The Sixers are 19th in the league in assists per game over the course of the season, according to TeamRankings. The need for a true point guard has been brought up again and again with Ben Simmons currently sidelined due to mental health issues and a back injury.
The hope was that the young stud out of Kentucky in Tyrese Maxey would be able to run the offense alone, or perhaps with the help of Shake Milton that someone would be able to step up as the new point guard, whether or not Ben Simmons returned to the team. That has not been the case, though, as Tyrese Maxey has not been performing as well as the starting point guard as he did with the second unit last year, and Shake Milton has not been healthy enough to get a chance.
He has regressed in Player Efficiency Rating (PER) from 14.5 to 13.2. His assist percentage has also fallen from 19.9% to 16.2%. On top of this, nearly all of his per 36 stats have regressed, with points per game dropping from 18.8 to 15.6 and his assist per game going from 4.6 to 3.9.
All of this being said, Maxey will continue to be a great piece for this 76ers team. Long term, he still can be a fantastic starter in the future; he just hasn’t proved that he is ready yet.
With this hole at point guard, the Sixers would be wise to look at the remaining free-agent point guards.
Jeff Teague is a former All-Star point guard coming off of a championship run with the Milwaukee Bucks who has started 600 games over the course of his 14-year career. He scored 6.6 points per game last year on 43.3/43.9/84.8 shooting for the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks. Teague would bring a fantastic veteran present for Tyrese Maxey to learn from and would provide an influx of playmaking, with his career Assist Percentage sitting at 32.3%.
Dante Exum was the 5th overall pick in the 2014 NBA draft, heading to the Utah Jazz, and while he never was good enough to be taken 5th overall, he still carries value as a tall (6’6”) and willing defender in the 1-3 spots. While Exum is not a good source of offense (career splits of 40.7/30.5/76.4), his defense may provide enough to have the Sixers give him a look.
Tim Frazier is one of those guys who has bounced around a lot, playing for 7 different teams in his seven-year career, one of which was with the 76ers. He is a smart player and solid playmaker and has shown signs of being a decent shooter (see 2018-2019 with the Bucks). However, there are many reasons as to why he has been on as many teams as years he has played.
That being said, his passing ability and his potential from three might urge the Sixers and Daryl Morey to give him a look. His per 36 stats of 10.1 points per game, 8.2 assists per game, and 1.4 steals per game could be enough for a potential workout.
Matthew Dellavedova or “Outback Jesus” would be an interesting signing. Like Jeff Teague, Dellavedova has championship experience and a lot of experience in the NBA in general, both of which would help him to mentor Tyrese Maxey. On top of his Finals experience, Delly has proven to be a capable three-point shooter over the years, shooting 36.4% for his career. Most exciting has been his growth as a passer.
Over the last two seasons for Cleveland, Dellavedova has posted assists per game of 3.2 and 4.5 while playing in a total of 70 games over the same time period. Delly would be an extremely fun addition to this team, albeit even if he is just a good locker room guy to throw in at the end of losses.
”Linsanity” feels like a lifetime ago, and while Jeremy Lin will never be a superstar, he has proved year after year that he is willing to put in the work. Last year, Lin even spent a year in the G League with the Santa Cruz Warriors, putting up 18.5 points per game and 4.7 assists per game in an attempt to make an NBA comeback.
His ability to steadily run the second unit should not be overlooked, and even if Lin can only bring a steady hand to the second unit and a veteran prescience for Maxey, he is worth taking a look at.
Isaiah Thomas, the 2 time NBA All-Star, would be one of the most fun players the Sixers could bring onto this team. Obviously, Isaiah Thomas was at one time a great point guard, and a string of injuries has caused him to regress and start to fall out of the league, last playing 3 games for the Pelicans last year and shooting an underwhelming 33.0/25.0/100.0 in a small sample size.
However, it’s hard to argue against what he could bring to this team in spades: veteran leadership. Isaiah Thomas is one of the players I see that plays with the most heart. He plays with the biggest chip on his shoulder and with enough energy to spark a second unit.
He would be able to run a second unit efficiently and would do anything to help his team win. Isaiah Thomas may not be the MVP vote-getting player he once was, but he definitely deserves a legitimate shot at playing again in this league, especially after dropping 81 in a Pro-Am league. Daryl Morey, give this man a chance.