Ryan Broekhoff

What to make of Sixers' official roster for NBA restart

What to make of Sixers' official roster for NBA restart

The Sixers are set to play against another team for the first time since March 11 on Friday afternoon, when they're scheduled to scrimmage the Memphis Grizzlies. As that return to competition draws closer, we now know their official roster for the league's planned restart. 

Ryan Broekhoff is a notable exclusion. The 29-year-old wing will not be joining the Sixers in Orlando, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. The team signed him to a substitute contract last month.

Broekhoff's wife tested positive for COVID-19 and he has a one-year-old son; his focus is understandably on his family. PhillyVoice's Kyle Neubeck first reported that Broekhoff would not be traveling to Disney World at any stage.

Below is the team's full roster. Rosters for all 22 teams at Disney World can be found here

Alec Burks
Joel Embiid
Tobias Harris
Al Horford
Furkan Korkmaz
Shake Milton
Raul Neto
Kyle O’Quinn
Norvel Pelle
Josh Richardson 
Glenn Robinson III 
Mike Scott 
Marial Shayok 
Ben Simmons 
Matisse Thybulle 

In addition to the new starting five the team has been using in practice, Korkmaz, Thybulle and Horford have been part of a lineup that Brett Brown intends to include in his rotation

Brown has said he expects to have a 10-man rotation during the Sixers' seeding games that will shrink to nine for the postseason. If Korkmaz, Thybulle and Horford are indeed locks, that would leave one playoff rotation spot left. Trade deadline acquisitions Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III are presumed contenders, along with Mike Scott.

Since Brown plans to limit the minutes his "heavyweights" play in scrimmages, he anticipates opportunities for bench players to strengthen their cases.

"I know that in the scrimmage games, the preseason games, there will be more than enough time to look at different rotations," he said Monday on a video conference call, "especially given the lack of extended minutes that our starters will receive. And I think by the time the dust settles after the three (scrimmage) games and the regular season begins, I think there’s enough of a runway to come pretty close, I hope, to settling on something. We all get it’s still moving parts and performance-driven, but that’s how I hope it plays out.”

It's also worth mentioning that Brown has said his personnel decisions will be dictated by matchups. That might mean Thybulle gets an extended run when the Sixers require defense, Korkmaz steps in when the team is seeking outside shooting and Burks plays when pick-and-roll playmaking and shot creation is required. We're still relatively far away from any final determinations.

Neto, Pelle, O'Quinn and Shayok would seem to be on the outside of the rotation, though it's possible any of those players could become important under these unusual circumstances. 

While there remain hurdles to clear before the Sixers start competing in games that count again, the NBA and NBPA announced Monday that none of the 346 players tested for COVID-19 since July 13 returned positive results, which is clearly good news. Two players that never cleared quarantine tested positive in the first round of results announced since the league shifted to Disney World. 

The Sixers' first of eight seeding games is on Aug. 1 against the Indiana Pacers (see schedule). We predicted each game here

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Ryan Broekhoff did not travel with Sixers to Orlando because his wife tested positive for COVID-19

Ryan Broekhoff did not travel with Sixers to Orlando because his wife tested positive for COVID-19

Updated: Sunday, 1:27 p.m. 

The Sixers' newest addition, Ryan Broekhoff, did not travel with the team to Orlando on Thursday afternoon.

Broekhoff tweeted Sunday that he stayed home so that he could focus on his family after his wife tested positive for COVID-19.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision, by any means, to come back,” he said on July 1. “I have a wife and a one-year-old son, and my wife has an autoimmune disease, so she’s at higher risk for COVID. It’s taken a lot for us to be able to get to this point where we signed.

"We spoke to Elton Brand and we spoke to Coach, just wanted to get some more information about how the bubble is going to be down in Orlando. If anything happens, what are my options to get back and take care of my family? That was important to me.”

The Sixers signed Broekhoff to a substitute contract at the end of June, which they were able to do because they had a vacant two-way contract spot. A 40.3 percent career three-point shooter, the Sixers brought Broekhoff in as another potential option to space the floor.

Following the signing, head coach Brett Brown said he was "shocked’" Broekhoff decided to sign with the Sixers, as he was open about the limited opportunity.

“To mislead him about, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of opportunity here,’ that’s not true,” Brown said following the signing. “I told him that. You’ve got, what, six people? We all could look at each other and say, ‘What about Matisse (Thybulle)? And Glenn Robinson, and Furkan (Korkmaz) and Alec Burks?’ You could go on and on and on. ... This isn’t an opportunity where it’s clear there’s a runway and a pathway at all, and that was the flavor of my talk.”

The 29-year-old said he did have an identical offer on the table from another NBA team, as well as additional interest from others, but that his goal is to find a “steady” spot in the NBA.

"I see this as a way to sit up close and personal and get some extra time to learn (Brown’s) philosophies and how things may work, not just with the Sixers but also with the national team," he said.

Brown is also the current head coach of the Australian national team, a position he also held from 2009-2012.

The Sixers' first practice as a team in Orlando is scheduled for Saturday afternoon. The team's first seeding game is set for Aug. 1 against the Pacers. Before that, they have three scrimmages scheduled for July 24, July 26 and July 28.

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Brett Brown is 'shocked' his pitch worked on Ryan Broekhoff, who had a lot to consider

Brett Brown is 'shocked' his pitch worked on Ryan Broekhoff, who had a lot to consider

Brett Brown didn’t think Ryan Broekhoff would buy his recruiting pitch. 

“I was shocked that he agreed to come,” Brown said Wednesday on a video call with reporters. 

Yet the 29-year-old Broekhoff decided to join the Sixers for the remainder of the NBA season, signing the substitute contract the team had available because of its vacant two-way contract spot. He’d been a free agent since February, when he was waived by the Mavericks so Dallas could make room for Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

Broekhoff, who played 59 games over two seasons with the Mavs and converted 40.3 percent of his three-point attempts, has a connection with Brown through the Australian national team. Brown recalled Wednesday that he’s known Broekhoff since he was around 17 years old, while Broekhoff couldn’t recall the exact date of their first meeting. 

He's known Ben Simmons, a fellow native of Melbourne, Australia, since Simmons was about 16. 

“He’s had a lot of influence down in Australia,” Broekhoff said of Brown, who’s the current head coach of the Boomers and also held that position from 2009-2012. “I do remember he cut me from the 2012 Olympic squad, so that’s one thing that I can joke about now. Over the last couple years and especially now, with him being announced as the national team head coach again, we’ve had more conversations.

"I see this as a way to sit up close and personal and get some extra time to learn his philosophies and how things may work, not just with the Sixers but also with the national team.”

The odds of Broekhoff emerging as a vital piece for the Sixers don’t appear high, which Brown said he emphasized in an honest conversation. 

To mislead him about, ‘Hey, there’s a lot of opportunity here,’ that’s not true,” Brown said. “I told him that. You’ve got, what, six people? We all could look at each other and say, ‘What about Matisse (Thybulle)? And Glenn Robinson, and Furkan (Korkmaz) and Alec Burks?’ You could go on and on and on. 

“This isn’t an opportunity where it’s clear there’s a runway and a pathway at all. And that was the flavor of my talk. I downplayed it more than anything. He’s out of contract, I don’t want to mislead him. And I believed when I hung up the phone, he was either going to go to Europe or maybe somebody else could recruit him a little bit better than I did.

The large handful of wings on the Sixers didn’t deter Broekhoff. He said he had an identical offer from one additional NBA team, along with interest from several others. His goal is to find a “steady” spot in the NBA, though, and he thought the fit with the Sixers made sense. 

“They’ve been able to utilize shooters and guys that play off the ball to complement their stars,” he said. “I wouldn’t say I’m in JJ Redick’s category, because he’s been an unbelievable player and unbelievable shooter for so long, but it’s just being able to prototype myself around that style of play. He had great success here and hopefully I can find the opportunity to be able to deliver similar sort of performances.”

It's a somewhat generous assessment to classify the Sixers' system as conducive to outside shooting, given that the team this season is 14th in three-point percentage and 22nd in three-point attempts. In contrast, Dallas is eighth and second in those categories, respectively.  

Basketball wasn’t the only factor Broekhoff had to weigh.

“It hasn’t been an easy decision, by any means, to come back,” he said. “I have a wife and a one-year-old son, and my wife has an autoimmune disease, so she’s at higher risk for COVID. It’s taken a lot for us to be able to get to this point where we signed.

"We spoke to Elton Brand and we spoke to Coach, just wanted to get some more information about how the bubble is going to be down in Orlando. If anything happens, what are my options to get back and take care of my family? That was important to me.”

For the time being, Broekhoff wants to be sharp for the Sixers’ training camp in Orlando, which Brown described as “huge” in determining competitions for minutes and roles. Mandatory workouts at the Sixers' facility in Camden, New Jersey, started Wednesday, while the team is set to arrive in Disney World on July 9 and resume play on Aug. 1 against the Pacers (see schedule).

By knocking down some jumpers and playing with the "Australian toughness" Brown praised, Broekhoff could remind his head coach why he made that hopeful recruiting pitch.

“Anything can happen during camp and I’m going to try to put my best foot forward,” Broekhoff said, “and not just rely on shooting, but just show everything — try to defend and rebound and be an energy sort of leader, a veteran kind of guy.

"Even though I’ve been in the league only a short amount of time, I feel like I have a lot of experience, both internationally and overseas in Europe. Just being able to help the team in any way is my goal at the moment.” 

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