Following a week-long training camp in Charleston, South Carolina, the Philadelphia 76ers made a pit stop in Brooklyn before getting back to the City of Brotherly Love.
On Monday, the Sixers had their preseason debut against the Brooklyn Nets at the Barclays Center. Going into the matchup, Sixers head coach Doc Rivers teased the idea of having a few key players sit out for the night.
Before the game, Rivers revealed that Joel Embiid, James Harden, and PJ Tucker were all set to miss the matchup due to rest. In addition, the veteran Danuel House Jr. got the night off as he’s dealing with a stiff neck.
Even without a handful of key players, the Sixers got the job done in Brooklyn. After getting off to a hot start by scoring 42 points in the first quarter, the Nets battled back and got the game within single digits before halftime.
Although Brooklyn’s bench managed to gain the lead in the second half, the Sixers’ reserves found a way to still close out the game with a comfortable win. With a victory over Brooklyn, the Sixers advance to 1-0 in the preseason.
Here’s how the players graded out on Monday:
When you think of Matisse Thybulle’s game based on what he’s put on display over the last few seasons, you expect him to be a pest on the defensive side of the ball while struggling to make an impact on the other end. Monday night’s performance was a typical Thybulle game. There’s been a lot of talk about Thybulle’s offensive improvement as of late, but Monday night was not a shining example for Thybulle. The good news is that Thybulle wasn’t hesitant to shoot. The bad news is he scored just three points in 18 minutes, draining 25 percent of his shots.
Tobias Harris is a good complementary piece to Philadelphia’s stars, but he can produce on his own without them too. With just 16 minutes of playing time, Harris collected nine points off of seven shots and two free throws. The key to Harris this year is making quick decisions with the ball. He didn’t try to do too much and launched threes at will when he caught the ball beyond the arc instead of dribbling up into a contested shot.
Paul Reed: A-
The third-year second-round pick is fighting for a spot in the Sixers’ rotation. As he got the start over Montrezl Harrell with Embiid out, Reed took advantage of a prime opportunity He was consistent in the scoring department as he put up ten points on four shots. He also collected five rebounds, three steals, and a block. Minimizing fouls gives Reed bonus points, and considering he fouled just three times in 20 minutes, Reed gets some extra credit after a rather impressive showing.
De’Anthony Melton: C-
Making his Sixers debut on Monday night, De’Anthony Melton started in place of the absent James Harden. Shots were falling for the Sixers early on in the game, but Melton wasn’t in the consistency club. As he led the starters in shots from the field with ten attempts, Melton drained just 20 percent of his shots. From deep, he went 1-7. A bad preseason game certainly won’t affect Melton’s role, as he’s definitely in the rotation during the regular season, but his Sixers preseason debut was underwhelming.
Tyrese Maxey: A+
Last season, Tyrese Maxey was in the Most Improved Player conversation. After seeing his performance on Monday, he might be on pace to enter that chat once again. From the beginning to the end of his nearly 14-minute shift on the floor, Maxey was an offensive juggernaut. He was fearless from three and knocked down 50 percent of his deep shots. Maxey was perfect from the charity stripe as he went 6-6. All in all, Maxey was 6-8 from the field and collected a game-high of 20 points. In a game that featured All-Stars such as Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, Maxey was the best player on the floor.
Shake Milton: C
It’s been a struggle for Shake Milton to find consistency as a backup ball-handler. Monday night was a similar trend. Milton didn’t do too much to impact the game. In fairness, the Sixers prefer Milton to be off the ball, and he’s expected to have that role when Melton returns to the bench. Against Brooklyn, though, Milton had to play backup point guard, and his performance was underwhelming.
Georges Niang needs to hit threes coming off the bench. It’s clear he understands the assignment as he put up five shots from three in 14 minutes. Niang finished the night draining 40 percent of his deep shots — giving the Sixers exactly what they need from him.
Montrezl Harrell: B+
Another player to make his Sixers debut on Monday night was the veteran big man, Montrezl Harrell. To say Harrell had an impact on the game is an understatement. In 11 minutes, Harrell was highly-productive in the offensive rebounding department. He also scored ten points. Honestly, if it weren’t for the big man fouling out, he probably would’ve had an A-plus grade. But leaving the game with six fouls in 11 minutes is something a notorious fouler like Paul Reed couldn’t even do.
Isaiah Joe: B
Similar to Niang, Isaiah Joe needs to show that he can be consistent from three-point land. It was clear Joe got the message as he put up six threes in 17 minutes. After draining 50 percent of his long balls, Joe wrapped up the game with nine points. So far, he’s making a good case to solidify his spot on the final roster.
Furkan Korkmaz really needs to bounce back this year. After signing a three-year deal with the Sixers going into the last season, Korkmaz improved his stock greatly early on in the year before seeing it plummet. By the time the final stretch of the season approached, Korkmaz was barely in the Sixers’ rotation. It seems Korkmaz is on a mission to win a spot in Rivers’ rotation once again. Sporting a shooting sleeve, Korkmaz looked the part on Monday night as he went 2-4 from deep and knocked down 50 percent of his field goal attempts for 15 points. Through one preseason game, Korkmaz looked most improved so far.
Here’s another guy that’s trying to win a spot on the roster. Julian Champagnie struggled to win supporters during the Sixers’ Summer League run, but he had a bounce-back performance in his 76ers preseason debut. In 18 minutes, Champagnie knocked down five shots and two free throws, collecting 15 points, tying Korkmaz for most points off the bench on Monday.
The hype about Jaden Springer’s defense translated to the floor in Monday’s game. Springer still has a long way to go before he’s impactful in the 76ers’ primary rotation, but we’re already seeing improvements out of the 20-year-old late first-round pick.
Charles Bassey: B+
Considering the depth at the center position, Charles Bassey could be competing for a roster spot this preseason. His stock dropped in Las Vegas at the Summer League, but Bassey bounced back on Monday. He led the Sixers in the rebounding department with nine total. That production was spread out evenly between offense and defense. It’s an uphill battle for Bassey to stick around, but his first of four opportunities to showcase his development was a successful one.