After a 5-7 start to open the season, the Philadelphia 76ers somewhat righted the ship.
They have gone 7-3 since that opening stretch and currently sit in 6th place at 12-10.
Not where 76ers’ fans expected this team to be entering the season at this point.
However, Philadelphia has also not been a model of health to this point.
James Harden has missed 13 games.
Joel Embiid has missed eight games.
And Tyrese Maxey has missed seven games.
The 76ers have started to play better as of late as a team, even with their stars missing time.
These two moves could boost the roster when their “Big Three” returns.
Sources: Two notable injury updates:
– Bucks star Khris Middleton is nearing his season debut, potentially as soon as Friday vs. Lakers.
– 76ers star James Harden is targeting return on current three-game road trip, likely in Houston on Monday.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 30, 2022
Trade Shake Milton
Arguably the biggest beneficiary of Harden and Maxey missing so much time has been Shake Milton.
Over the past seven games, all of which were starts, Milton is averaging 21.9 points, 5.9 rebounds, and 6.1 assists across 37.8 minutes per game.
He is shooting 56.3% from the field, 48.3% from three, and 95.8% from the line.
Shake Milton’s last 6 games:
27 PTS, 6 REB, 2 AST, 66% FG
16 PTS, 6 REB, 5 AST, 50% FG
22 PTS, 7 REB, 9 AST, 56% FG
24 PTS, 9 REB, 10 AST, 54% FG
29 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 77% FG
21 PTS, 5 REB, 7 AST, 45% FG pic.twitter.com/niC29xbJAZ
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) November 29, 2022
However, there is reason to be skeptical about his role upon Harden and Maxey returning.
Before the Milwaukee Bucks game that saw Maxey exit early, Milton appeared in 10 games, all off the bench.
He averaged 3.9 points, 2.0 rebounds, and 1.4 assists across 12.4 minutes per game while shooting 45.9% from the field and 14.3% from three.
Milton is at his best when he has the ball in his hands, not as a spot-up shooter.
Unfortunately, the 76ers need more spot-up shooters.
Given Milton’s strong stretch over the past seven games, his trade value should have been boosted.
If the 76ers can flip him for a player more like a Patty Mills-type, they should pounce.
Trade Matisse Thybulle
This is not an indictment on Matisse Thybulle.
He is one of the league’s most versatile and impactful on- and off-ball defenders.
Thybulle can lock up the opponent’s elite scoring option on any night.
Sixers defense this season:
2nd in defensive rating
1st in PPG allowed
1st in 3P% allowed pic.twitter.com/pj2SvdbsRL
— StatMuse (@statmuse) November 30, 2022
The issue is he has yet to develop on the offensive end.
Thybulle is shooting a career-low 22.7% from three this season.
After playing sparingly or not at all in the 76ers first five contests, he appeared in the next nine games and drew three starts.
He averaged 2.2 points, 2.2 rebounds, and 1.4 steals across 18.2 minutes per game while shooting 30.8% from the field and 20% from three.
Playing alongside ball-dominant stars in Embiid, Harden, and Maxey essentially demands all other players have the ability to shoot the three.
Thybulle seems more confident shooting but has yet to develop that skill and the 76ers should look to trade him for somebody who does.NEXT: The Wait Is Almost Over For A Returning 76ers Star