Rod Baker

Sixers Notes: Floor/Ceiling, Reed, Milton, Personnel Changes

In a mailbag for The Philly Voice, Kyle Neubeck examines the potential floor and ceiling of the Sixers, assuming they take their current roster into the regular season.

As Neubeck outlines, a worst-case scenario would see a disgruntled Ben Simmons refusing to rejoin the team and president Daryl Morey sticking to his very high trade demands for the point guard, causing the Sixers to fall way behind during a difficult start to the season and not being able to recover, especially if Joel Embiid happens to miss any time due to injury.

What Neubeck refers to as the “pie in the sky” scenario is that – with last year’s playoff humiliation behind him – things click into place for Simmons, who comes back renewed and recommitted, and the Sixers continue their hunt for a championship. A more realistic ceiling, Neubeck writes, is that the team plays together for one more year, as Simmons returns to form, Tyrese Maxey takes a mini-leap and Embiid stays relatively healthy, all of which should combine to give the 76ers a decent chance against the other top teams in the East.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Neubeck also examines the question of what G League and Summer League standout Paul Reed needs to add to his game to become a consistent rotation player. The two keys are the outside shot and converting his impressive shot-blocking numbers into genuine back-line organizational ability. There’s a difference between blocking shots and being the backbone of a team’s defense, Neubeck writes, but Reed showed improved decision-making under the Summer League coaches, and should be able to progress in that department in time.
  • As for guard Shake Milton and his role with the team moving forward, Neubeck writes that being the only consistent offensive force off the bench probably over-burdened the 24-year-old guard, but Maxey’s emergence as a point guard could help simplify Milton’s role as more of a pure scorer. Given that Milton is on a cheap contract and has proven capable of swinging a crucial playoff game single-handedly, Neubeck writes that there’s no reason to think he isn’t a part of the team’s plans.
  • In a surprise move, the Sixers dismissed several scouting and development staff members, tweets Keith Pompey of the Philly Inquirer. Scouts Rod Baker and Jordan Cohn were let go, as was Delaware Blue Coats GM Matt Lilly, among others. Pompey writes in a separate tweet that around 17 staff members were let go in the cost-cutting move. Senior Director of Equipment Operations Scott Rego, who had been with the team for 34 years, was among the firings.

Atlantic Rumors: Lowry, Wallace, Stoudemire

Kyle Lowry is in the last year of his contract with the Raptors, meaning he’ll likely be the subject of a few trade rumors this season. And whether or not he’s dealt, he’s poised to hit unrestricted free agency for the first time in his career next summer. As he tells Lang Greene of HoopsWorld though, he’s not letting his contract status become a distraction.

“It’s one of those things where it’s like when you’re in college and they say that you could be a draft pick,” Lowry said. “If you start thinking about it too much, you’ll play bad. So right now, I’m in a mode where I can’t think about the future. I have to think about the present and what’s happening right now.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Celtics have tried to discuss Gerald Wallace in trades, but given the three years and $30MM+ remaining on his deal, the team’s options are limited, says Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald. In the meantime, Wallace continues to try to adjust to a new situation and establish a role in Boston.
  • Frank Isola of the New York Daily News thinks the Knicks will try to convince Amar’e Stoudemire to end his career before his inflated contract expires in 2015, but he can’t see Stoudemire agreeing to call it quits (Twitter link).
  • With Tyson Chandler‘s status uncertain and Stoudemire and Kenyon Martin both considered ongoing injury risks, the Knicks‘ need to re-sign Jeremy Tyler has “grown mightily,” writes Marc Berman of the New York Post. The Erie BayHawks acquired Tyler earlier this week, allowing the big man to rehab with the Knicks’ D-League affiliate.
  • Gary Parrish of is certain that Brad Stevens made the right call to take the Celtics job, since at worst he’ll have the $22MM from his six-year contract and the chance to either take another NBA job or a head coaching position at a college with a higher profile than Butler.
  • The Sixers will hire Rod Baker to coach their D-League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo! Sports (via Twitter). Baker, who had been working as an assistant for the Bakersfield Jam, has extensive coaching experience in the PBL, ABA, and NCAA.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.