A summer breakdown of 2023-24 Sixers’ depth chart

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A summer breakdown of 2023-24 Sixers’ depth chart originally appeared on NBC Sports Philadelphia

As president of basketball operations Daryl Morey stressed last week in his radio interview with 97.5 The Fanatic’s Anthony Gargano, the Sixers’ roster now doesn’t matter nearly as much as the team they field in the playoffs.

Still, with the NBA offseason at a relatively quiet stage, let’s look at a rough depth chart and break down where the team stands in late July (and with one open roster spot).

Point guard 

James Harden, Patrick Beverley 

The Harden limbo continues to cloud just about everything, but last year’s NBA assists leader would clearly start in a world where he stayed a Sixer and ultimately returned to game action.

Beverley’s ability to defend taller guards and wings is a plus. He’s historically been a strong rebounder for his size, too. The 35-year-old has played plenty of minutes as a two-guard before and will likely be useful there at times for the Sixers.

A bounce-back outside shooting year would certainly be helpful; Beverley converted only 33.7 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes last season. He’s otherwise been exceptionally consistent, hitting between 38.0 and 41.8 percent of his catch-and-shoot triples in every season from 2013-14 to 2021-22.

Beverley said at his first Sixers press conference that, after extended stints with the Rockets and Clippers, “it took some time” to adapt as a shooter when he shifted teams, moving from Minnesota to the Lakers to the Bulls.

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“It’s like riding a bike,” he said. “I can shoot that thing, so I’m excited. I’m excited to display that here.”

Shooting guard 

Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, Jaden Springer, Terquavion Smith (two-way contract), Ricky Council IV (two-way contract) 

Though Maxey has had promising moments as a facilitator, he’s thrived most when the Sixers have asked him to play a straightforward, attacking style. New Sixers head coach Nick Nurse identified “being more of a creator” and “getting him more reps in the pick-and-roll so he can make the reads to all the other players on the floor” as keys for Maxey moving forward.

Melton should again be handy in many situations. He started 58 games in the 2022-23 season and only missed five despite being affected by a back issue the majority of the year. His 126 total steals ranked second in the NBA.

Springer has made substantial improvements with his shot over the past year. He didn’t begin the summer well from long range, but the 20-year-old posted a 29-point game in Las Vegas, shot 43 for 51 (84.3 percent) at the foul line across summer league play, and impressed with swift defensive recoveries and strong work on the ball. None of that means Springer is destined to overtake established players on the Sixers, but he’s trending up.

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Undrafted guards Smith (deep threes, serious scoring bursts) and Council (explosive drives, emphatic dunks) should add ample entertainment to the defending G League champion Delaware Blue Coats.

Small forward 

Tobias Harris, Danuel House Jr., Furkan Korkmaz

After Joel Embiid, Korkmaz and Harris are the next two longest-tenured Sixers on the roster. Both are among the franchise’s top 10 players all time for made threes and attempted threes.

Should Harris remain in Philadelphia through the final season of his five-year contract, three-point volume figures to be an especially important area with unabashed shooter Georges Niang now a Cavalier. Per Cleaning the Glass, 37 percent of Harris’ shot attempts were threes last year, which was his career high.

It wouldn’t be surprising to see House receive significant minutes at both forward spots. He logged considerable time as a four with the Rockets and tends to figure out where he fits quickly.

Power forward 

P.J. Tucker, Paul Reed 

The 38-year-old Tucker has long been dependable as a savvy, unselfish forward and capable small-ball center.

Behind him and Embiid, it’s hard to project much about the Sixers’ crowded frontcourt. Morey described Reed as a “core big” in the aforementioned 97.5 The Fanatic interview. Opportunities to play alongside Embiid — and perhaps put up jumpers somewhat freely, as he did in the G League — would be an avenue to expand his role.

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Of course, power forward being a comfortable, familiar position for Harris is also notable as Nurse thinks through potential lineup configurations.

Center 

Joel Embiid, Mo Bamba, Montrezl Harrell, Filip Petrušev, Ąžuolas Tubelis (two-way contract) 

The 7-foot Bamba also likes the sound of sharing the court with Embiid.

That’s obviously a far less viable idea with Harrell, who’s not a jump shooting threat and has well-known defensive limitations. The Sixers did often play decent zone defense in lineups with Harrell last season, which we imagine would be on Nurse’s mind in hypothetical shorthanded situations where the team needed Harrell.

Petrušev played mostly at power forward last season for KK Crvena zvezda in Serbia. In our view, Petrušev’s showings at summer league the last three years did not suggest he possesses sufficient agility to be a regular NBA four. His contract has a 50 percent guarantee for the 2023-24 season.

Tubelis only played 47 total minutes at summer league. Like with Petrušev, it’s difficult to envision Tubelis’ perimeter defense being adequate for an NBA power forward.  Following a very productive junior year at Arizona — 19.8 points and 9.1 rebounds per game — we’ll see how he adjusts to the professional game, presumably as a Blue Coat once the G League season begins.

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