Atlantic Notes: Hield, Randle, Robinson, Anunoby, Schröder

After starting his first 13 games with the Sixers, Buddy Hield has come off the bench in back-to-back contests in New York on Sunday and Tuesday. As Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required) writes, Hield told reporters after Sunday’s game that he has no complaints about the adjustment to his role.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be permanent or not, but sometimes change is good,” Hield said. “… All these guys have started or come off the bench, so it’s not like a big problem. … We’re NBA players, and we figure out how to adjust.”

As Hield alluded to, 76ers head coach Nick Nurse has been experimenting with different starting lineups for much of the season. Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris are the only three players on the roster who have started every game they’ve appeared in this season, and Embiid is currently on the shelf with a knee injury. In total, 18 different Philadelphia players – including 13 who are currently on the roster – have started at least one game in 2023/24.

Hield has averaged over 25 minutes per contest in his first two games off the bench, playing well in a 16-point outing on Sunday and struggling a little with his shot in a 4-of-11 performance on Tuesday. He expressed confidence on Sunday that he’ll continue to be productive even if he’s part of the second unit.

“It’s not about starting all the time,” Hield said. “As long as I go out there and get quality minutes to help this team win, that’s all that matters. I’m going to play my role.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau provided minor injury updates on Julius Randle (shoulder) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle) on Tuesday, telling reporters – including Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter links) – that Randle is working in “controlled” contact situations, while Robinson is running, jumping, and making “really good, steady progress.” Thibodeau didn’t offer a timeline for Randle to move on to 5-on-5 work.
  • While the Knicks continue to wait on Randle and Robinson, forward OG Anunoby (elbow) played on Tuesday for the first time since January 27 and provided a reminder of his importance to the team, says Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. The Knicks outscored Philadelphia by 28 points in Anunoby’s 29 minutes and his teammates benefited on both ends of the court from his presence on the floor, Bondy notes.
  • Since joining the Nets at last month’s trade deadline, Dennis Schröder has averaged 14.6 points and 5.9 assists in 14 games and has improved the club’s ball movement, per Jared Schwartz of The New York Post. Count center Nic Claxton among those who have been impressed by Schröder’s impact. “He really just, he treats the game right,” Claxton said on Tuesday. “He’s a true competitor, and he holds everybody accountable. He’s a winner. He has really good work habits, he works on his body a lot. … It’s tough being thrown in at the middle of the season, but it’s all starting to come together.”
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