The Philadelphia 76ers need to realize that they need the spacing and size that Jonah Bolden can provide until the team gets healthy.
If the first game of the regular season revealed anything for the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s that the club is missing it’s depth with Wilson Chandler, Zhaire Smith, Mike Muscala and Jerryd Bayless all out due to injury. The absence of both Chandler and Muscala were especially troublesome seeing that the team’s depth at the power forward position was severely hampered.
It didn’t help that starting power forward Dario Saric had foul problems for most of the game and ended the contest with five fouls. That meant the Sixers had to rely on Ben Simmons to play a lot more at the four spot in response to the injuries and foul trouble. Simmons ended up recording 43 minutes of floor time in the Sixers season opener, which is way too much for the first game of the regular season.
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It also led the Sixers to feature lineups with multiple point guards on the floor. There were times in the game that Philadelphia had Simmons, Markelle Fultz, T.J. McConnell and J.J. Redick on the floor at once. Landry Shamet also saw time in the 76ers three guard lineup in the team’s first game of the regular season. While Simmons stands at 6-foot-10 and a very capable defender, that lineup of point guards and shooting guards was too small on the defensive side of the ball.
Outside of Redick and Shamet, those small lineups lack outside shooting which clogs the paint on offense. Really having that guard lineup isn’t good for the Sixers on either end of the ball. Head coach Brett Brown needs to shake the bench rotation up before Philly’s game against the Chicago Bulls.
Unless Muscala’s status for the Bulls game gets changed from doubtful to active, the Sixers should rely on 2017 second round pick Jonah Bolden. In the past, the 6-foot-10 big man has been a solid defensive player overseas and during college. On top of that, he proved to be a consistent threat from the 3-point arc during the preseason. Brown should experiment with Bolden in the second unit. It would allow the Sixers to play bigger and potentially have better floor spacing.
Bolden’s minutes should come at the expense of McConnell. Co-Site Expert of The Sixer Sense Christopher Kline has already gone into detail about how decreasing McConnell’s minutes would be good for Fultz’s development. Giving those extra minutes to Bolden would help balance out the second unit’s rotation.
Until Muscala recovers from his ankle injury, Brown should insert Bolden into the second unit’s rotation. Bolden gives the Philadelphia 76ers more defensive versatility off the bench than a three guard lineup and may in fact prove to provide better floor spacing on offense if he’s given the opportunity.