The Sixers have a huge offseason ahead of them after embarrassingly being swept by the Boston Celtics in round one of the playoffs. The Sixers have notoriously made poor decision during the past few off-seasons and it’s time for the front office to make the right ones this offseason and turn the Sixers into true contenders in the Eastern Conference. If I was in the front office, this is what I would do:
Take A Chance On Chauncey
Before I sat down to write this piece, I had it all figured out. The Sixers needed to take advantage of a possible mistake by the Nets and hire Jacque Vaughn as their head coach. He had completely overachieved with the roster he had, especially without Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. Then you factor in the injuries they suffered during the bubble, he really did work miracles.
Then the Steve Nash news dropped and I was ecstatic. The Nets had really just let one of the best coaches in the league go for a guy with no experience, it was incredible. Until Woj tweeted out that Vaughn was to stay on in Brooklyn as the highest paid assistant in the league. Heartbreak set in, I didn’t have a plan B and the dream was over before it even started. Ty Lue is an option I don’t even want to think about and the same goes for the likes of Jason Kidd, Mike Brown and others.
I started opening up to the choice of Stan Van Gundy. He’s been pretty vocal on commentary about the Sixers and what they need to do to improve. Maybe he could help out. Then, Chris Haynes swooped in like a knight in shining armor and posted a story about how ex-NBA star Chauncey Billups is actively looking for a head coaching role, and it’s a match made in heaven.
Everyone should know the story of Chauncey, but if you don’t here’s a quick recap. Chauncey was drafted by the Boston Celtics with the third overall pick back in 1997. He bounced around the league for a few years whilst showing some great potential as a star throughout. He ended up in Detroit in 2002 and ended up taking the league by storm, winning an NBA championship in 2004 whilst winning Finals MVP and went on to have a very successful career that ended in 2014.
Now you’re probably wondering why he’d be a good fit for the Sixers, given he’s not got a single drop of experience as a coach. Here’s why. He’d be an unknown enigma entering the league. Teams wouldn’t know what to expect from his team and no one knows how he wants to set up with tactics. He’s a guy who knows what it takes to win, to comeback from a tough start in your career and really go from the underdog to a star whilst being a leader on and off the court.
The Sixers have a great chance to make a statement to the league, similar to what the Nets did with the Steve Nash hire whilst pairing an exciting new coach with a potentially new and exciting roster. That’s something the Sixers need, a breath of fresh air. I would much rather take a chance on Chauncey than hire a guy like Ty Lue, Mike Brown, Jason Kidd, etc etc.
Sixers Need CP3
In terms of a trade, it’s pretty much set in stone for the Sixers that they need to find a way to move on from the horrific contracts they gave to both Al Horford and Tobias Harris. While I can see the Sixers giving Harris another year to prove himself, I think they should move on. Either way, here’s the trade I propose the Sixers fire off on:
Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, 21st overall pick in 2020 via Sixers
Chris Paul, Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes
Al Horford, Mike Scott, 2022 first via Sixers
When I first noted this trade down, it was before Chris Paul decided to take the Thunder to a game seven with the Rockets, so there’s a good chance the Thunder will want something else added to make it work. That something else could be another first round pick or, if the Thunder are interested, you could give them a young guy for their rebuild like Zhaire Smith or Matisse Thybulle.
However, the Sixers add Chris Paul, a true point guard that the Sixers are dying for. Paul will open up the floor for Simmons to drive inside, dish assists on a nightly basis to Embiid in the post, and will help out a shooter like Hield by giving him space to get three pointers off. His contract is still a hefty one to take on, but it ends before either of Harris’ and Horford’s so the Sixers will have cash to splash earlier than they currently do.
They also add a pure shooter to the lineup in Buddy Hield, who can shoot the lights out on any given night, something the Sixers desperately need. It’s clear the Kings regret giving the contract they gave to Hield and it gives them a chance to get rid of him. Hield would instantly add a lot more wins over the season to the Sixers given he has a 44.1% shot from anywhere on the court and a 41.1% three-point shot throughout his career. The Sixers also add a solid power forward in Harrison Barnes who gives them another option if and when they want to switch from Simmons at power forward to point guard.
In terms of the other teams and why they’d sign off on the trade, the Thunder add a quality forward in Harris to their starting lineup, who can be a good mentor to their extremely young squad, while adding a solid squad player like Josh Richardson. They also get back the pick in this year’s draft that they gave up to the Sixers just a few weeks ago. On the other hand, the Kings add an extremely good veteran center in Horford, something their roster is crying out for. They also add a solid squad player in Mike Scott and gain a first rounder down the line that could help solidify their new rebuild. They also get to give up both of Hield’s and Barnes’ contracts which helps them right the wrongs of their previous rebuild.
Free Agent Signings:
The Sixers are really restricted with the free agent signings they can make given their cap space is limited to say the least. However, there are options out there for the Sixers to consider:
Harris is an unrestricted free agent and one that Philadelphia should be all over. Just like Buddy Hield, Harris is a pure shooter on the court and will elevate that Sixers roster massively if they manage to sign him. With a career field goal percentage of 47.9% and a three-point percentage of 42.6%, Harris is a guy you give the ball to on the perimeter, sit back, and watch him shoot the lights out on any given night. If the Sixers can add a Chris Paul like point guard who can space the court really well, Harris will just go off in Philadelphia. It really is a match made in heaven and exactly what the Sixers are crying out for.
If the Sixers decide to move on from Tobias Harris and his awful contract via a trade, then the Sixers will have to bring someone in who can try to do what Harris couldn’t. It’s a tough ask to do especially with the lack of cap space, but a guy who can do a decent job of that is restricted free agent Dario Saric. Unfortunately for Philly, he is a restricted free agent this year so it makes signing him tough. If they can make it happen, he’s definitely worth it.
While Saric’s three-point shooting isn’t anywhere near as good as other guys I’ve mentioned in this article, his career percentage from beyond the perimeter is 35.8%, Saric is a very handy scorer from within the arc, with a 44.1% field goal percentage to his name over his four year career so far. His minutes dropped this year with the Suns which could mean they’re looking to move on, but his production levels, for the most part, stayed the same. He ended up taking much better shots, 47.6% field goal percentage in this year’s regular season. If the Sixers managed to pull off a trade for Barnes and Hield, Saric would be a nice rotational piece to have coming off the bench, which the Sixers need drastically.
Heading into the 2020 draft the Sixers currently hold one first round pick, the 21st overall, and four second round picks, 34th, 36th, 49th, 58th overall. Whilst the drafting choices by the Sixers haven’t been the best the past few years, they have a good chance to add quality young depth to their roster, especially with those four second round picks. Here are my suggestions for each pick.
A lot of Sixers fans are wanting the team to get a package together and trade up in this draft, given the depth isn’t the greatest, and get a guy like Aaron Nesmith. While I can see the benefits from that, I decided to get value out of the 21st pick and draft a point guard by the name of Tyrell Tyler.
Tyler surprised a lot of people when he announced he was entering this year’s draft given many saw him still a year out of contention for the NBA, but he’s here and he’s definitely deserving of a first round grade. Watching him play reminded me a little of CJ McCollum, a guy who can score both inside and outside of the arc at a really good rate (47% field goal percentage and a 40.8% three-point shot.) He can also dish the ball well enough, rebounds well given his size and position, and has an almost 90% free throw percentage.
The downside to Tyler is that he’s still a year off from being a true NBA prospect. He still needs time to develop and he needs to put some weight on and work on his body a lot. He only weighs 160lbs and will benefit from spending a year with an NBA-quality strength and conditioning team. Not having him for the first year will suck for the Sixers, but they have time with Ben and Shake at point guard holding down the fort for him.
Second Round Targets
A power forward out of Maryland, Smith has shown a great deal of potential as both a scorer inside the paint and a really solid for someone in his position. He also has quality free throw accuracy that partners well with how he powerfully dribbles inside. He has much more room to become even stronger than he is and that will help him massively in the paint and when rebounding on both ends of the court.
During his time in Arizona, Mannion made his name as a pass-first point guard, showing his unbelievable vision and court awareness, whilst getting the best out of every single one of his teammates. He really was set to break into at least the top 10 prospects this year but a poor shooting year against Pac-12 defenders hurt his draft stock considerably. While he won’t go out and shoot the lights out, he’ll create space, allow Simmons to move to power forward, and get the best out of everyone on the court. I’d only take Mannion if they fail to get Tyler at 21.
Don’t let the name fool you, Jay is a great value pick at shooting guard in the mid/late second round. As a left-handed shooter, Jay hit 51 of 110 from three-point range as a freshman in JUCO and worked his way up to being the number one rated JUCO player in the draft class. Scrubb has a long way to developing to an NBA level talen, but has shown he has the fundamentals of being a really good perimeter shooter in an NBA bench lineup.
Omer might be my favorite late second round sleeper for this year. Omer burst onto the scene as a potential NBA prospect when he dropped a 91-point, 28 rebound game in Europe in 2016. Since then he has European scouts drooling over him and while he’s spent his time as a forward, I’d imagine he moves to center given his skills as a scorer all over the court. I’d imagine a team over in Europe would pay a hefty amount to have him play over there, so he may not see the court straight away for the Sixers. He would be a great development center whilst Horford and Embiid lock down the position for the next few years.
This Offseason Is Make Or Break
The whole off season is truly make or break for the Sixers If they get the decision wrong as they have for the past few years, they really have screwed The Process up and ruined a once in a lifetime chance with two real stars as a duo in Embiid and Simmons. However, follow my plan and all will be good in Philadelphia!
Mandatory Credit – Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire