Head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers Nick Nurse is still attempting to ascertain what the team’s genuine rotation will include when the 2023–2024 season officially gets underway after two preseason games. Given that there are players who haven’t had a chance to take the floor during the team’s opening two games against the Boston Celtics, Nurse’s admission that he doesn’t have a “very good idea” of the rotation at this stage comes as no surprise.
“It’s really hard to do in the preseason because you don’t ever get everybody there,” Nurse told reporters following Friday’s practice. “Hopefully, we will for a couple of games so we can at least look at it.”
Throughout the first two games of their preseason schedule, the Sixers were without a few key players. The only players to miss both games were Joel Embiid and James Harden, but you can be sure that the All-Star pair will be in the team’s starting lineup when the regular season starts. Sharpshooter Furkan Korkmaz and agile wing Danuel House Jr. are now competing for limited playing time while fighting for a position in the rotation.
House played in the Sixers’ preseason opener against the Boston Celtics last Sunday, but because to pain in his knee, he was forced to withdraw from the rematch on Wednesday. Furkan Korkmaz, meanwhile, is yet to play in the preseason due to a strained leg.
“Furk, we haven’t seen him for a while,” Nurse explained. “He’s progressing well. I think he’s going to be able to go and practice tomorrow but should be ready to play some minutes on Monday.”
If they succeed, Korkmaz and House would probably advance farther in the cycle. A couple more guys seem to be on track right now to earn some regular minutes.
“Paul Reed’s probably, for sure, in the rotation,” Nurse stated.
The previous year, Reed was given sporadic playing time by Doc Rivers. He participated in 12 of the 15 games played during the first month of the year, playing less than eight minutes per game on average. After an impressive playoff performance in 2023 and what Nurse sees as a good summer, it seems like Reed will finally be recognized for his talents and get some consistent playing time during the regular season.
“Where does everybody else fall? They’re still battling,” Nurse added. “I think (Kelly) Oubre is showing he’s probably gonna hit the rotation. Danny (Green) played pretty well.”
The Sixers signed Green and Oubre to minimal deals in free agency, well after the market had opened. Both players are having good preseasons thus far and have shown their ability to be valuable players in the past. The last guy Nurse addressed is Jaden Springer, who is quickly becoming a fan favorite. After laboring at the G League level for the last two seasons, the former first-round selection is showing some significant progress as he had a remarkable performance in the first preseason game and a respectable second outing three nights later.
“Jaden Springer, just because of the numbers of all of those guys I just talked about, I probably had Jaden a little further down just out of need,” Nurse explained. “He’s kind of vaulted himself back up into the conversation for sure. He’s just done everything we’ve asked him to do and played really well.”
Springer hasn’t had the chance to compete at the NBA level at this stage in his career since experience will always be a crucial component of a playoff team’s rotation. Despite Nurse’s current reservations, the possibility of giving Springer a rotation position is still on the table. Before the Sixers travel to Milwaukee for their season opening, there are still two games and a ton of practices remaining, so Nurse’s rotation has plenty of chance to undergo some noticeable alterations.