Give and Go: Which Sixers newcomer will have the biggest impact?

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Give and Go: Which Sixers newcomer will have the biggest impact?

Each day leading up to Sept. 21, the official start of Sixers training camp, we'll dissect the biggest storylines facing the team ahead of the 2018-19 season.

In today’s Give and Go, Matt Haughton and Noah Levick dissect which newcomer to the team will have the biggest impact.

Everything in me says this will easily be Wilson Chandler. He’s been in the league for a decade and has been a proven contributor at every stop throughout his career.

However, the enormous opportunity awaiting Mike Muscala could set him up to be the most important new face on the Sixers’ roster.

Ersan Ilyasova was a key piece of the team last season once he came aboard following a buyout, but the veteran and his 24.1 minutes per night bolted back to Milwaukee at the start of free agency. Also, while the traded Richaun Holmes was used sparingly, he still managed to see action in 48 games with an average of 15.5 minutes in those contests.

That leaves a boatload of playing time on the table for Muscala behind Joel Embiid and Dario Saric in the Sixers’ frontcourt. His only competition is 31-year-old Amir Johnson, who saw 15.8 minutes per game a season ago, and rookie Jonah Bolden.

Muscala’s ability to bang in the paint and still stretch the floor (his career 37.8 three-point percentage is actually slightly higher than Ilyasova’s 36.6) should make him a favorite off the bench for Brett Brown.

Unless Brown makes a bold, surprising shakeup and decides to insert a transformed Markelle Fultz into the starting lineup, the Sixers’ starters should be the same as last season. That means the newcomers will need to make their impact off the bench.

Chandler should have the most important role to play of the new additions. Yes, Muscala’s floor-stretching abilities should help the Sixers replace the perimeter shooting they lost in Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli. And yes, Zhaire Smith, Landry Shamet and Bolden could all contribute at some stage. But I expect Chandler to have more responsibility than any of those players.

Chandler, who hasn’t played fewer than 25.1 minutes per game since his rookie year, will probably begin the season as the sixth or seventh man. Expect Brown to use him both as a traditional three and as a power forward in smaller lineups. While he doesn’t have any standout skill, Chandler should be a solid all-around anchor for the second unit. And though his defensive numbers aren’t the best (111 career defensive rating), his defense on the wing should be an upgrade over Belinelli’s.

There are a few signs that suggest Chandler will be a decent fit in Philadelphia, one being how well he played alongside a skilled, playmaking big man last season in Denver. Fifty-eight of his 281 field goals were assisted by Nikola Jokic, and the two had a 3.4 net rating when they shared the floor. Those numbers hint at Chandler and Joel Embiid possibly being an effective pairing.

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Sixers vs. Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The Sixers (8-5) return to the Wells Fargo Center Wednesday to take on the Knicks (4-10) after a disappointing road trip.

Here are the essentials for tonight’s game:

When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
Where: Wells Fargo Center
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

Home cooking

Yes, the Sixers starting 8-5 is disappointing, and with the amount of talent they have, they should be better.

But they’ve had a brutal schedule to start the season. Not necessarily in the teams they’ve played, but with the amount they’ve had to travel. If it feels like you’ve barely seen the Sixers at the Wells Fargo Center, it’s because that’s the case. Just four of their first 13 games have been at home.

Wednesday’s game is the start of 14 of their next 20 at home. Thought it’s been only four games, the Sixers currently have the best defensive rating in the NBA at home. They still have other things to figure out, but this stretch should help. 

At full strength

If the starting five is able to finish the game Wednesday, it will mark just the fifth time they’ve played together for an entire contest this season. It’s a small sample size, but the Sixers’ starting unit has the fifth-best net rating in the NBA among five-man lineups that have played at least 70 minutes together. 

The players are far from a perfect fit together. The biggest issue seems to be Al Horford’s fit. He’s playing next to a center in Joel Embiid that the offense runs around. He’s also playing with the most untraditional point guard in NBA history in Ben Simmons. With his experience and willingness to fit any role, Horford still has plenty of time to figure it out.

Perhaps the most encouraging thing over the past two games has been the performance of the team’s other two starters — Tobias Harris and Josh Richardson. They’ve both shot the ball significantly better and more importantly are both looking more comfortable finding their spots on the floor. The pick-and-roll or two-man game with Embiid seems to have helped both players — when Embiid has rolled to the basket hard.

Bold strategy

It was an odd strategy when the Knicks decided to sign ALL the power forwards this offseason. Fourteen games in, the strategy isn’t any less head-scratching. Philly native Marcus Morris has played well, but New York is 4-10 and looking like they’ll be watching ping pong ball this summer.

They do have young pieces that are intriguing. Though Knicks fans clamored for Zion Williamson, his Duke teammate, R.J. Barrett, has been excellent in his rookie campaign. The No. 3 overall pick is third on the team in scoring (15.8 points per game) and is shooting a surprising 37 percent from three.

But it seems head coach David Fizdale is more interested in playing the team’s vets than giving time to high flyer Mitchell Robinson and second-year players Kevin Knox and Allonzo Trier. To each their own.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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Sixers release hype video officially revealing 2019-20 City Edition uniforms


Sixers release hype video officially revealing 2019-20 City Edition uniforms

While a sneak peek last night from Sixers president Chris Heck teased the City Edition uniforms, they were officially revealed Wednesday morning with this epic hype video.

It seemed next to impossible to top last year’s design, as the theme was centered around local icon Rocky Balboa. Yes, Rocky is real and an icon but don’t get me started on that right now.

One season later and the Sixers went the historic route again. This time drawing inspiration from the iconic rich history of Philadelphia's culture. You can certainly appreciate the classic design, though they do seem fairly similar to the City Edition uniforms from the 2017-18 season.

Image credit: Twitter, NBA, NBC Sports Philadelphia 

Once it was hinted that the uniform had a copper stripe as an ode to the Liberty Bell, I was thinking of a National Treasure-esque hype video … but this one is equally (who am I kidding, this is definitely way better) than what I could’ve imagined. The artist, Alix Philogene, narrated the video to describe the every day people of Philadelphia and the grind this city has in a tribute called "What is Philly. 

Check it out:


Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

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