Philadelphia 76ers Free Agent Targets: Tyus Jones

LOS ANGELES, CA – FEBRUARY 21: Memphis Grizzlies forward Jaren Jackson Jr. (13), Tyus Jones, and Ja Morant sit on the bench before the Memphis Grizzlies vs Los Angeles Lakers game at Staples Center on Friday February 21, 2020. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire)

The Philadelphia 76ers are at a crossroads once again this offseason. They have an MVP candidate and true superstar in his prime with Joel Embiid. They have a former MVP and scoring champion with elite vision in James Harden, and they have a young stud guard who projects as an All-Star sooner rather than later. However, despite this, the 76ers once again lost in the second round of the NBA playoffs for the 4th time in 5 years, following a disappointing showing from the Sixers playoff rotation.

One of Philadelphia’s most consistent stumbling points has been the team’s lack of a solid bench unit. The Sixers’ bench scoring ranked 28th in the NBA’s regular season, while their bench assists ranked 27th. Among all their players by the end of the season, only 4 of them ended up holding averages in double digits, with all four being starters. Not a single bench player averaged even 10 points per game, with Georges Niang being the closest, averaging 9.2 points per game.

The 76ers need to acquire, whether through free agency or trade, someone this offseason who can help run a more cohesive second unit. Enter Memphis Grizzlies point guard and unrestricted free agent Tyus Jones.

Who is Tyus Jones?

Tyus Jones came to Memphis after four mediocre years with the Minnesota Timberwolves, where he then became one of the best backup point guards in the league. Jones, while never being an elite scorer, is one of the best floor generals available in free agency.

His unique blend of basketball IQ and ball protection would stabilize a bench unit in need of a steady hand. He averaged 8.7 points per game last season along with 4.4 assists while only turning the ball over 0.6 times per game, tying his career-low in turnovers per game while playing 21.2 minutes per game.

With Memphis having so many players they need to pay soon (Ja Morant, Desmond Bane, Brandon Clarke, Kyle Anderson) and Jaren Jackson Jr.’s contract kicking in, the Grizzlies will have to start operating under a budget. They may look to do a sign and trade with Jones, though his unrestricted free agency designation may make that difficult.

Jones would have to want to come to a place strapped for cap space for the Grizzlies to get any value back. The Sixers could provide that value by sending inexpensive guard Shake Milton and injured wing Danny Green to match the salary of Tyus’s new contract.

How would Jones help the 76ers?

For the 76ers, Jones would be an immediate upgrade to their bench. Jones, while not a major scoring threat, would help the Sixers, at the very least, have an improved bench unit that could make the team competitive in minutes where Embiid, Harden, or Maxey are resting.

The way that he sets up his teammates and plays solid defense, all while playing safe, smart, and effective basketball, would make him beloved in Philly for bringing a slimmer of hope back to the bench unit. He would provide the Sixers a lead ball-handler off of the bench and some playoff experience to a team that needs more proven bench players.