Heading into the break, the Philadephia 76ers secured a big win over the LA Clippers. Coach Brett Brown seemed to have (kinda) figured things out, and it looks like the Sixers are ready to turn the corner coming out of the break.
With the three seed in sight for Philly, it’s crucial for them to at least do their due diligence with the trade deadline past due and the buyout market coming into full swing. In recent years, three-point sharpshooters such as Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli.
So, who could be this year’s bench shooting threat?
First Things First…
For starters, the Sixers have one guy that has been a popular name floating around as a potential buyout.
Kyle O’Quinn has been rumored to be a potential buyout candidate. In 22 appearances (1 start), the NBA veteran has averaged 10 minutes a night, accumulating a mere 3.5 PPG/ 3.7 REB/ 1.5 AST stat line. Something that can’t be measured is his leadership and his charisma, which many teams would die to have.
The big man’s been inactive for four straight games and has only appeared in three since the start of the 2020 year. With Norvel Pelle earning his own NBA contract and the two new trade acquisitions, the need for O’Quinn has unfortunately dwindled. With all of the drama, Keith Pompey reported that O’Quinn told the Sixers ahead of the trade deadline that he wanted to be waived.
The Sixers have a full roster, so they would need to waive/buyout a player if they even want to make a move. Thus, O’Quinn makes the most sense out of the remainder of the roster.
If Philly is to make any move, this option makes the most sense. The former Boston Celtics’ star has been trying to revamp his career since playing with an injured hip injury in the 2017 Eastern Conference Finals. What would be a better place to find a stable role than as a shooter in Philly?
Since being traded to the Cavaliers the summer following that ECF series for Kyrie Irving, IT hasn’t been able to truly settle back down on a team. He’s appeared with the Lakers, Nuggets, and Wizards since. Most recently, he was traded from Washington in a three-team deal that included Marcus Morris and was almost immediately waived by the Clippers.
IT is making shots from deep at a career pace this season. Thomas is in the middle of the best shooting stretch of his career. As a result, Thomas is averaging 12.2 PPG and nearly four assists. This is all while shooting over 41% from three. He’s played in 23.1 minutes a night for Washington this season, showing his durability at his age.
It seems like Dion Waiters may not be the most fan-favorite option here. Aside from the nonsense, he would be a great scorer off the bench. The former 4th overall pick is a Philadelphia native and has the option to come home again. Being back home could help subside his numerous, and somewhat outlandish, off the court issues.
For his career, he’s averaged 13.2 points and 2.8 assists, while converting 34.8 percent of his 3-pointers. He’s made the most of his very minimal minutes this season, however. In a total of 42 minutes, Waiters has made eight threes in his three appearances en route to his 28 total points this season. His scoring has been coming from beyond the arc in his limited opportunities.
We all know what this man can do. Flashing back to the devastating Sixers-Celtics series back in 2018 (ignoring the premature confetti), Belinelli kept the Sixers’ game 3 hopes alive:
Prior to that series, he played an integral role in helping the Sixers to win their first playoff series in six years. It’s the circus-style, catch-and-shoot player that the Sixers’ miss. After losing JJ Redick and his shooting, Belinelli could serve as a solid replacement option off of the Sixers’ bench.
Averaging about 15 minutes per night, Belinelli has not made much of an impact for the Spurs this season. Belinelli is averaging 5.4 points, and his three-point percentage is down three percent from his career average. As the Spurs are “determined and locked in to get the 8 seed,” Belinelli will likely be bought out. The change of scenery could work in Marco’s favor again this season, and Philadelphia should keep him on their radar.
The Home Stretch
Philadelphia has 27 games left the play this season. Sitting 4.5 games behind the Celtics for the three seed, every game will serve to be crucial.
On their remaining schedule, Philly will make it prime time in 11 games. As for their opponents, they have the second easiest schedule remaining, with a .455 SOS. After taking the season series against Boston all of the hope will come from other teams beating the C’s, which hasn’t been an easy task around the NBA.
As the Flyers would say, it’s now or never for the Sixers. As they look to make a deep playoff run, replacing a guy like Kyle O’quinn could be necessary.
Mandatory Credit: Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports