Young stars off to a hot start in 2018 preseason
The preseason couldn’t have been any better for Philly. They won three out of four games and the young stars of the team outperformed expectations. Even some savvy veterans looked better than the previous season.
J.J. Redick averaged a team-high 14 points per game. Despite losing his starting spot in the preseason, he never let that get to him and proved he will be a valuable offensive piece this season.
First-round pick Landry Shamet was the surprise player of the preseason. Although the preseason is never that intense, Shamet handled the duties of a backup point guard to the best of his abilities. He might end up taking minutes from T.J. McConnell if he can consistently score buckets.
After an entire year of waiting, fans can finally rest knowing Markelle Fultz has a jump shot. Well sort of. He only averaged four points per game. However, the former number one overall pick showed flashes of having his old college shooting form back.
Fans agreed that Fultz looked impressive during the preseason:
— Pro Sports Notes: Sixers (@PSN_Sixers) October 2, 2018
Is Shamet one of the young stars the Sixers are looking for?
Over the course of four games, Shamet impressed coaches and teammates. In a game against Dallas, he scored 18 points off 42 percent shooting from three. If there is anything the Sixers second rotation could use, it’s outside scoring.
Although Redick brings some heat off the bench, Philly has been without a scoring point guard for a few years now. McConnell is a great passer, but he struggles to create his own shot and is not a great set shooter either.
With Fultz still developing his offensive game, Shamet could be one of the young stars to steal minutes from McConnell. Although McConnell brings a passing attack that not many other backup point guards can rival, he does not have the offensive capability the team needs.
Redick is virtually the only player on the bench that can bring instant offense. Hopefully, Shamet can average numbers similar to the 12 points per game he put up during the preseason. Philly lacks young stars in the second unit, especially after Fultz missed most of last year with a shoulder injury.
Philly could be ready to compete with Boston in the eastern conference if Shamet can compete every night. Boston has a deep bench with youthful talents like Terry Rozier and Marcus Smart. These two provide valuable effort off the bench, which the Sixers have not been able to compete with in the past.
Hopefully, the veterans can do their job and help the younger players find their consistency early in the season.
Even Twitter fans know Shamet needs minutes this season:
Landry Shamet absolutely needs minutes this season
— Hoops Reference (@HoopsReference) October 5, 2018
Will Redick remain on the bench?
There is no doubt in any fans mind that Redick can score buckets. He was the best shooter on the Clippers a few seasons ago and a valuable piece for Philly last year.
Fultz was very underwhelming in the few games he played last season. Although I do not expect him to start over Redick for most of the season, it might be the right move.
Nobody knows for certain if Markelle Fultz will be the young star he’s meant to be for an entire 82 games. However, fans know that Redick can produce in any role he’s asked to be in.
Philly might be better off letting Fultz develop his game against the starters of the league. Redick will come off the bench with and put on a scoring clinic.
Fultz was never a great passer in college. It would be beneficial to have him start as a combo-guard who can learn from Ben Simmons and continue to improve his vision and passing.
If Redick plays well enough it wouldn’t be very shocking to see him take his starting role back from Fultz. Although the rotations haven’t been set in stone yet, the loss of key bench players this offseason hasn’t helped Redick’s case of being in the starting lineup.
Philly has a cast of talent heading into this season and the young stars might be the final piece to propel them into the finals this year.