Philadelphia 76ers player grades from opening night win over Pelicans

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The Philadelphia 76ers invaded the bayou on Wednesday night to open up the 2021-22 season to take on the New Orleans Pelicans and they were locked into a battle. Without having Ben Simmons out there, the Sixers had to scrap and earn this win and hold off the Pelicans.

Eventually, they were able to come away with a 117-97 win to begin the season 1-0 sans Simmons and they did so by getting more production out of players who had to step up when needed. Joel Embiid led the way with his usual 22 points, six rebounds, and five assists, but Furkan Korkmaz had 22 points and five assists in a huge effort. Tobias Harris added 20 points and 12 rebounds.

As the new starting point guard, Tyrese Maxey had 20 points and seven rebounds, Seth Curry added 10 points, and Georges Niang added 11 off the bench. Andre Drummond pulled down 17 rebounds with six points.

Here are the player grades from the season-opening win:

Tyrese Maxey: B-

The young guard got blitzed quite a few times by Pelicans guard Nickeil Alexander-Walker as he continues with his defensive development, but he was able to get into the paint a bit on the offensive end. Probably not to the amount of times coach Doc Rivers is looking for, but this will continue to be a work in progress for him. This is probably what to expect from the second-year guard as he will make his biggest impact on the offensive end.

Seth Curry: A-

Curry did what he normally does. He came off screens aggressively, he did not hesitate on taking any open triples, and he was a consistent source of offense. This is what the Sixers will continue to ask of the 3-point sniper and it will be a welcomed sight if he does not hesitate on any of those open looks. He was aggressive offensively all night and that is what Philadelphia needs. He could have gotten more triples up, but that is more of a product of the team not having the right ball movement out there.

Danny Green: D

It was a struggle to start this one for the veteran. He went scoreless in the first half and he picked up three fouls. It was not much better in the second half and the only thing that saved him from a failing grade was the few defensive plays he made.

Tobias Harris: A

With the Simmons situation still up in the air, Harris assumes even more responsibility with this team. He is now the second-best player on the Sixers and he has to continue to be a leader for the younger guys while also continuing to score at an efficient pace for the team. Considering he only played in one preseason game, there was some rust on his part and it looked like he didn’t have the same lift on his jumper either. Maybe the knee is still bothering him a bit. In the end, he still ended up having a regular Harris game.

Joel Embiid: A

Despite a small injury concern early, the big fella did what he normally does which is dominate basketball games. Embiid looked like he wanted to make a statement in this game as he was knocking down triples, he was working in the post, and he was even running the break at times. There were a few times where he settled for jumpers, but overall, the big fella had himself a normal night and took advantage of the space.

Furkan Korkmaz: A+

Maybe point Furk can become a thing? Running the pick-and-roll looked pretty natural for the fifth-year guard out of Turkey. He does play point guard in International play so maybe this is a sign for him and the Sixers that he can be a bit of a backup point guard. Also, he was huge in the fourth quarter. His offense was paramount to winning this game. They do not win this game without Korkmaz going off late.

Georges Niang: A-

Niang has the potential to be a very sneaky good addition to this team. His ability to knock down open looks, run the floor, be able to handle the ball a bit, and be an overall versatile player is going to be a welcomed addition for a bench unit in need of more creators.

Matisse Thybulle: B+

This was a typical Thybulle game. He had an impressive block on Brandon Ingram to end the first quarter and he jumped the passing lanes for a steal. His defense was excellent all night long. Offensively, there was an instance where he cut backdoor for a layup as he began to understand that is what is needed to find open looks.

Andre Drummond: B-

There were plenty of times where the burly big man tried to do a little bit too much, but overall, this was still a solid effort for him. This type of game is what the Sixers want from the former 2-time All-Star. He was active, he made some really nice passes, and he was a force on the glass. The only real blemish was the fact that he committed four turnovers.

Isaiah Joe: D

This was going to be a test for Joe. After a scorching hot preseason, teams were going to have tape on him. He would have to adjust and be ready for that and his first 3-point attempt was an airball after the Pelicans jumped him on the screen. This is the regular season now where the speed of the game is different and guys are here to play. There will be an adjustment period for him.

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