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July 05, 2017

An updated look at the Sixers depth chart

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In the weeks leading up to the 2017 NBA Draft, ESPN tries to project future starting lineups for different teams while running through different draft scenarios. This certainly seems like a worthy exercise, but it also needs to be executed properly.

For example, Jahlil Okafor playing in between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid at the 4 is a pretty tough sell if you have watched any Sixers basketball over the last two seasons:

Now that the most of the draft and free agency work looks like it’s done (there could obviously be more moves), here is how I envision the Sixers depth chart shaking out:

Markelle Fultz
 Jerryd BaylessT.J. McConnell
SGJ.J. Redick
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot
 Nik Stauskas
Robert Covington
Justin Anderson
Furkan Korkmaz
Ben Simmons
Dario Saric
 Amir Johnson
CJoel Embiid
 Richaun Holmes Jahlil Okafor

Before we start, this isn’t like a football depth chart. It’s more fluid, and players can slide from one position to the next.

As well as Dario Saric played at the end of last year, the starting lineup should be set. My positions here have more to do with who the player guards, so a point forward like Ben Simmons will be best guard opposing 4s. Covington and Embiid should have a lot of work on the defensive end with the starting lineup, but if last year is any indication, they’re up for a challenge. Redick’s lack of size hurts on defense, but he’s developed into a smart team defender.

As for the rest of the rotation, Saric should get 25 to 30 minutes off the bench while you can probably also pencil in Holmes and TLC for minutes with the second unit. To me, the most interesting question is how the backup point guard situation is handled. T.J. McConnell has proven to be an NBA-caliber backup point guard, but Jerryd Bayless was signed to a three-year contract last offseason and he’s better suited to playing off the ball with someone like Simmons.

The 2 and 3 spots are interchangeable here, and there should be some legit competition after the starters. Maybe Brett Brown even tries a McConnell-Bayless backcourt for stretches off the bench?

As for Korkmaz, I feel like he’ll be in Delaware quite a bit at least to start the season. And after Holmes, how the Sixers decide to handle Okafor is anyone’s guess.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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