It’s the “veteran three” and Michael Carter-Williams -- that is the crux of the Sixers’ roster.
One day, Nerlens Noel will be a featured piece and Tony Wroten may have a place as a sixth man, but Carter-Williams, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes are the Sixers’ most talented players.
For the last two games and the first 17 of the season, James Anderson was the starting two-guard joining the usual four.
Anderson has posted double-figure points four games in a row, begging the question: where is he best suited to play on this team -- as a starter or off the bench?
“It was done for different reasons recently and I am not sure which direction I am going to go tonight,” Brett Brown said of his recent decision to reinsert Anderson in the starting lineup. “What you see is that James can be a sparkplug off the bench. Tony Wroten has been injured also, but he can be a great sparkplug off the bench.”
Anderson and Wroten are solid scoring options that Brown can find among his reserves, with Anderson averaging 10 points per game and Wroten 13.5.
But the points are only part of the equation -- matchups are a factor.
“How we end up balancing out is based really on how we are guarding to start our two-three men,” Brown said. “With Hollis [Thompson] and Evan, sometimes you get off-kilter or out of balance in other areas.”
Anderson has three years of NBA experience, while Thompson is a rookie. Anderson has scored in double figures 20 times, while Thompson has done so seven times.
Anderson prefers to concern himself more with just playing as opposed to a specific starting or reserve role.
“I think for the most part it has been the same, even when I was coming off the bench, I was running a lot with the first group and closing out the game,” Anderson said. “It was pretty good for me with both groups. With the second group, I’ve got to do more scoring and be more aggressive, and at the same time playing with the first group, I just try to give us a good start being aggressive defensively.”
And true to Carter-Williams’ personality, both Anderson and Thompson suit their rookie running mate just fine.
“I think they are both good players and similar in some ways,” Carter-Williams said. “Both when they get themselves going, can knock down the open shot. They play good defense and they rebound. I don’t have to adjust too much.”