76ers

Who will be Sixers' backup point guard in 2019-20 season?

Who will be Sixers' backup point guard in 2019-20 season?

With training camp getting closer, there are plenty of topics to discuss involving the 2019-20 Sixers. Running the Give and Go are NBC Sports Philadelphia's Paul Hudrick and Noah Levick.

In this edition, we ask: Who will be the Sixers' backup point guard this season?

Hudrick 

This a tough call and should be a legitimate competition.

I like Trey Burke’s game and his ability to get his own shot. It’s a strong NBA skill and not one many of the other Sixers have. He also doesn’t turn the ball over — he’s averaged less than a turnover a game in 17.3 minutes a game the last three seasons combined. He also shot 37.4 percent from three during that span, meaning he could also play next to Ben Simmons. If it were me, Burke would get the first crack at the role.

But Raul Neto seems like the more likely candidate to get backup point guard duties. Neto is a pure floor general who will bring a calming influence that should delight Brett Brown. He started playing professionally overseas when he was 16 and has 20 games of playoff experience under his belt. Neto’s only issue the past couple seasons has been durability, but when healthy, he’s a decent offensive playmaker and shooter (37.7 percent for his career from three).

It should be nice for Brown to have options for once. I still like Shake Milton’s game and would like to see him get a little time as the backup point this season — despite a tough summer league experience. I could also see Josh Richardson getting a few minutes as the team’s primary ball handler. He had the most ball-dominant season of his NBA career last season and averaged 4.1 assists.

Whichever player gets the role will also be aided by Al Horford, an outstanding passer for a big man (4.6 assists per game the last three seasons) who can run some point forward.

Levick 

This is an interesting sequel to the Jazz’s starting point guard competition in 2015-16, when Neto won the job over Burke. I expect that to happen again, but for Burke to still be in the mix and even preferred over Neto in some matchups. Here’s my thinking:

Neto was signed before Burke and his contract is fully guaranteed, whereas Burke’s deal is partially guaranteed, according to reports. Those details don’t indicate the spot is automatically Neto’s, but they do suggest the competition might be slightly tipped in his favor to start.

Burke is a positive in several areas offensively. He’s excellent in the pick-and-roll, has a good assist-to-turnover ratio (3.6 assists to 1.3 turnover for his career) and can create offense out of nothing. Defensively, he’s poor, to the extent that you’d be worried whether he can be picked on in a playoff setting. The 6-foot-1 guard has a defensive box plus-minus of minus-3 or lower each of the last three seasons.

Neto isn’t great defensively, but you figure Brown would be inclined to trust him over Burke. He doesn’t have Burke’s “I’ll get you a bucket” sort of game, but the Brazilian can also put pressure on a defense. In just 12.8 minutes per game last year, he averaged 7.1 drives, shooting 51.9 percent on those possessions.

It’s a luxury to have someone like Burke who can explode for 42 points in a game or go on a solo scoring run, and he could become a necessity if Neto deals with injuries, as he has the last three seasons. Even in the event both are healthy, if the Sixers are struggling to score from the perimeter and/or facing a small point guard who’s a weak defender, Burke might be the guy.

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.

More on the Sixers

Watch NBC Sports BetCast for live betting analysis during Sixers vs. Pelicans

Watch NBC Sports BetCast for live betting analysis during Sixers vs. Pelicans

Marc Farzetta, Tyrone Johnson and betting expert Brad Feinberg will host NBC Sports BetCast Friday night on NBC Sports Philadelphia+ during the Sixers' game vs. the Pelicans. 

It will be the third of 10 BetCast broadcasts this season on NBCSP+, with Marc Zumoff, Alaa Abdelnaby and Serena Winters calling the game simultaneously on NBCSP.

The BetCast broadcast will focus on real-time sports betting data and provide live analysis on the odds.

Will the total score be over or under 223 points? How many points will JJ Redick score in his return to Philadelphia? After making two three-pointers Thursday night in Boston, how many will Joel Embiid hit tonight?

Farzetta, Feinberg and Johnson will break it all down as the game unfolds Friday night.

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.

More on the Sixers

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

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

After the Sixers' win over the Celtics on Thursday night at TD Garden, they're one of two remaining undefeated teams in the NBA, along with the Heat. Miami hosts the 22-3 Lakers on Friday night.

The 19-7 Sixers can move to 14-0 at Wells Fargo Center tonight with a win over the 6-19 Pelicans.

Here are tonight’s essentials:

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

And here are three storylines to watch: 

No Horford again 

Al Horford will miss his second consecutive game with left knee soreness and left hamstring tightness.

The regular starting lineup was briefly intact for Tuesday's win over the Nuggets in Richardson's first game back after a six-game absence because of a hamstring injury, but that didn't last long.

Mike Scott took Horford’s place Thursday and played well in his second start of the season, scoring 15 points and making 5 of 7 three-pointers.

“I just do my job,” Scott told reporters. “Catch and shoot, move the ball, play hard on defense. Same role when I come off the bench, so it's pretty easy.”

Joel Embiid, after a 38-point, 13-rebound night against the Celtics, is not listed on the NBA’s official injury report, so it looks like he’ll play in the second game of this back-to-back.

Redick is back in the building 

JJ Redick is set to play his first game against the Sixers since signing a two-year, $26.5 million with the Pelicans this summer.

Though the Sixers’ offense has missed Redick’s outside shooting, savvy screening and two-man game with Embiid, the team's three-point numbers have not taken an extreme dip. 

The Sixers are shooting 37.1 percent from three-point range, sixth in the NBA.

Redick had interesting insights on the Sixers’ post-heavy offense, Joel Embiid’s maturity and more after the Pelicans’ shootaround (see story).

The Zion-less Pelicans are struggling 

No. 1 pick Zion Williamson is with the Pelicans, but he’s sidelined as he recovers from surgery on his right knee.

Pelicans head coach Alvin Gentry said Friday that Williamson is on schedule and the team doesn’t want to rush his return.

New Orleans comes into Philadelphia on a 10-game losing streak and has the third-worst defensive rating in the NBA. Former Sixers Redick, Jrue Holiday and Jahlil Okafor feature for the Pelicans, while Brandon Ingram is having a career year.

The 22-year-old Ingram, who was traded from the Lakers to New Orleans this summer along with Villanova product Josh Hart and Lonzo Ball, is averaging 24.9 points per game and shooting 40.8 percent from three-point range. 

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.

More on the Sixers