Sixers vs Wizards: Pierre Jackson makes Sixers debut
The Philadelphia 76ers will take on the Washington Wizards tonight at the Wells Fargo Center, their last home game of the preseason.
Jahlil Okafor will miss his second consecutive game with a sore right knee as the Sixers continue to take a precautionary approach with their rookie big man.
In positive injury news, Nerlens Noel, who missed the previous two games with knee and back soreness, practiced yesterday and will play tonight. Pierre Jackson, signed by the Sixers this offseason, will make his preseason debut. Jackson had missed the previous four games because of a nagging groin injury he suffered during the Las Vegas Summer League.
For Jackson, his Sixers debut will be a long time coming. Jackson was initially selected using the 42nd pick in the 2013 NBA draft, which was the Sixers selection, but was traded on draft night to New Orleans in the deal that brought in Nerlens Noel.
Jackson was then re-acquired by the Sixers the following summer when they traded the draft rights of Russ Smith to New Orleans for the rights to Jackson, who had spent what would have been his rookie season playing for the Idaho Stampede in the NBA D-League. However, Jackson ruptured his Achilles tendon in the Orlando Summer League, an injury that would cause him to miss the entire season. The Sixers waived Jackson that September.
With his rehab complete, the Sixers signed Jackson to a multi-year contract, and hope to finally get a look at Jackson in an NBA game this evening.
The Sixers can use the depth at the point guard spot, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reported yesterday that Tony Wroten could be out until December.
What: Wizards @ Sixers
Where: Wells Fargo Center, Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
When: Friday, October 16th, 7 PM
Where to watch: Comcast SportsNet Philly
Projected Starting Lineups:
Sixers: Isaiah Canaan, JaKarr Sampson, Robert Covington, Jerami Grant, Nerlens Noel
Wizards: John Wall, Bradley Beal, Otto Porter, Kris Humphris, Marcin Gortat
(Note: Official starting lineups are released about an hour prior to tipoff).
About The Opponent:
The Sixers played the Wizards once already this preseason, and struggled mightily to contain John Wall in transition. The end result was Wall pushing the ball in transition, collapsing the Sixers transition defense, and kicking the ball out to wide open three point shooters. The Wizards shot 15-26 (57.7%) from three point range on the evening.
Preventing that will obviously be a key for Brett Brown and his staff, and the perimeter matchup of Wall, Beal, and Porter is one that the Sixers will struggle to contain. It would have been interesting to see Okafor in a rematch against Marcin Gortat, Nene Hilario, and Kris Humphries, but Okafor will miss tonight’s game.
What To Look For
The return of Pierre Jackson adds a little bit of excitement to this game. While there are questions about whether Jackson, at 5’10”, can adequately defend at this level, he brings a level of athleticism and offensive talent that is missing from the Sixers other point guards. He could bring a pick and roll dynamic, along with Nerlens Noel, that was otherwise missing.
It will also be interesting to watch the Sixers backup big men, especially with Okafor out. Christian Wood will get a chance to build on his impressive outing the other night, where he scored thirteen points and collected ten rebounds against the Knicks. It will also provide more opportunities for rookie big man Richaun Holmes.
On a team level, defending the three point line, not turning the ball over, and getting back in transition will be huge priorities for Brett Brown and his staff, as will containing John Wall on the pick and roll.
Derek Bodner covers the 76ers for Philadelphia magazine. Follow @DerekBodnerNBA on Twitter.