When JJ Redick started the second half Monday in the Sixers’ preseason finale, a 115-112 loss to the Dallas Mavericks in Shenzhen (see observations), it appeared Redick was in simply because Markelle Fultz had four fouls.

It turns out that wasn’t the case. 

“It didn't have anything to do with Markelle being in foul trouble," Brett Brown said, via ESPN.com. "Part of my responsibility is to be able to put these guys in environments with different combinations and try to figure that out as quickly as I'm able. 

“I believe that Markelle is at his best with the ball, and so when you watch how I substitute and determine patterns, when you bring him off the bench in the second half you're able to get him like four or five more minutes as a point guard. I believe it's something that we'll continue to look at. Again, it was done for that reason."

Brown did, however, confirm that he intends to stick with Fultz in the starting lineup for the regular season — it sounds like it's just a question of whether Fultz will start the second half of games.

One way the Sixers have tried to use Fultz mainly as a point guard is by employing Ben Simmons more at the four. Simmons operated a lot out of the post in the Sixers’ two games in China.

 

A related challenge for Brown is finding playing time for T.J. McConnell, who he also prefers at the point (see story).

The main concern from the beginning with having Fultz start alongside Simmons was whether that lineup would have enough shooting.

Though Fultz is clearly a much more competent, confident shooter than the rookie with the scapular imbalance and broken shot, it still doesn’t appear like he’s the kind of floor spacer Brown would feel comfortable playing off the ball.

Fultz shot 43.2 percent from the floor in the preseason, including 1 for 5 from three-point range. 

He averaged 9.5 points, 3.25 rebounds, 2.5 assists and 2.5 turnovers per game in the preseason. 

Having Redick start the second half of games would be a departure from Brown’s original plan to use him similarly to the way the Spurs played Manu Ginobili in San Antonio — for the final seven minutes of each period. Redick was a fan of the planned change to longer stints on the floor, and actually had a hand in tweaking the Sixers' substitution patterns (see story).

The Sixers’ starting five last season, with Redick in the lineup, had a 21.4 net rating in 601 minutes together, the best in the NBA. 

More on the Sixers