While it isn’t anything too special, the Philadelphia 76ers’ bench has been a big improvement this season from the last few seasons.
Philadelphia ranks ninth in the NBA in bench net rating, with a +0.6 rating.
Part of the reason for that is because the bench players are most effective when the team staggers minutes between Joel Embiid, James Harden and Tyrese Maxey to create a more balanced attack, which we’ve seen a lot this year.
Either way, there’s been a solid group of guys that look like they can be trusted during playoff basketball.
Below are the six players that have earned playoff minutes for the 76ers so far in 2023.
Milton has served largely as a scoring guard off the bench this year, and he’s been very solid in that role. He’s averaging 8.5 points per game on 49.2/39.0/83.2 splits.
Milton’s combination of length and handles make him an effective scorer for the 76ers, but he doesn’t excel much in any other areas.
The 26-year-old is playing around 20 minutes per game during the regular season. That may be cut down come playoff time, though.
If Milton is scoring efficiently, he’s a valuable sixth man for the Sixers. If he’s not, there’s not much of a reason to have him on the floor other than for catch-and-shoot opportunities.
As long as he can maintain his offensive spark, Milton should see a decent amount of postseason minutes.
Melton will undoubtedly be a big part of the 76ers rotation in the playoffs.
Since coming over from Memphis, he’s done nothing but produce; his role changes every night, but he’s one of the best bench glue guys in basketball.
Melton has started in over half of his games played this season, mostly due to injuries to Harden and Maxey. His chemistry with the starters will make him even more valuable for postseason minutes.
Melton’s combination of ball handling, three-point shooting, basketball IQ and perimeter defense has come up huge many times for Philadelphia. On the year, he’s averaging 10.3 points, 4.1 rebounds and 1.6 steals per game with a 40.4% three-point percentage.
When the rotation shrinks for the playoffs, Melton may have even more playing time.
A new addition to the 76ers roster, McDaniels does have his question marks.
The former Charlotte Hornet has proven he has the potential to be a good two-way player, but Doc Rivers will have to be cautious about his playoff minutes.
His numbers with Philadelphia may not show it yet, but McDaniels’ athleticism has added another fold into the team’s offense; his bounce makes him a lob threat.
He’s also a willing three-point shooter, and has a big frame that makes him a good defender. As he continues to adjust to playing winning basketball, he has the potential to be a huge part of the Sixers’ postseason roster.
At his best, McDaniels is a seamless fit for a playoff roster that would need wing depth. If he can’t find more of a rhythm within the 76ers’ offense, he’ll likely only see around 10 minutes per game in the playoffs.
After some struggles at the backup center for the 76ers all season long, Reed has finally brought some stability to the position.
The more time he’s played, the more he’s improved. Reed is young and athletic, bringing an interior presence on both ends to the 76ers.
Reed brings everything the team needs in a backup big man; he’s efficient, rebounds well, brings energy and has the frame to play great defense.
Embiid will obviously dominate the center minutes in the playoffs. Last year, he averaged 38.5 minutes per game in the postseason.
If Reed can come in for around 10-12 minutes per night and keep the team afloat, it will pay off in a big way.
The last two inclusions on this list come with precautions; when they’re not playing well, they can hurt the team more than they help.
Niang is one of them. Offensively, he’s purely a sharpshooter, and he may space the floor more than any other player on the 76ers.
However, he is a big defensive liability. Against teams like the Celtics, who have strong wings that can play on the perimeter, he gets picked on.
Niang is shooting 41.2% on 5.0 three-point attempts per game. But when his shots aren’t falling, he cannot be on the floor.
Because of that, he’s another player that will only see significant minutes in the playoffs based on the matchup.
House was seemingly out of the rotation as recently as a few weeks ago. But lately, he’s been playing a good two-way game.
As mentioned before, the 76ers need as much wing depth as they can get. House brings that.
At 6’6” and 220 lbs, he’s a capable defender. He’s also a solid shooter at times, and is athletic enough to finish in the paint.
However, House can have questionable shot selection at times. He’s most valuable for his wing defense, so he’s another player that should only see playoff minutes based on the matchup.
The 76ers only have a few bench players that are locks for playoff minutes in every game. The rest, like House and Niang, will likely see their playing time change in each game.
Featured photo courtesy of Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images
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