3 low-cost Big-Man targets for Sixers in Free Agency

NBA: APR 02 Heat at Bulls
CHICAGO, IL – APRIL 02: Miami Heat forward P.J. Tucker (17) in action before a NBA game between the Miami Heat and the Chicago Bulls on April 2, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

As the Sixers look to complete their roster it should not be a surprise if a big man is on their list of desired targets. Doc Rivers is clearly most comfortable when operating with a veteran big man in his rotation.

Andre Drummond made a solid impact prior to being included in the trade for James Haden.

The growth of Paul Reed was notable throughout last season and he made a positive impact during the playoffs. His switchability and style of play are a great fit in the modern NBA and the effort level he brings is a major asset to the Sixers.

Charles Bassey only played a total of just 168 minutes last season but has an intriguing skill set moving forward.

While the focus must remain on developing these two young big men, the Sixers’ focus is on contending right now. If there is a win-now veteran that can improve the team it is a route Morey should at least explore taking. Here are three names to keep an eye on as free agency is set to begin.

3 Low-Cost Big-Man Targets for Sixers in Free Agency

PJ Tucker

He may not be a big man in the traditional sense, but PJ Tucker Sixers jerseys might as well be on sale already. There have been rumors connecting PJ Tucker to the Sixers since the season ended. While this move was perceived to be a certainty before it was even monetarily possible, the opt-out from James Harden paved the way to make it possible.

PJ Tucker is a pugnacious competitor who has experience playing the small-ball center with the Rockets. He has been sought after as a teammate by both Joel Embiid and James Harden this offseason which makes the signing so important. There are concerns about the age and length of the deal for the 37-year-old, but he is a perfect fit for what the Sixers have been missing for several years.

Even at his advanced age, PJ Tucker was arguably the second-most impactful player on the Miami Heat team that sent the Sixers packing in the playoffs. Tucker brings an admirable competitive spirit that the Sixers lack in a major way. This will help set the tone for the team and elevate the competitive nature of the franchise. This also should not distract from the on-court fit as Tucker’s floor spacing and versatile defense will be a major asset.

Gorgui Dieng

If the Sixers are in search of a more traditional big man in addition to Tucker, Gorgui Dieng would be an interesting player to watch. The 7-footer has shown flashes of potential throughout his career but has been unable to fully put the pieces together. Dieng has career averages of 7.5 points, 5.7 rebounds, 1.3 assists, 0.9 blocks, and 0.8 steals. He also has an intriguing perimeter shot and is a career 36.7% three-point shooter.

The perimeter shooting ability is a major deal when looking a Gorgui Dieng’s fit on the Sixers. This provides more lineup versatility and prevents him from being the pure old-fashioned style of big man the Sixers should be avoiding. The 32-year-old will likely not require too large of a paycheck and could be a solid insurance policy if the young centers are not ready.

Hassan Whiteside

While there have not been any reports connecting the two, Hassan Whiteside seems like the exact type of big man Morey and Rivers tend to target. The two-time block champion spent last season as the primary backup for Rudy Gobert with the Utah Jazz. In 17.9 minutes per game, he averaged 8.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 1.6 assists per game. This type of production would be very effective at the Sixers’ backup big man position.

The 33-year-old has proven to be impactful as a backup which should hold appeal. Whiteside is effective in playing a low-usage role and would be a clean fit with the Sixers’ second unit. He is more than capable of anchoring a defense and could do this when Joel Embiid is on the court. Adding this type of high pedigree player on a low-value deal is exactly what Morey traditionally targets. Hassan Whiteside fits this category and would be a positive addition to the Sixers’ backup big man options.

Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire