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November 02, 2015

Sixers update: Nik Stauskas, Robert Covington to start against Cavs

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Three games in, Brett Brown finally can trot out the starting lineup he had in the back of his mind to start the season. JaKarr Sampson/Hollis Thompson are out against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers, and Nik Stauskas/Robert Covington are in on the wings to join the Nerlens Noel/Jahlil Okafor frontcourt and point guard Isaiah Canaan.

The Sixers should have more invested long-term in both Stauskas and Covington (who, like Sampson and Thompson, is on a non-guaranteed “Hinkie Special”). That doesn’t mean the new duo doesn’t present its own set of problems, though, specifically on one end of the floor.

“There becomes challenges with them,” Brown said. “You’re not really pointing at like a defensive stopper in that group. So, we’re going to need to develop two-way players more than the obvious shooting capabilities that [Stauskas and Covington] have. But shooting is a good thing with this group.” 

The spacing should improve, something the Sixers’ ailing offense badly needs. Stauskas shot 3-6 (2-3 from three-point range) for 12 points in his debut against the Utah Jazz on Friday. In a surprisingly strong 2014-15 campaign, Covington averaged 13.5 points per game and shot 37 percent from deep.

Covington, who is making his season debut, sprained his right MCL during the final preseason game on October 24th. Brown said he would be limited to 24-26 minutes.

There will be no easing Covington back into the lineup. He will likely start out against James at the beginning of the game.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann