Our very own section of Philadelphia 76ers faithful is back again to talk about The Process. This time, we have already gotten to see a glimpse of what Markelle Fultz may be able to do, and some free agents have been signed. JJ Redick and Amir Johnson are on their way to the City of Brotherly Love, and the young guns are fighting for the remaining roster spots. Check out what our guys had to say about both topics!
Ryan Calpin – @calpinr_wcu
Kyle Allan – @kallan441
Evan Anderson – @Jordainian21
Ryan Cowan – @RCC1992
1. Most of us wanted JJ Redick in Philly, so how do you feel about the Amir Johnson signing?
Calpin: There are parts of the signing that I like. Those parts don’t actually have to do with Amir Johnson. I like that they didn’t spend too much money. I like that they added another veteran presence who has played in the playoffs to go alongside JJ. I just wish it wasn’t a big, who at times seems lazy. I think they should have added another shooter or slasher but overall I don’t think too many negatives will be brought to Philadephia with the signing of Amir Johnson.
Allan: I am on Ryan’s side here. I am just happy they did not spend too much money on Amir Johnson. Amir was solid off the bench for Boston, and adding a veteran who knows his role off the bench is nothing to be ashamed of. I think that Amir can provide the minutes needed for the bigs, but it forces guys like Richaun Holmes and Jahlil Okafor to receive reduced playing time. Johnson isn’t a five but there will still be minutes reduced from young players so we are going to have to see how they balance that.
Anderson: I thought the signing of Amir Johnson was neutral for the Sixers. Adding him as a role player who did not take a lot of money is a benefit. Knowing his role as a bench player, Johnson’s minutes will vary between him and his new teammates. The veteran leadership will help the big men throughout the season and the signing of JJ will help as well. He won’t be as productive as his previous years, but his mentality and leadership skills will help the atmosphere in the locker room.
Cowan: I’m fine with the Amir Johnson signing because of the flexibility of the deal. It’s only for a year and gives us a veteran who can start and play 20-25 minutes a game. This signing allows the Sixers to bring Dario Saric off the bench while still having the ability to play around 30 minutes per game. Amir is a worthy defender who can help protect the lane if Fultz struggles to keep guards in front of him. Overall I’d say it was a solid move, nothing too flashy but should yield a productive outcome.
2. Do you think the Sixers should have gone after a guy like Kentavious Caldwell-Pope instead of Redick or Johnson?
Calpin: Yes. To my point above I think that KPC would be a better fit. Obviously, he would be more money but I think he would have been worth it. He is arguably a better shooter than JJ and is much more physical of a player who can also get to the rim.
Allan: No I don’t think so, because of the money that he was asking for. The Sixers signing a guy like Redick for $23 million and then looking at a guy like KCP for $18 million would not make much sense. I like signing a starter in Redick and then signing a guy who is happy to come off the bench in Johnson.
Anderson: No, the signing of JJ Redick was a great fit for the Sixers. They were able to get a veteran sharpshooter for less money, rather than spending more money on a younger shooter. KCP would have fit the process as well, but I like the way the Sixers went with signing Redick and Johnson.
Cowan: Caldwell-Pope was an intriguing player when you consider his ability to defend guards and knock down threes. I don’t think it would’ve been wise to sign him to a multi-year deal though because of the money it would’ve commanded. The Sixers will have to take care of their own rising prospects first and foremost. With that said, I would’ve rather had KCP at the contract he got from LA (1 year, $18 mil) than Reddick (1 year, $23 mil) because of his age and upside. At 24 years old, KCP could be an ideal player to grow with the Sixers young core.
3. What are your biggest takeaways from seeing Markelle Fultz play in Summer League? Any specific strengths or weaknesses?
Calpin: I really like how aggressive he has been. I think everyone is very excited about what he will bring to Philadelphia, but not a lot of us have seen him play too much. How many times was Washington on national TV? How many genuine Washington fans are genuine Sixers fans? Both answers are not too many. So I think just seeing him play, seeing him be aggressive, and the array of ways he has in his repertoire to be able to score is enough cause for excitement.
Allan: I would say his aggressiveness on the floor and being the floor general. I am excited to see what he will do as a guy playing off the ball because, on the ball, he looks great. I think that his ability to get to the rim as well as still knocking down step-back threes is just crazy for a guy of his age. As Ryan pointed out above, we just have not seen much of him as Sixers fans so just seeing him in a Sixers uniform and scoring at will was bringing smiles to all of our faces. What did not bring smiles though is that ankle sprain. I am perfectly fine waiting until the fall to see him play again.
Anderson: Fultz is a great competitor and looked like a physical player out there. I think his three-point stroke is one of his strengths, along with his strong drive to the basket. He showed that he was capable of knocking down the open shot after creating space from the on-ball screen. All Sixers fan should be excited for what Fultz is bringing to this city.
Cowan: After watching Fultz in his first two games, the excitement levels are through the roof. He’s going to be a stud and we saw flashes of that in his limited action. It’s unfortunate the injury bug has gotten to Philly again, but this one seems less series than ones of the past. Fultz’s strengths include weaving his way to the basket, step-back jump shots, and nice overall court-vision. Weaknesses are staying motivated on Defense. He will have to show more on that end of the floor come regular season time if he wants to justify his #1 overall selection.
4. Outside of Fultz and TLC, who do you think will make/stay on the team from the Summer League rosters?
Calpin: I have been very impressed with Jonah Bolden, especially on the defensive side of the ball. Averaging 10 points and 2.3 (!!) blocks per game in 3 games thus far. I think he needs to improve his shooting percentage, but he has had some big time blocks that injected excitement right into the team.
Allan: I think Jonah Bolden has to be the pick. It is going to be interesting what they do with him because he may have to go back and forth between the G-League and the NBA. I think that if they are able to bring him up and test out his minutes in certain games, they can see what he can be as a backup who stretches the floor. Depending on how his trend continues, he could be a 2nd round steal for the Sixers as that spark off the bench in the future.
Anderson: Jonah Bolden really stood out to me. He showed a lot of hustle and heart out there on the court while averaging over 2 blocks per game. I can see him getting some minutes in the NBA because of his effort, but his offense needs some work. If he improves the offensive side of his game, like Kyle said, he could be a steal for the Sixers.
Cowan: Jonah Bolden has impressed me thus far as he’s able to extend the court with some range as well as hustling every play. It’ll be interesting to see if he’s able to make the roster given his situation overseas, but I think he would be an excellent addition this season. Other than that I don’t think any other players will get much consideration because of the limited roster spots available. Furkan Korkmaz looks overmatched to me. I think he can be valuable down the road but not this season. Brandon Austin and Larry Drew have both looked good and might warrant a spot on the 87ers to begin the season.