By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor
The Sixers found themselves extremely shorthanded on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets. Due to health and safety protocols, the team would have just seven players available to take on a fully loaded Nuggets team.
Despite being down most of the roster, the Sixers showed a lot of fight in this one. They hung on for most of the game, but would eventually lose by a final score of 115-103.
This limited roster allowed guys who typically don't get much time on the floor, and some made the most of it. Here are some grades from the Saturday afternoon matchup.
Isaiah Joe: B
The Sixers' 2020 second-round pick had not seen much action before today's game, but would almost go the distance in this one. He would log the most minutes for the Sixers, playing an astonishing 44 minutes and 51 seconds.
Joe finished the game as the team's second-leading scorer, racking up 13 points and knocking down three triples in the contest. After a somewhat shaky start, Joe locked in during the first quarter, where he knocked down all three of his threes.
Fatigue looked like it caught up to Joe pretty quick in this one, but he still showed a lot of promise. His confidence on the floor grew as the game developed, which is a great sign for a young rookie like him.
Tony Bradley: B+
Tony Bradley is another one of the Sixers' young players who made the most of the opportunity today. He would fill in at backup center behind Dwight Howard and would have a solid performance on both ends of the floor.
Bradley would finish this game with a double-double, scoring 11 points and coming down with a team-leading 15 rebounds. He was also one of two Sixers who would finish the game with a positive +/-, being a +10 in his 24 minutes on the floor.
Although Bradley is still more of a raw product, he shows glimpses of being a legit everyday center down the line. Whether it was disciplined defense at the rim or soft touch at the rim on offense, Bradley showed a little of what he could be for the team moving forward.
Paul Reed: B
Two-way player Paul Reed also got his first real chance to play decent minutes today. He was the only Sixer not to break double-digit scoring, but another area of play stood out for him.
The biggest takeaway from Reed's performance today was his energy. He was a much-needed spark off the bench with limited players. His activity on the offensive glass was incredible, coming down with six offensive rebounds.
Sliding him in next to Howard or Bradley was a nice boost to the Sixers' defense. They needed all the size they could get facing off against a bigger Nuggets team.
His motor was much needed today as the Sixers only had seven players at their disposal.
Tyrese Maxey: A++
In a game where there wasn't much reason to tune in, Tyrese Maxey gave everyone a reason to watch. The Sixers had to rely heavily on their first-round pick in this one, and he embraced the challenge with open arms.
Maxey would end up putting on a showcase from start to finish. He would end the game with a stat line of 39 points, seven rebounds, six assists, and two steals. The rookie posted a career-high in points on Thursday against the Nets and then shattered it 48 hours later.
Since stepping on the floor for the Sixers, Maxey has shown that he can score the ball. He dug deep into his offensive arsenal against the Nuggets, hitting shots all over the floor. En route to his 39 points, he would shoot close to 55% from the floor while attempting an absurd thirty-three shots.
The other area that stood out was his ability to take care of the ball. Due to limited ball handlers, a lot of those duties on offense fell into the rookie's hands. In his 43 minutes of play, he would only turn the ball over twice.
Maxey's confidence and play on the floor grows with every passing game. He continues to show that he is the steal of the NBA draft, and will be a key piece for the Sixers moving forward.