The Philadelphia 76ers’ season is over and they are yet again facing a crucial offseason. This one maybe even more important than before as they are now without a Head Coach and might be running out of time to put a winning team around their two stars.
Elton Brand is beginning his first season officially having complete autonomy over the team (allegedly). Any trades, draft picks, or free agents will all be credited to Brand. All eyes will be on him and he will certainly be the first scapegoat should the team fail yet again.
Many decisions will have to be made from the Head Coach to roster moves. In our third installment of the 76ers Offseason Plan series, we will take a look at my hopes and dreams for this once-proud organization.
76ers’ New Coach
The 76ers need a Head Coach to replace Brett Brown. I have been a fan of Jacque Vaughn taking control of this team for months. Unfortunately (in my mind), Vaughn recently agreed to return to the Brooklyn Nets as Steve Nash’s right-hand man.
Adrian Griffin is the consolation prize though (if he could even be considered as such.) If the Sixers land Griffin, they will have landed themselves an exciting up-and-comer that could be a difference-maker for this franchise. The current lead assistant for the Toronto Raptors, Griffin is looked at as one of the premier head coaching prospects.
Griffin is credited with being the defensive mind behind the Raptors, who boast one of the top defenses in the entire league. A defensive mind like his could fit like a glove with Philadelphia’s defensive building blocks (Embiid, Simmons, Thybulle). While his inexperience may scare some people away, the NBA has shown recently that experience may be overrated, at least for head coaches.
Three of the past five championships were won by rookie head coaches while the other two were repeats by one of those head coaches. Now granted, those coaches benefitted from immense talent, but so would Griffin should he become the 76ers’ new coach.
Of the available pool, Griffin is my top choice for the Philadelphia 76ers. His defensive prowess alone is reason enough, but he would also provide championship experience.
76ers’ Make a Trade
A trade is nearly a forgone conclusion for the 76ers. Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and even Tobias Harris could all find themselves on the trading block as the team looks to remake their roster once more. I would be hesitant to rush to move Harris in spite of his poor postseason performance and high salary. A move to power forward may be all Harris needs and it may be possible if the Sixers move Ben Simmons back to his preferred position of Point Guard.
The goal has to be adding shooting around Simmons and Embiid. It’s a simple concept, yet one that has eluded Philadelphia for years. If I’m moving someone, I would focus on Al Horford and would look at the New Orleans Pelicans as a trade partner:
Al Horford, Josh Richardson, Furkan Korkmaz, the Sixers’ 34th & 36th overall picks, and the Sixers’ 2021 first-round pick (top 10 protected)
Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick
Why New Orleans Does it
Why would the Pelicans agree to this trade? well for two reasons: now, and later. The Pelicans are apparently in a rush for the postseason as shown by their recent firing of Alvin Gentry. The move was a surprise as it seemed previously that Gentry was going to have a legitimate opportunity to grow the Zion-led Pelicans.
For now, the appeal is the talent they are receiving back. Despite the obvious desire to trade him, Al Horford is still a talented player and while his days as an All-Star may be over, he can anchor a defense and help open up the floor for Zion. Richardson meanwhile provides some much-needed defense at the wing and even at 27 years of age, is still full of unlocked potential.
As far as the latter is concerned, the addition of two draft picks, especially the 2021 pick, could prove crucial for the Pelicans. While that pick likely won’t directly bring NOLA their next star, along with Richardson, it would be useful ammunition towards one of the stars on the trade block. Adding that pick to their own and the Lakers, the Pelicans would have what they need to target the likes of Bradley Beal, Zach LaVine, or dare I say, Giannis Antetokounmpo
Why Philadelphia Does it
Now for the Sixers, it may look like they are giving up a lot but there’s one important thing to remember with this trade: fit. The fit that Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick would provide is a noticeable improvement from Horford and Richardson. The defense of Holiday paired with the shooting of Redick could cure much of what is ailing this Sixers’ team. The leadership that both provide is only one of the many reasons why this would be a sensical deal for the Sixers’. Not to mention that both are familiar with the city as they are both former Sixers.
76ers’ Free Agency
It’s no well-kept secret that the 76ers are strapped for cash. The team has nothing close to what would be described as flexibility when it comes to the salary cap. Thanks to what’s known as the “Taxpayer mid-level exception“, the Sixers will have just under $6 million to play with.
That certainly limits their candidates but it’s better than nothing. The key will be finding the right role player(s) to fit the Sixers’ current roster.
Is he perfect? No. Is he cheap? Yes. While Wannamaker is far from an exciting name, he is a realistic one. The Philadelphia native is one option for the Sixers to offer the veteran’s minimum.
Bonus: he can shoot and defend a little bit.
Aron Baynes is a backup Center, and the Sixers need a backup Center. Easy enough. What Baynes really brings to the table though is spacing, toughness, and playoff experience.
Now Baynes and Embiid have history and it’s not particularly positive, but there should be no concerns about the two playing together. Both are wise enough to bury any hatchet that there may be.
We now come to another Philadelphia area native in Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. While he has little to offer in terms of shooting, RHJ will likely be the premier defender in the Sixers’ price range.
A low usage athlete with great defensive instincts? Sounds like a perfect fit for the Sixers. RHJ has been a pivotal piece for the Toronto Raptors this season and could be recruited by his former coach, Adrian Griffin.
Trade Up: Sixers trade up to the 15th pick with the Orlando Magic
15th overall pick
21st, 34th, and 36th overall picks
Assuming the Sixers don’t trade for Jrue Holiday, they should look to move up from 21. In what is considered by many to be a “weak” draft, the Sixers may have the perfect opportunity to do just that. Should they reach 15 or higher, there would be a few names for the Sixers to have in mind. Two players the Sixers should consider are Precious Achiuwa (PF) and Cole Anthony (PG).
Precious Achiuwa is a 6’9″ defensive beauty out of Memphis. When James Wiseman left the program, Achiuwa became the Tigers’ most exciting prospect and for good reason. Precious dominates both the boards and opposing players with his size and athleticism. If he can extend his range, he can become one of the best two-way players in this draft, maybe even the league.
Anthony meanwhile has stumbled further and further down draft boards after a messy season for North Carolina. The Tar Heels were terrible though with or without him. As much as one player can make an impact in the NBA, college is a different game. Wherever Anthony lands, it won’t be long before he’s thought of as a draft-day steal. The quick-trigger point guard could be a welcome addition to bolster the Sixers’ bench. Perhaps in time, he could even become the team’s starting guard in a couple of seasons.
I’m not much of a believer that the Philadelphia 76ers should keep the 21st pick in the upcoming draft. Ideally, the team would trade up, though trading out of the first round is an option as well. If Elton Brand decides to stay at 21 though, the player to look at is Stanford point guard Tyrell Terry. An absolute lights out shooter, Terry could make Sixers’ fans forget the name Landry Shamet.
In addition to his ability to shoot, Terry is a capable defender as well. His small frame is a concern but time is on his side as he is only 19 years old.
A young shooter is about the best-case-scenario for the Sixers at 21.
2nd Round Targets:
The shortlist for me is as follows:
All could find their fit with the Sixers as capable role-players. Oturu could fit as a backup center who can rebound is excess and space the floor. Dotson may fit as a two-way point guard who is just a jump shot away from being a starter. Finally, Nwora may have the highest ceiling of them all as a 3-&-D wing. He has Trevor Ariza potential and if you can find that in the second round, you take it.
Once again, this offseason will be crucial for the Sixers. Many decisions must be made and Elton Brand must be on is game. From offseason trades to free agency and the draft, the Sixers must make moves. They cannot afford to waste any more time or assets than they already have.
Though the team seems far from contention at the end of their season, it’s not as drastic as many think. As long as they have Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, they are only a few moves away.
Mandatory Credit –
Lead Philadelphia 76ers writer for Philly Sports Network. Follow me on Twitter @ZCiavoPSN and follow the rest of our team for more quality content.
“The key to success is to keep growing in all areas of life – mental, emotional, spiritual, as well as physical” – DR. J