiid’s primary reliever in three of four games, and he did little to dissuade Doc Rivers and the coaching staff in that span. Reed’s beautifully chaotic presence on defense is a wonder to behold. He is a genuinely talented disruptor, providing the kind of hustle and spunk the Sixers desperately need more of. He also shows some wildly intriguing flashes on offense, even if they’re somewhat few and far between at the moment.


Montrezl Harrell is too good to keep on the shelf. Philly will have to play him, even if Reed is the backup center of the future. If we’re to believe Doc Rivers, the Sixers will oscillate between Reed and Harrell based on matchups. They might even play together, or at least in the same game, from time to time. Whatever the case may be, it’s hard not to be impressed by Harrell’s tornado-like energy in the preseason. He played the most physical and determined basketball of any Sixer. Next to Harden, he should feast on easy looks at the rim all season.

. G. 76ers. SHAKE MILTON. B-

Shake Milton appears to have the inside track for the “10th” rotation spot (for now, it’s probably best to view Reed and Harrell as different sides of the same coin — both are splitting the backup center spot). He earned it in the playoffs and looked ready to go in preseason action. He still needs to shoot more 3s, but Philly benefits a lot from Milton’s ability to put the ball on the floor and create from scratch.