With the trade deadline coming to an end, the Philadelphia 76ers managed to get a bargain deal for power forward Tobias Harris to potentially make a run to the NBA Finals. Looking at the new and improved 76ers lineup, this is what each starting roster player will bring as the season winds down to a close.
At the point guard, hybrid point guard Ben Simmons will lead the young 76ers team for the rest of the season. The way that Simmons plays is interesting. He is listed as a small forward/power forward, yet he has the handles and mobility of a point guard and score like a center. Look for Simmons to take advantage of having a height advantage at the point guard position and facilitate it with he does best: post up. Simmons will likely post up and take who is covering him to the rim,m posterize the opposing player or draw fouls down in the post. Look for teams to have a nightmare figuring out how to cover Simmons.
At the shooting guard position, J.J. Redick will continue to do the two things he does best: create plays and shoot the three ball. With the addition of Tobias Harris to the team, look for Redick to do more pick and role plays, where rather than driving and scoring, Redick will dish it out to the player used did the pick and let them shoot the ball, drive and score or use the screen, or Redick will use the screen free up some space and pull the trigger beyond the three point line. Defensively, look for Redick to be a pest and force steals when he can. Whether this be when players are exchanging the ball or when being covered, Redick will do anything he can to help his team win.
At the small forward position, Jimmy Butler will do what he keeps doing: getting open and shooting. With the team that GM Elton Brand has now provided for Butler, look for the team to find a way to get Butler the best open shot. Defensively, look for him to cover the best player on the opposing team, providing air-tight, lockdown defense that force his opponent into bad shots or getting smothered by Butler.
At the power forward position-the new talk in Philadelphia-will be Tobias Harris. Known as offensive presence on the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers, he will take the role that Simmons had and put his own twist on it. Known for scoring when he comes off screens, look for Harris to be an X factor when teams are planning on matchups for upcoming games. Offensively, look for Harris to set screens to get himself open to score, as well as post up and score, since he was known for doing this for most of his career. Defensively, look for Harris to do the dirty work down below with center Joel Embiid-covering the post, getting rebounds-expect Haris to thrive defensively for this team and who he is going to cover.
Finally, at the power forward, Joel Embiid will be the giant he is on the court. Offensively and defensively dominant, look for him to keep scoring down in the post in the paint and rebounding. Defensively, look for him to be in the paint more with Harris, blocking shots like he usually does.
What this lineup brings is versatility. All the players in the starting five can cover more than one position, which helps with forming specific lineups that Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown can use for late game situations. What this teams also brings is an offensive mindset. This lineup can score everywhere: the post, midrange and the three pointer. I wouldn’t be surprised to see this team in the top five for scoring points in the second half of the season.
Now with the 76ers “Fantastic Five” lineup set, look for them to make the playoffs for the second straight year and potentially the NBA Finals for the first time since the 1982-1983 76ers team.