Sixers basketball is back – well sort of. Tonight was the first preseason game of the 2020-21 basketball season and the Sixers faithful were excited to watch their new team for the first time.
As most of you already know, new President of Basketball Ops, Daryl Morey, made a few trades to correct a disastrous 2019 offseason. With new guys, Seth Curry and Danny Green, replacing Josh Richardson and Al Horford, we got a great sense of what this season is going to look like.
After an early, turnover-ridden start, the Sixers began to get very comfortable on both ends.
Joel Embiid looks as promising as ever and dominated the Celtics in every way before ending his day at half time.
Ben Simmons continued to be a beast in transition finding open shooters and attacking the paint like a man possessed. (He also hit 4 of his 5 free throw attempts)
Tobias Harris was extremely efficient, scoring 16 on 7-11 shooting.
New additions Seth Curry and Danny Green hit a 3 pointer each and looked a lot better on the defensive end than I would’ve expected, holding the Celtics starting backcourt – Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown – to 1 field goal each on a combined 15 attempts.
What I was most intrigued about was the new bench. HC Doc Rivers decided to go with Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz, Dwight Howard, Mike Scott, and Matisse Thybulle as his 5 reserves.
As a whole, the group scored 37 points, led by 6th Man of the Year hopeful Shake Milton’s 19. In an interview, Doc said “if Shake can play like he played against us in LA, I don’t need to tell him another thing,” and boy did he look the part. From layups, to floaters, to step backs, to 3 pointers, Shake put his entire arsenal on display.
Now, my favorite moment of the night: TYRESE MAXEY. The rookie guard started the 4th quarter and immediately contributed 3 assists. After setting up his teammates in the half court, it was time to show why the Sixers drafted him at 21. Coming tightly off a screen, Maxey attacked the rim, and euro stepped into a reverse layup.
Next play down, coming tightly off another screen, Maxey shot a beautiful 12 foot floater. A few plays after that, once again, coming off a screen, Maxey hit another floater in the lane. He would add another basket in the quarter, ending his debut with 8 points, 3 assists and 1 rebound. The kid is going to be a star and we saw a glimpse of that tonight.
All in all, this team looks completely different last year offensively and defensively. Guys are flying all around the court and on the other end, they are a lot more decisive and confident in their offense. This is just one preseason game, but you have to like what you saw from Doc Rivers and company. Their next, and final, preseason game is this Friday vs the Indiana Pacers. See you all then!