What a strange week for the Sixers.
And considering all the weird things this team has seen over the last few years, that’s really saying something.
The week kicked off with a nice home win over Memphis, which was followed by news that Markelle Fultz was diagnosed with thoracic outlet syndrome. The team basically took it in stride ahead of a huge game against the Raptors.
There was another turnover-ridden loss in Toronto in which Joel Embiid struggled for the third straight game. Then Embiid was given a “rest” day in Friday’s night’s win over the Pistons. That sparked Embiid to then question his fit in the team’s offense.
Just another week, really. Here’s this week’s stock watch.
Duh, right? After a somewhat quiet night in the win over the Grizzlies, Butler went for consecutive 38-point performances against the Raptors and Pistons. Since the trade, there have been questions about when Butler would truly assert himself. His timing was perfect.
In Toronto, he felt the game slipping away and took over for a stretch in the third quarter. Without Embiid in Detroit, Butler knew somebody would have to pick up the scoring slack. It was the first time a Sixer had back-to-back 38-point efforts since Allen Iverson. Not too shabby.
Muscala had by far his best game of the season in the win in Detroit. Without Embiid, Muscala was asked to play big minutes and a play bunch at the five. He delivered, scoring 18 points, blocking three shots and playing tough defense against Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond (and did so at the end of the game with five fouls).
He’s been very good over his last five games, averaging 10.8 points, 7.2 rebounds and shooting 42 percent from three in that span.
No need to harp on this. He had a rough week but has been spectacular this season. He’ll likely bounce back against Drummond and the Pistons Monday night.
McConnell brings energy, toughness and is absolutely relentless on the defensive end of the floor.
But when McConnell is asked to play big minutes like this past week (25.1 minutes per game) his lack of size, athleticism and inability to shoot can be exposed (especially when playing with Ben Simmons). He turned the ball over five times against Toronto and three more times vs. Detroit. McConnell is great in a small role, but not playing 25-plus minutes a night.
Shamet has already given the Sixers way more than anyone expected after being selected 26th overall. He’s second among rookies in threes made this season and is shooting 38 percent from distance. With that said, Shamet had a rough week, hitting just 1 of 9 from three (11 percent) and scoring a combined 13 points in three games.
The issue with Shamet is his lack of strength, which limits him defensively and also his ability to create his own shot and finish at the rim. Those concerns are magnified by the Sixers lacking options off the bench. Shamet is just 21 years old and looks like a late first-round steal. Like with McConnell, Brown may be relying on Shamet just a little too much.
Click here to download the new MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.