6 76ers who could get axed from Nick Nurse’s playoff rotation

These 76ers may not be part of head coach Nick Nurse’s rotation in the postseason.

Philadelphia 76ers, Nick Nurse
Philadelphia 76ers, Nick Nurse / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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4. Cameron Payne

The 76ers got Payne for Patrick Beverley in the deadline-day trade with the Bucks. Payne has five years of playoff experience, including three straight with the Suns. He was injured for the team’s first four postseason contests last season but played more every game after returning. The 29-year-old is a skilled offensive talent in his prime, but there are defensive questions.

Things are a bit different in Philly. Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey will be the 76ers primary scorers in the playoffs. Payne will play behind Kyle Lowry. The veteran has been a key addition off the buyout market, but Nick Nurse cannot expect the 38-year-old to play 40 minutes per game in the playoffs. The door is open for Payne to be the lead ball-handler off the bench, but Nurse could go in a different direction.

If the head coach plans to run an eight-man rotation in the playoffs, the locked-in starters will be Embiid, Maxey, Lowry, and Tobias Harris. Nicolas Batum, De’Anthony Melton, Buddy Hield, and Kelly Oubre Jr. will vie for that final spot. That is eight players, which leaves no room for anyone else if the 76ers are fully healthy.

Philadelphia’s depth could put Cameron Payne on the fringes of the rotation. Nurse likely prefers Melton’s superior defense and the scoring punch of Hield or Oubre. It could push Payne outside the nightly rotation, but expect him to get opportunities.