The Sixers added some fresh new faces to their squad this summer. Each addition brings something new to the team. Whether it be shooting, defense or playmaking, each one adds a new dynamic.
When the Sixers traded Mikal Bridges for Zhaire Smith, they knew exactly what they were getting. Zhaire Smith is a superb athlete and has great instincts for moving without the ball. That was evident in his Summer League play. Smith made sharp cuts to the basket and found himself open time and time again. With a playmaker like Ben Simmons by his side, he’ll have a great opportunity to convert on those looks.
Not only is Smith a good off ball player, but he’s also a terrific defender. He has great lateral quickness and his 6’10 wingspan allows him to guard multiple positions. Aside from Robert Covington and Joel Embiid, Zhaire Smith may be the best defender on the team.
The Sixers also drafted Landry Shamet, who despite not being a great defender, can really knock down the 3 ball. Shamet shot nearly 44% from 3 point range in his 3 years at Wichita State. With the team losing Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova in free agency, Shamet’s ability to stretch the floor will be crucial.
Mike Muscala, who the 76ers traded for, can also knock down the ball from deep. As a stretch big, he allows Brett Brown to experiment with different lineups. He can throw out shooters like Redick, Covington, Saric and Muscala next to Ben Simmons or play Muscala next to Embiid. Having a stretch big on the team really opens up a lot of opportunities for the team’s offense.
In addition to adding some much needed shooting, the Sixers also brought in 10 year veteran, Wilson Chandler. Chandler will provide some toughness and defense off the bench for the team, which the Sixers desperately need. Chandler is a starting caliber small forward. Having his experience and two-way play off the bench will be a huge boost for the team.
Jonah Bolden will also be joining the team this season. Bolden, who last played for Maccabi Tel Aviv, had a rough time in Summer League. The 6’10 forward struggled with his shot, connecting on only 35% of his total attempts. Despite his Summer League woes, Bolden still has plenty of potential. He’ll be a player, like Zhaire Smith, who’s development will benefit from playing alongside a playmaker of Ben Simmons’ caliber.
The Sixers are deeper now than they were 3 months ago. Yes they lost a lot this offseason, but they also added some multi-dimensional pieces to their bench, which is something they didn’t have before. Chandler, Smith, Shamet, Muscala and Bolden will all look to leave their mark on the team this season as the Sixers get ready for another strong playoff run.
Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports