How To Solve The Sixers Backup Point Guard Problem

Ben Simmons
PHILADELPHIA, PA – MAY 05: Philadelphia 76ers Guard Ben Simmons (25) looks on during warmups before the Eastern Conference Semifinal Game between the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers on May 05, 2018 at Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA. (Photo by Kyle Ross/Icon Sportswire)

The Sixers have a backup point guard problem. How can the team go about addressing this issue, and who are the names to watch?

The recent loss to the Trail Blazers was one of the most disappointing games of the season. Without Dame Lillard and a substantial portion of their other contributors, the Blazers dominated the game just about from start to finish.

Portland entered the game as the 26th ranked team in terms of NBA team defense, allowing 117.1 points per game. Currently, the Sixers are ranked 11th in the NBA, averaging 113.7 points per game.

Unfortunately, this did not come to fruition against the Blazers, and the offense sputtered with the new-look starting lineup.

The lack of ball-handlers in the lineup was noticeable. Without the heroic 37-point effort from Joel Embiid, the Sixers would have been blown out by the weakened Trail Blazer squad.

The Australian Elephant in the Room

The absence of Ben Simmons in the starting lineup was all too noticeable. Simmons haters should take note and appreciate the things he adds to the team. Even those that do not go appear on the stat sheet.

The starting lineup of Furkan Korkmaz, Seth Curry, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid features 0 players known for their passing ability.

Of the group, Seth Curry is looked at as the best ball-handler, but he is still far from a pass-first player, and setting him up for the catch-and-shoot jumper is still the best way to utilize his skillset.

If Ben Simmons was active for this game, there is no doubt the offense would have looked cleaner. Shooters would have found the ball in better areas, and the offense would have been more effective overall.

Ben Simmons is far from a traditional PG, but he is the only true PG The Sixers have on the roster. Seth Curry has been thrown into this role and has been serviceable, but there are undoubtedly better options out there.

Even in the 2016-17 season in which Curry played most of his minutes at PG for the Mavericks, he only averaged just 2.7 assists per game. Seth started 42 of the 70 games he played this season on a career-high 29 minutes per game.

Other PG Options on Sixers Current Roster

The experiment of Shake Milton at point guard was, for the most part deemed a failure after last season. Shake is a vital part of the team and under arguably the best contract in the NBA, but he excels at creating a shot for himself rather than setting up others.

Tyrese Maxey has been impressive so far this season. However, he has recently slipped into more of the expected rookie mistakes, such as turning the ball over and looking tentative off catch-and-shoot situations.

The rookie has been much more developed than just about anyone would have guessed at this point. However, relying on him for any significant playoff minutes is a tall order for such a young player.

Maxey is a great long-term option for the team and can be a building block for the Sixers. However, if the Sixers are in “win-now” mode and looking to win a championship this year, the bench would be vastly improved if a veteran PG was added.

Outside of Ben Simmons, there is an extreme lack of guys who can create shots for others. Improving the bench with an option like it could go a far way in raising the team’s ceiling.

Possible Additions For The Sixers

George Hill

At 34 years old, George Hill has grown into a perfect veteran on a contending team. He has made stops at several NBA teams, including spending time with the Spurs, Pacers, Bucks, and is currently at the Thunder.

The Thunder have made it known they are willing to wheel and deal as they have 16 first-round and 13 second-round picks through the next 7 drafts.

Hill would be a great addition to the bench and could provide staring minutes if Simmons cannot suit up.

Patty Mills

The first word that should be used to describe Patty Mills is energy. Once known more for his towel-waving and celebrations from the pine than his play, Mills has grown immensely.

Now in his 12th NBA season, Mills has grown comfortable in his role of a bench guard. He is currently playing a career-high 25.6 minutes per game on the 5th place Spurs. Mills competes hard and possesses a quick first-step along with a career 39% three-point percentage.

The Aussie would become the most “true point guard” on the roster and has already proven capable of playing championship-level minutes in the playoffs from his time with the Spurs.

Ish Smith

It would be a heartwarming reunion for Process-product Ish Smith to come back to the Sixers. Now on the Wizards, Smith is likely a feasible trade option as the deadline approaches.

He would provide veteran leadership for the young bench group and could effectively run the second unit. Smith averaged a career-high 14.7 points in the 50 games he played in Philly.

Ish is not a flashy target, but these types of under-the-radar moves are what Morey specializes in and the key to building a championship roster.