If we rewind to the heart of the 2018 season, Elton Brand’s aggression in trading for players who could help the team ‘win now’ was applauded by fans, namely those who were tired of the slow-burning flames we saw in years past. The Sixers had a flurry of young talent and were just a couple of pieces away from a big-time run. In trading for Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic and the fan favorite, Mike Scott, Brand made a statement. The Sixers are done playing games, and they’re here to dominate the here-and-now. The only problem is, this is the one trade that may haunt them.
Both Harris and Marjanovic are pending free agents and there is a chance that neither returns to the City of Brotherly Love. If this plausibility does turn into a reality, then the Sixers would’ve traded away Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, and four draft picks to the Clippers in exchange for around half a season of play. Oh, and Landry Shamet.
When he was drafted with the 26th overall pick last year, expectations were low. But he burst out of the gate with some impressive shooting from beyond the arc, earning a reputation as an eventual heir to Redick’s throne. Shamet shot 40.4% from three-point range during 54 games with the Sixers, which is really impressive. And it’s not as if that production stopped when he landed in Los Angeles.
He averaged 10.9 in 27.8 minutes per game, shooting 45% from three-point range. He also averaged 7.7 points per game in the playoffs. Shamet led all rookies in 3 pointers during 2018, scoring the 4th most by a rookie in NBA history, as well as breaking the Clippers rookie record for most in a game, earning All-rookie second team honors as a result.
Shamet was the prototypical long-term replacement for J.J Redick, the 34-year old who also enters free agency this offseason. It’s not yet known if the Sixers will aim to keep Redick around, but if they do decide to move on from his sharpshooting, they’ve just traded away a player who has the potential to develop into a shooter just as lethal. The damage doesn’t end there, either.
The Sixers were littered with injuries last year, with the ‘ideal’ starting five playing in just 21 games together, 11 of which came in the playoffs. If Harris, who wants to play for a team that ‘fits his style of play’, opts to test free agency, and the team deem it necessary to find Redick’s replacement, has this trade not backfired massively? Or at the very least, was it not incredibly short-sighted?
If Harris returns to the Sixers, a large chunk of this argument will fizzle away, because the team would have retained a key starter who added tremendous value to their starting five. But right now, they’re walking a tight rope. Not only could numerous branches of their current starting five, fall off, but the seeds that were planted one year ago to prepare for this, were ripped out of the soil, and traded away.
There is a lot of pressure on the Sixers this offseason, and there is a hefty amount of it that stems from the longer-term ripple effect of a trade heralded as a great move by many, at the time.
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