The Sixers finished the week 3-1 including exciting victories over the Jazz and Hornets. Jimmy Butler showed why the Sixers moved RoCo and Dario for his services. He brought a new dynamic to the offense while terrorizing teams on defense. Embiid and Simmons continued their strong play, while several bench players took on larger roles. Let’s take a look at this week’s Sixers Rankings.
1. Joel Embiid (28 points, 13 rebounds, 4 assists, 2 blocks)
Embiid continues to dominate every night. He tossed around Hassan Whiteside on Monday en route to a 35 point, 18 rebound performance. The addition of Butler has not seemed to hamper his production at all. Embiid was instrumental in helping the Sixers defeat the Hornets in OT on Saturday. He led the team with 33 points, 11 rebounds, and 2 blocks. It will be interesting to see how the Big 3 adjust as they move forward. Embiid has been far and away the best player on the Sixers this season but both Butler and Simmons could close that gap over the next few weeks.
2. Jimmy Butler (19 points, 3 rebounds, 4 assists, 1.5 steals *as a Sixer)
The Jimmy Butler era is off to an exciting start. During his home opener against the Jazz, Butler dazzled the frenzied crowd to the tune of a 28-point performance in a Sixers win. He followed that up with a clutch performance against the Hornets. As Kemba Walker tried to win the game in the closing seconds of OT, Butler chased him down, blocked him, and hurled the ball back to Wilson Chandler. It was an incredible play that fired up his teammates. In the ensuing huddle, J.J. Redick walked in and dared Butler to hit the game winner. “I bet you won’t call game on this one.” Butler iso’d Dwayne Bacon and drained a contested three. It was an incredible moment and a great introduction to Jimmy Butler the Philadelphia 76er.
3. Ben Simmons (15 points, 9 rebounds, 8 assists, 1.3 steals)
Ben developed early chemistry with Butler and he set up Jimmy for the winning basket in the final seconds against the Jazz. He followed that up with one of his best games of the season vs. the Hornets with 23 points, 11 rebounds, and 9 assists. He was assertive and consistently getting to the basket, while making 9 of 11 free throw attempts. Simmons looks to be rounding into mid-season form and it should be fun to watch how he expands his game next to Embiid and Butler.
4. J.J. Redick (18 points, 2 rebounds, 3 assists, 37% 3PT, 91% FT)
With Jimmy Butler on the team, J.J. Redick was re-inserted into the starting lineup. He’s provided the team with much needed scoring from beyond the arc. Over the last three games, Redick is averaging 20 points on 49% from the three-point line. There is a significant gap in the Sixers Rankings between Redick and whoever slides into the 5th spot for the foreseeable future.
5. Markelle Fultz (9 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists, 1 steal, 43% FG)
It was an up-and-down week for Fultz. It seemed like he hit rock bottom against the Heat when videos went viral of his poor free throw shooting form. With Jimmy Butler on board, he faded into the background a bit over the last three games. He provides value as a ball-handler but the Sixers need shooters right now. I could see Fultz start to slide down the rankings over the next few weeks.
Best of the Rest:
6. Wilson Chandler (5 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assists, 39% 3PT)
Chandler played well in his debut in the starting lineup against the Magic. He finished with 14 points and 4 rebounds. However, he provided minimal production over the weekend as the Sixers tried to give him some rest. There is still a long way to go with Chandler but early signs look like he could be a contributor for this team.
7. Mike Muscala (8 points, 4 rebounds, 1 assist, 33% 3PT
Muscala brings size to the second unit but is shooting poorly from deep. He needs to start knocking down open looks if he expects to get more playing time.
8. Landry Shamet (7 points, 1 rebound, 1 assist, 34% 3PT)
Shamet has played well but he is not getting a ton of run. Given Fultz’s recent struggles, I could see Shamet get some more playing time as Brett Brown experiments with different lineups.
9. Furkan Korkmaz (4 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 38% 3PT)
He’s playing well and capitalizing on his opportunity. Click here where we discuss Korkmaz’s return to the rotation.