76ers

Which Sixer has the most to gain in 2019-20 season?

Which Sixer has the most to gain 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: Which Sixer has the most to gain this season?

Hudrick

There are a few strong candidates — including the guy Noah has below — but to me, Josh Richardson has the most to gain.

Richardson is an ascending player that just turned 26 on Sunday. He was a key cog in Erik Spoelstra’s rotation because of his defensive abilities. He’s long and versatile, a perfect combination for the Sixers’ starting unit. His defense should shine alongside the Sixers’ elite defensive pieces. He’ll be tasked with guarding ones, but it’s a challenge he should be able to handle and excel with.

During last season in Miami, Richardson took on a much bigger offensive role. While at times he shined, it was clear that he’s not meant to be a team’s No. 1 option. He won’t have to be that for the Sixers. The space he should get with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons should help immensely. Richardson also did well in dribble handoffs, something that was a staple of the Sixers’ offense with Embiid and JJ Redick. Brett Brown can explore the Richardson-Embiid two-man game with Redick’s departure to New Orleans.

One of Richardson’s most attractive qualities is his contract. The Heat have some pretty horrendous deals against their cap, but Richardson’s signing was likely their shrewdest. He’ll make $10.1 million this season and $10.8 million in 2020-21, per Spotrac. That’s a relative steal for a wing player of his capabilities. He has a player option for 2021-22 and that's where he has the most to gain. If Richardson performs well and helps the Sixers make a deep playoff run, his value should be extremely high as a 29-year-old free agent.

Levick 

As far as contracts are concerned, there aren’t many obvious candidates for players with the most to gain. Backup point guards Raul Neto and Trey Burke, big man Kyle O’Quinn and young players Furkan Korkmaz and Jonah Bolden might qualify on the basis of not having any guarantees beyond this season, but I’m not going with any of those players.

I think Tobias Harris has the most to gain for the Sixers this season, even if he did sign a five-year, $180 million contract this summer. This isn’t about the money, though. 

With Jimmy Butler gone, Harris will now likely be looked to as the Sixers’ primary perimeter scoring option. He won’t need to carry the entire offensive load — Ben Simmons is dangerous in transition and improving in the post, Joel Embiid is dominant down low, Al Horford can do a little bit of everything and Josh Richardson averaged 16.6 points per game last year. But Harris now has the go-ahead to be the best version of himself offensively.

“I just wanted to adapt,” he said on July 12 about his role after joining the Sixers last season. “Not to be complaining about comfort or whatnot. I just wanted to be that guy who puts everything to the side and it’s about winning. Was that hard for me? Not hard for me with who I am, but for my own game, it was hard.”

Before joining the Sixers, Harris was among the top 20 percent of the league as a pick-and-roll ball handler in points per possession for four straight seasons, per NBA.com/Stats. I expect the Sixers to try to cater toward Harris’ strengths more this year. I also think it’s logical to predict Harris will shoot closer to his 42.6 percent mark from three-point range over 87 games with the Clippers than the 32.6 percent he shot from long range with the Sixers.

There’s no money to be gained for Harris, but a first All-Star appearance would be meaningful. It’s a very realistic possibility. 

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Sixers vs. Detroit Pistons preseason: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers vs. Detroit Pistons preseason: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The Sixers are back home and back on NBC Sports Philadelphia tonight.

Below are the essentials for their preseason game against the Detroit Pistons. The Sixers are 3-0 in the preseason and Detroit is 2-1.

• When: 7 p.m. ET 
• Where: Wells Fargo Center 
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

Key Sixers out 

Last season, the Sixers were without Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler, two key bench players at the time, for opening night against the Celtics. They're determined to be fully healthy this year.

Ben Simmons (back tightness), James Ennis (right calf strain) and Al Horford (rest) are all out for tonight's game. The sensible, obvious goal for the Sixers is to have everyone fresh and ready to go next Wednesday vs. Boston.

The offense is humming 

General manager Elton Brand forecasted in July that the Sixers would be one of the best defensive teams in the NBA, but he thought it was "going to take some time" to figure things out on offense.

Through three preseason games, though, the offense has been excellent. The Sixers are first in the NBA in offensive rating (119.7), offensive rebounding percentage (35.4 percent) and assist to turnover ratio (1.69), and tied for first in assists per game (30.3). The caveats of having played their preseason opener against an inferior Chinese Basketball Association team and the sample size being minuscule are important, but the offense has performed very well so far. 

Embiid vs. Drummond, preseason edition 

Yes, it's just the preseason, but there's often drama when Joel Embiid and Pistons center Andre Drummond match up. 

Just last season, the following happened: Drummond was ejected for an elbow to Embiid's face during the Pistons' overtime win vs. the Sixers on Oct. 23, and Embiid appeared to exaggerate the contact. Embiid told reporters after the game that he "owns a lot of real estate in [Drummond's] head," which led to the feud spiraling to social media. In their next meeting, on Nov. 3 at Wells Fargo Center, Embiid posted 39 points and 17 rebounds in a victory, then said of Drummond and then-Pistons backup center Zaza Pachulia, "I kicked both of their a--." 

The trash talk between the two dates further back than last season, too. When Embiid and Drummond share the floor, it's usually worth watching, and then listening to what the two have to say afterwards.

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Special Sixers Budweiser beer cans are coming this season

Special Sixers Budweiser beer cans are coming this season

If you ever wanted to drink a beer and show your Sixers fandom at the same time, there's now an easy way to do it — outside of sipping a beer and wearing a Ben Simmons jersey, screaming at the TV during a heated Sixers-Celtics game or insisting to your uncle's friend's friend that Joel Embiid is a much better player than Anthony Davis. 

The Sixers have partnered with Budweiser this season to release co-branded cans in the Philadelphia/South Jersey region. As you can see in the images below, courtesy of the Sixers, the cans are a classic red and blue, with a Sixers' logo in the middle of a basketball court outline, and "The City of Brotherly Love" in script near the top.

According to the Sixers, they're the ninth NBA team to be featured on a Budweiser can. A special 24-ounce edition will be released later in the season that will be offered in-game, plus anywhere 12-ounce Budweisers are sold in the area.

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