After losing Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency, there were questions about who would fill their roles on a Sixers team desperately in search of shooting. The thought was that this issue would be addressed in free agency and other trades over the Summer, but after only coming away with Wilson Chandler and Anthony Brown, the concerns were not mitigated.
Through three preseason games, however, it looks like the lack of moves might have been okay, as a few players have stepped up and taken the reigns.
We knew it would not be Ben Simmons. We hoped it would be Markelle Fultz, but he seems to be at least a year away from really impacting a game with his jumper. Joel Embiid is in the best shape coming into a season we’ve seen (seeing as it’s the first healthy offseason he’s had in the NBA), but he has struggled mightily from deep thus far. We haven’t seen much from Robert Covington, but it’s fair to assume we’ll be seeing the same streaky shooter we’ve grown accustomed to.
So no, it’s none of them. It’s the Sixers’ real big three: JJ Redick, Landry Shamet, and Furkan Korkmaz, of course.
JJ Redick Did. Not. Miss. 💦
28 PTs, 10/10 FG, 7/7 3FG pic.twitter.com/Eos2R5yI0Z
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) October 5, 2018
JJ Redick is obviously not a surprise on this list, seeing as he was the team’s best shooter last year at 42% and has shot 41.5% over 12 seasons in the league. What we didn’t see coming, however, was Redick shooting 10-10 from the field and 7-7 from deep against the Mavericks in Shanghai. Redick turned back the clocks to his time at Duke when he heard the chorus of boos from the Chinese fans every time he touched the ball.
The fans showed their distaste for Redick spawning from a misunderstanding after Redick accidentally used a racial slur in a promotional video from the NBA celebrating the Chinese New Year, which he eventually apologized for. He was apparently unfazed by the negative reaction to him as he put on a masterful 28-point performance to get the Sixers the win.
Landry Shamet, the Sixers’ 26th selection in June’s NBA Draft, has also shown flashes of brilliance this preseason, including scoring 12 off the bench in a win against the Magic and 18 points on 3-7 from three-point land against the Mavericks. It wasn’t known how much time Shamet would see on the court this season and that it was possible he was more of a long-term asset, but he has shown so far that he belongs on the floor sooner rather than later.
Furkan Korkmaz came over from Turkey last season in hopes to add a shooting spark off the bench, but it was clear immediately he was not ready for NBA action, leading him to a few assignments with the G-League affiliate Delaware 87ers throughout the season. Korkmaz has come into this season a new player, scoring 40 points in the Sixers first Summer League game of the year and displaying a consistent deep ball through the team’s first three preseason games, including 18 points in 19 minutes Monday night against the Orlando Magic.
The emergence of the latter two shooters could create some stress on the Sixers’ coaching staff when it comes to determining the day-in and day-out rotation for the upcoming season. With Wilson Chandler and first-round pick Zhaire Smith recovering from injuries, the quest for getting NBA minutes becomes even tougher, so the two will need to continue to show-out through the beginning of the regular season.