While the NBA finals are just around the corner, most teams are turning their attention towards the Draft and beyond. This is a really important offseason for the Sixers and one where emotional goodbyes should be expected. But while names like Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris should be obvious priorities, who are the names outside of the building who should interest Elton Brand and company?
C, Dewayne Dedmon
The 29-year old is coming off of two really impressive season with the Hawks. While his 10 points and 7 boards per game don’t jump off the screen, his evolution as a three-point shooter certainly does.
Dedmon has shot 37.2% from beyond the arc over the last two years, along with 55.9% shooting inside. He took a career-high 8.2 shots per game last year and as we all know, the Sixers have an affinity for big men who can take full advantage of the acres of space left while defenders try to clog the lanes. Even Bobi was a threat from three-point range last season and seeing this kind of development from a player who was never associated with the word ‘shooting’ is really impressive.
A solid rebounder who can contribute offensively as well, Dedmon could be a great reserve center and the backup to Joel Embiid that the Sixers have been aching to find for quite some time now.
SG, Jeremy Lamb
Lamb played his contract year for the Hornets with a vengeance. If it was an audition tape that the 26-year old wanted, he ticked every box. Starting 55 games, he averaged 15 points per game and 5 rebounds per game, which were also career-highs.
What goes massively under the radar though is that Lamb was actually moved to the bench to help elevate a severely underperforming group, while Miles Bridges led the charge up top. Lamb met the challenge head on and still posted career highs.
Now, it’s likely that Lamb is going to want to return to the starting role and unless he’s replacing JJ Redick, he probably isn’t going to get that in Philadelphia. Shooting 34% from beyond the arc won’t fill that niche, but if the star-power of Joel and Simmons could maybe lure Lamb into captaining that second unit, this could be a huge move. It’s unlikely, but Lamb’s hustle, ‘chip-on-the-shoulder’ mentality and defensive efficiency could be really useful to a team who were able to take the Raptors to the final seconds of game 7, largely due to bench contributions.
SG, Wayne Ellington
Now if the Sixers were able to pluck both Lamb and Ellington this offseason, hello. Since being the 28th pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Ellington has played for eight different teams, becoming a journeyman shooter in the process.
Now a veteran, Ellington played in a career-high 27 minutes per game for the Pistons last year, also averaging a career-high in points. Interestingly, Ellington shot 77% of his shots from three-point territory, knocking down around 37%.
This would really be a bargain bucket find for the Sixers and again, while Ellington wouldn’t replace Redick or his robotic arm, it would provide enough of an upgrade to the bench’s shooting proficiency and allow younger players like Zhaire Smith to learn under his wing, without the pressure of needing to play a hefty amount of minutes.
Ellington still has the durability to start games, as proven during his stint with the Pistons, but can also provide a spark of energy to a second unit if needed.
PG Patrick Beverley
2018 was a tough season for Beverley. Snubbed from an NBA’s all-defensive team mention and traded by Houston in a package that landed them CP3, if there’s ever an angry player in the NBA, it’s Beverley. Luckily enough, it suits his play.
The Sixers need to find a backup point guard this offseason and Beverley ticks every box. His price-tag will be considerably lower than some of the more appealing options, but his play can rival them. He averaged 0.9 steals and 0.6 blocks per game over an entire season last year, on top of shooting a stunning 41% from beyond the arc on catch-and-shoot attempts.
Philly loves gritty players who just personify ‘hard work’. There may be no better cultural fit on the marker than Beverley and given the Sixers had the 6th highest defensive rating in the NBA playoffs and gave up the 3rd least second-chance shots in the playoffs, I’d say it’s a strong fit from all angles.
C, Nerlens Noel
I know, I know. Sometimes a character arc just has to come full circle. The former Sixer who struggled to stay healthy actually had his most productive season yet, despite having a really low usage. The Thunder finally found a shot-blocking prowess that rivals Steven Adams and can hold the fort while he catches a breath.
Noel recorded the third-most blocks off the bench in the entire NBA with 90, and finished second on the Thunder in that category. He’s not as versatile as Dedmon, but he’s younger, more prolific defensively, and will probably be cheaper given how his skill set has unfortunately started to drop as teams get smaller.
He’s still just 25-years old and ranked 1st among all centers in steals, and fourth in blocks, per 36 minutes. Maybe a reunion wouldn’t be the worst thing in the world after all…