Preseason predictions about former Philadelphia 76ers players: Key reserves
The Philadelphia 76ers traded for spark plug scorer Alec Burks during the 2019-20 season. He was that for the tanking Detriot Pistons last season and now with a new head coach in Monty Williams, the Pistons will focus more on winning. With that being said, Burks should still be in the rotation on a young team.
The Chicago Bulls need rebounding on their team and with Andre Drummond as their backup center, he should help in that area. Drummond was arguably the best backup center in Joel Embiid’s Sixers tenure and he suited up for the franchise during the 2021-22 season before being traded for James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets.
The 76ers just lost Georges Niang in free agency to the Cleveland Cavaliers this offseason. For the last two seasons, Niang was the defacto sharpshooter off the bench for Philly and he figures to have the same role in Cleveland. If he can provide defense and/or rebounding, then he could have an even bigger role.
There were few players that had the same level of chemistry with MVP Joel Embiid as Seth Curry. The sharpshooting two guards played a season and a half in Philly. This past offseason he re-joined the Mavericks who he played for before getting traded to the Sixers. He should be a sharpshooter off the bench for the Mavs this season.
Christain Wood began his career with the 76ers during “The Process” and has developed as a nice offensive player, but his defense has left much to be desired. He joined the Los Angeles Lakers on a minimum deal this offseason his role is yet to be determined. He could start, be a key reserve, or possibly be a fringe rotation player.
“The Sixers haven’t been great at developing young talent within the last couple of seasons and Julian Champagnie is yet another example of this.”
After being on a two-way contract with the Sixers a few seasons ago, Haywood Highsmith has become a productive reserve for the Miami Heat for the past two seasons and figures to be in a similar role again with the opportunity for an even bigger role.
The 76ers traded for Josh Richardson from the Heat as a consolation prize as a sign-and-trade that landed Miami a superstar, but more on that later. Richardson didn’t perform up to expectation for Philly or any other team he’s played for. He’s returned to Miami this offseason and is set to be a key reserve this year for the reigning Eastern Conference Champions.
Shake Milton might be a great situation now that he signed with the Minnesota Timberwolves this past offseason after spending the past half-decade with the Sixers. He’s been a solid backup point guard but has shown flashes he could be more than that and if T-Wolves starter Mike Conley regresses due to age, Milton might be in line for a bigger role.
Due to an inability to spread the floor consistently, the Philadelphia 76ers had to move on from defensive ace Matisse Thybulle at this past trade deadline. Thybulle will be a member of the rebuilding Portland Trail Blazers this season, however, at 26 years old, the defensive ace is in his prime and could be traded to a playoff contender at some point.
The Sixers haven’t been great at developing young talent within the last couple of seasons and Julian Champagnie is yet another example of this. Last offseason, Philly signed the forward to a two-way deal but waived him last year. He signed with the Spurs and has shown real potential with San Antonio since joining them. He should figure to continue to be a part of their core.
The 76ers traded Thybulle for Jalen McDaniels this past season and yet let McDaniels walk in free agency to division rival the Toronto Raptors. McDaniels figures to be a part of the Raptors rotation, especially if the team embraces the inevitable rebuild.
When Landry Shamet was drafted by the Sixers in 2018, I thought he’d be the second coming of J.J. Redick. He’s failed to live up to that billing but has been a solid 3-point shooting journeyman. He’s on the rebuilding Washington Wizards and figures to be in line for minutes early on. However, if he plays well, the Wizards could try to trade him for draft assets later during this season.