Career assists for Flyers captain Claude Giroux

Sixers Notebook: Mid-term grades

Posted by Eric Fisher On January 22

It’s important to remember that the 76ers are still learning. They are a relatively young team, which is one reason they’ve experienced their share of ups and downs during the first half of the season.

Barely past the midpoint of the season, it’s time to assess the Sixers (22-20), who are in the seventh playoff position in the Eastern Conference. Yes, it’s time for mid-term grades. They have many years ahead of them to improve, but these grades provide a snap shot of where the Sixers are right now. (All statistics through Sunday’s games.)

Joel Embiid: A Embiid is averaging 24 points, 10.9 rebounds and 3.4 assists. He was named an All-Star Game starter and has played in 33 games, which exceeds the 31 he played last season. Barring another injury, Embiid seems destined to join the NBA’s elite.

JJ Redick: A- You couldn’t have expected much more from Redick than the 17.3 points he’s averaging. Redick, shooting 40.5 percent from 3-point range and 94.6 percent from the free-throw line, also provides veteran leadership for this young team.

Ben Simmons: B+ In his first year of NBA action, Simmons is averaging 16.6 points, 8 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game. As the starting point guard, however, Simmons has to do a better job of controlling the tempo and not turning the ball over when the Sixers have a big lead. Controlling the game may come along with experience, but youth isn’t an excuse for shooting 55.6 percent from the free throw line.

T.J. McConnell: B He fills his role wonderfully, providing a little offense (7.8 points) off the bench and ranking second on the team in assists (4.8). It seems as if McConnell, who is shooting 43.2 percent from 3-point range, provides the Sixers with whatever they need on any given night.

Dario Saric (left): B After an adjustment period earlier in the season, Saric is averaging 13.6 points, 6.8 rebounds and 2.7 assists. It seems as if he found his footing while Embiid was sidelined with a back injury. Saric took a leading role during Embiid’s absence, and the confidence seems to have stuck with him after Embiid returned.

Robert Covington: B Covington is the opposite of Saric. He started the season on fire, but has tailed off. Covington averages 13.4 points per game, but his shooting has tailed off. He hasn’t seemed comfortable since returning from a back injury. At times, Covington even seems reluctant to shoot, which isn’t his style.

Jerryd Bayless: B- The veteran guard is averaging 8.3 points and trying to provide a veteran presence.

Richaun Holmes: C+ Holmes can provide the Sixers with some advantageous matchups, but 6.8 points and 4.8 rebounds per game isn’t enough to raise Holmes’ grade to a “B.”

Timothe Luawawu-Cabarrot: C+ Averaging 6.1 points during the first half of the season doesn’t enable TLC to be rankied much higher than hthi..

Amir Johnson: C The Sixers are only getting 4.9 points and 4.8 rebounds from their “veteran preseance” on the front line.”

Trevor Booker: C Averaging a little more than half of what he averaged before being acquired from the Nets in the Jahlil Okafor trade. Booker is a solid player.

Markelle Fultz: Incomplete His shoulder injury, although Fultz remains sidelined after his shoulder reportedly is better, prevents Fultz from receiving an “F.” With both Redick and Bayless sidelined, Fultz’s shot still isn’t good enough for him to return the lineup. That’s a troubling development.

Justin Anderson, Forkan Korkmaz and James Taylor: Incomplete We haven’t seen enough from any of these players to provide a grade.


Brett Brown: B- Brown continues to keep a positive atmosphere around the team, but the coach must take some of the responsibility when a team frequently blows double-digit leads.


Bryan Colangelo: C+ Colangelo deserves credit for signing JJ Redick. However, he traded up in the draft to select Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick, sending a first-round pick to the Celtics to get them to swap pick. The Celtics were able to draft forward Jayson Tatum, the player they wanted all along, with the third overall pick. Colangelo’s grade is also lowered for failing to trade Jahlil Okafor least winter and spring, when he at least had a little value..


STAR POWER: Joel Embiid was selected as a starter for the NBA All-Star Game. That means he gets placed in a pool with the other “starters,” and then the captains take turns choosing players for their respective sides.


BRAGGING RIGHTS: Perhaps Joel Embiid is beginning to take my advice regarding declaring himself a warrior or the best defensive player of the league. Embiid has put aside the personal bragging … in order to declare that the Sixers are the best defensive team in the NBA. Once again, I’d prefer if the accolades don’t come from Embiid himself.


MEASURING UP: In my previous Sixers Notebook, I suggested that the Atlantic Division-leading Celtics, the second-place Raptors and the Bucks would serve as good measuring sticks for the Sixers. Considering that the Sixers won all three games, the answer must be that they had a terrific week. The Sixers were 0-3 this season against both the Celtics and Raptors before beating both teams last week.


BUCKS COACH STOPS HERE: The 22-point loss to the Sixers on Saturday was apparently the final straw for Bucks head coach Jason Kidd, who was fired on Monday.


BIG LOSS: The Sixers didn’t lose a game last week, but they suffered a major loss when it was discovered that shooting guard JJ Redick has a small crack in the fibular head of his left leg, an injury that is expected to keep him sidelined at least 10-14 days. To make matters worse, Jerryd Bayless is experiencing soreness in the wrist he had repaired last year. The Sixers sure could use Fultz these days to help out.


TOUGH SCHEDULE: After visiting Memphis tonight (Monday) and then hosting the Bulls on Wednesday (7 p.m.), the Sixers go on the road for three games in four nights. Even worse, the road games are in San Antonio (Friday), Oklahoma City (Sunday) and Milwaukee (Monday).

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Side angle of Cody Parkey's missed field goal