The Philadelphia 76ers have favored one specific starting lineup when fully healthy for the majority of this season. That lineup is Tyrese Maxey, De'Anthony Melton, Tobias Harris, Nic Batum, and Joel Embiid. Following the James Harden trade there was discussion on if Kelly Oubre Jr., Robert Covington, or Batum would join the starting lineup with the latter winning that last forward spot.
Due to a number of injuries in the early part of the season, Nick Nurse has utilized several different starting lineups which has allowed him and the rest of the coaching staff to evaluate other possibilities. Well, a new lineup that debuted on Tuesday, January 2nd against the Chicago Bulls may be the answer in the future.
Did Nick Nurse find a new ideal starting lineup?
During pregame the other night, Nurse said the following which was noted by SI.com:
"“We’re going to see how well [Kelly Oubre and Nic Batum] share the floor tonight. This starting lineup was in the back of my mind that we’re going with tonight was something that was a possibility. I think it just makes us a little bit bigger and a little bit more athletic on the wing, you know, with wingspan and things like that at the two, three. It gives us pretty good size in the starting lineup that we’re going with tonight. I think that them playing together is definitely something we’re going to be looking at.”"
The topic was even picked up and discussed on the John Kincade show on 97.5 The Fanatic yesterday morning as well. There was a consensus on the show that a starting lineup with both Oubre Jr. and Batum has the potential to be the best this roster has to offer. Nurse is the type of coach to tinker and adjust until he finds what he is looking for and the length of this starting lineup is very enticing.
Bringing Melton off the bench may feel like a demotion for the 25-year-old guard, however, it may be a blessing in disguise. When given the opportunity to increase his shooting output so far this season, he has often responded well. Melton's defense is another asset the second unit is currently lacking and would help when Embiid and Harris are off the floor.
Whether Nurse sticks with this lineup is yet to be seen, but the Sixers' coach showed noticeable excitement when speaking with the media on Tuesday.
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