Last season, the Sixers scored the fifth-fewest bench points in the entire NBA. Despite capturing the third-seed in the Eastern Conference, Philly had quite a few glaring holes in their second unit. Incumbent backup T.J McConnell was serviceable for the majority of the season but left a lot to be desired while backing up Ben Simmons. Furthermore, after trading Dario Saric, Robert Covington, and Landry Shamet, the Sixers were left thin on the wings and often had to rely on the sporadic play of Jonathan Simmons and Furkan Korkmaz. To make matters worse, the Sixers also struggled to find a reliable backup big man to the oft-injured superstar Joel Embiid. The lackluster tandem of Amir Johnson, Boban Marjanovic, and Greg Monroe failed to provide any form of stability in relief of Embiid and forced Sixers HC Brett Brown to run the All-Star big man into the ground by the time the playoffs arrived.
Wary of suffering through a similar campaign, sophomore Sixers GM Elton Brand has worked tirelessly this offseason to bolster the bench and make certain that a similar output isn’t in the cards for his squad this upcoming season.
Just three days into the NBA free agency period, Brand has already re-signed bench standouts F/C Mike Scott and G James Ennis, as well as coming to terms with scrappy big man Kyle O’Quinn on a one-year deal. Not only was Brand able to bring back two of the team’s most productive reserves from last season and finally find Embiid a proper backup, but did so for roughly $9M. Since taking the reigns as general manager, Brand has made a ton of incredibly savvy moves, and this was just the latest example.
With Scott, Ennis, and O’Quinn in tow and athletic first rounders Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle set to join them, the Sixers now boast an incredibly formidable second unit- and could look to bolster the group even further with free agency in full swing.
After having their season shortened prematurely due to a lack of depth, the Sixers are now primed to rebound with a much deeper core this upcoming season.
Mandatory Credit: Jeremy Brevard-USA TODAY Sports