The NBA preseason is made for roster locks to get their feet wet in preparation of a long regular season and potential playoff run.
But most importantly, the short stretches serve as a good opportunity for deep-depth players to prove their value to an organization that’s mulling whether to keep them or not.
On Monday, the Philadelphia 76ers fired up their preseason against the Brooklyn Nets. After an impressive victory for the Sixers, which players improved their stock?
When you’re the best player on the floor in a game that features Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and Ben Simmons, it’s impossible for your stock not to improve. Maxey simply picked up where he left off last year and continues to look like an All-Star in the making with the 76ers.
After one preseason matchup, Paul Reed might be closer to winning a spot in the rotation than we think. While I believe Doc Rivers will give the backup center spot to Montrezl Harrell by default, Reed is making a case to garner minutes so far, whether it’s at the five or the four.
Niang ended the 2022 playoff on a low note. The veteran cited a knee injury as a reason why he struggled to find his shot from beyond the arc in the postseason. On Monday, Niang looked healthier and managed to find his shot in 14 minutes.
Harrell isn’t making life easier for Paul Reed, who had himself a solid showing in the starting lineup on Monday. By collecting five boards and ten points in 11 minutes, Harrell had himself a stellar Sixers debut. Unfortunately, it was sort of spoiled as he fouled out quickly.
The Turkish sharpshooter desperately needed his shot to fall in his first preseason outing of the year. Similar to Niang, Korkmaz acknowledged an injury affected his shot last year. Now that he’s feeling healthier, Korkmaz is once again making a case to garner minutes off the bench for Philadelphia.
It seems Isaiah Joe is battling for a spot on the Sixers’ roster. His value comes from beyond the arc. Joe understands he needs to be a consistent high-volume three-point scorer in order to earn a role, and he made a great first pitch on Monday night as he knocked down three of his six attempts from deep.
When the Sixers’ key rotation guys were out for the remainder of the game, Julian Champagnie stood out in the 18 minutes he spent on the court. After going 5-10 from the field and knocking down 42 percent of his threes, the young prospect finished his first Philadelphia preseason outing with 15 points.
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Thybulle’s defensive value was on display as always, but he needs to develop into a two-way threat. So far, the talk about Thybulle’s offseason offensive improvement looks like nothing more than talk. While Thybulle looked more confident on the offensive end, he wasn’t productive. Fortunately, he has time to change the narrative.
Melton’s proven he’s a solid two-way player in the NBA already, so a performance that drives his stock down isn’t anything to panic about. Defensively, he had a decent night. Offensively, not so much. After getting the nod to start in place of James Harden, Melton took advantage of the shots that were available to him. However, shots were not falling as he drained just 20 percent of his field goal attempts in 17 minutes.
Charlie Brown Jr.
Considering Charlie Brown Jr. was a two-way prospect last year, he wasn’t anticipated to come in a snag a rotation spot on the Sixers’ roster. He’s liked by the organization due to his perimeter defense, but similar to Thybulle, Brown has to display value on the other side of the court. His first preseason outing with the Sixers didn’t leave a good impression.
It’s not easy to crack a spot on the roster when you only get six minutes to showcase your skills. It’s really difficult to make the team when you’re shooting 16 percent from the field. Foster’s G League experience should help him in the preseason, but he had a rough first outing in Brooklyn.
Trevelin Queen had a lot of hype surrounding him when he signed with the Sixers during the opening hours of free agency. Unfortunately, Queen’s 76ers preseason debut was cut short due to a head injury. He checked out of the game with just four minutes played. During that time, he went 2-5 from the field, scoring four points.
Let’s be honest, Tobias Harris doesn’t have much to prove in the preseason. He didn’t do anything spectacular, but he also didn’t have a massive decline from the 2022 playoffs to the 2022 preseason opener. Obviously, that’s a good thing.
Milton will have a role with the 76ers this season, so his preseason performance won’t matter much. It would’ve been a great sign for the Sixers if Milton came out firing running the second unit on Monday, but his game was quite average. Again, he has enough experience to where it doesn’t matter much.
Springer is more trending up than down because of his defensive value, but it’s still apparent that the 20-year-old still has a lot of developing to do. Based on the first preseason outing, it seems Springer is well on his way to splitting time between the NBA and the G League this season.
The former second-rounder is rumored to be fighting for a roster spot this offseason. Bassey didn’t help his stock over the summer in Las Vegas, but he didn’t hurt his chances of sticking around on Monday in Brooklyn. Nine rebounds in 14 minutes prove that Bassey could be helpful on the boards. Another solid game in the rebounding department could help Bassey boost his value more.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for All76ers, a Sports Illustrated channel. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.