Sixers: How should the rotation change once Tyrese Maxey returns?

Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports
Tyrese Maxey, Sixers Mandatory Credit: Kyle Ross-USA TODAY Sports /
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Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports /

How will the Sixers’ second unit change with Maxey back?

Let’s assume, again, that Maxey eventually rejoins the starting five. That will presumably push Melton back into his sixth man role (at least in the regular season) while Shake Milton gets pushed further to the periphery. It’s the hope of this writer, however, that Milton doesn’t get pushed too far to the periphery.

The Sixers have never really had this kind of guard depth in the Embiid era. But, there is immense value in multiple high-level creators sharing the floor simultaneously. Milton is 6-foot-6 with pterodactyl arms and Melton can guard players several inches taller than him. Harden’s best defensive assignments are forwards. There’s a lot of potential defensively flexibility baked into the four-guard group of Maxey-Harden-Melton-Milton, and the Sixers should be willing to constantly mix and match depending on matchup. We should see plenty of three-guard lineups and, by extension, plenty of Shake Milton. He has been huge this season and shouldn’t see his minutes tank.

Meanwhile, with Melton and Shake hopefully entrenched as staples of the second unit, Georges Niang should be locked into his minutes. There’s too much value tied to his 3-point volume to consider pushing him out of the rotation. Paul Reed should be the backup center, but that’s another article for another day. He will probably split reps with Montrezl Harrell all season.

So, that’s roughly nine players. Will Rivers go deeper than nine when everyone’s at full health? Danuel House Jr. has been in the rotation all season. Does he sneak in “10th man” minutes? What about Matisse Thybulle, who has already been struggling to garner consistent playing time. Are his days in Philadelphia numbered?

The bench unit should revolve around Melton/Tucker, Milton, and Niang. One backup center will get minutes, and House is probably the next man up on the perimeter in the case of injury or a player’s slow start. Thybulle, and by extension Furkan Korkmaz, will probably spend most of their time as observers as long as the core players remain healthy.