Should the Sixers be in the market for another center?

Montrezl Harrell
Philadelphia 76ers center Montrezl Harrell, left, shoots as Houston Rockets forward Jabari Smith Jr., right, defends during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Dec. 5, 2022, in Houston. (AP Photo/Eric Christian Smith)

One of the most important roster decisions the Philadelphia 76ers have made over the last few seasons is who will back up Joel Embiid. Throughout the years, many players have played in Embiid’s absence on the court. The Sixers have had Amir Johnson, Greg Monroe, Kyle O’Quinn, Dwight Howard, and Andre Drummond to name a few. Drummond seemed to be the best backup center the Sixers had in the Embiid era but was traded to Brooklyn Nets in the package in exchange for James Harden.

After Drummond was traded, Head Coach Doc Rivers played DeAndre Jordan, Paul Millsap, and Paul Reed as the reserve for Embiid. Fans were vocal about giving Reed consistent minutes as the reserve center and in the playoffs. Reed showed his ability to be a versatile defender with the potential to be a contributor in the future.

Coming into this season, the front office signed Montrezl Harrell to provide some depth at the center position, but many still saw Reed as the backup. With Coach Rivers’ changing who gets minutes behind Embiid week to week, the Sixers may need to look into other options.

If they will not let Reed develop on the court, the organization should constantly look into the center market for options Rivers can trust. Take a look at some options in the trade market that the Sixers could consider:

The Sixers Add Athletic Big

LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 01: Sacramento Kings Center Damian Jones (30) warms up prior to an NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Sacramento Kings on December 1, 2021, at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Brandon Sloter/Icon Sportswire)

Philadelphia 76ers receive:

Damian Jones

Los Angeles Lakers receive:

Montrezl Harrell

Damian Jones is an athletic big man who thrives on pick-and-roll action on offense. Jones is the type of lob threat that could really be dangerous with James Harden. Harden has been really successful in screen and roll action with a big that can catch lobs. That opens up Harden’s ability to either throw lobs or shoot floaters when Embiid isn’t on the floor. Jones had his most productive season in the association last season with the Kings and would certainly be an upgrade on defense over Harrell. Jones is still a little raw but he is younger than Harrell and this team needs an injection of athleticism.

Sixers Bring Back An Old Face

Houston Rockets guard Jalen Green (4) shoots a layup against Chicago Bulls center Andre Drummond (3) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Monday, Dec. 26, 2022, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Quinn Harris)

Philadelphia 76ers receive:

Andre Drummond

Chicago Bulls receive:

Montrezl Harrell

2022 Second-Round Pick (CHA)

Andre Drummond had some really good moments as the backup center for the Philadelphia 76ers last season before being traded to the Brooklyn Nets in the James Harden trade. During the offseason, he signed with the Chicago Bulls. His marriage with the Bulls hasn’t quite gone as predicted, playing the lowest amount of minutes in his career.

After a solid postseason, Paul Reed was declared the backup center but has recently seemed to fall out of favor with Head Coach Doc Rivers. Montrezl Harrell has gotten the majority of the reserve minutes in the last four games. If Doc Rivers is not going to play Paul Reed and continue his development, the front office should trade for a better fit as a backup center. Drummond is more of a lob threat and could work very well with James Harden.

Sixers Look to Texas For Center Depth

CHICAGO, IL – DECEMBER 10: Dallas Mavericks Center Dwight Powell (7) slam dunks during a NBA game between the Dallas Mavericks and the Chicago Bulls on December 10, 2022 at the United Center in Chicago, IL. (Photo by Melissa Tamez/Icon Sportswire)

Philadelphia 76ers receive:

Dwight Powell

2028 First-Round Pick (lottery protected)

Dallas Mavericks receive:

Matisse Thybulle

Montrezl Harrell

Jaden Springer

In this scenario, the Sixers add an undersized but athletic big from the Dallas Mavericks. Dwight Powell has been a mainstay with the Mavs in recent years but recently his minutes have decreased in Dallas. Powell has worked well playing with a ball-dominant player like Luka Doncic and would be a good big off the bench to pair with Harden during stints with Joel Embiid on the bench. Powell has the athleticism to go up and catch lobs and has a good knack for finishing around the rim in general.

The Mavericks were rumored to be interested in Matisse Thybulle during the last offseason and can add him to help fortify their defense. Harrell could fall right into the role that Powell vacated and the Dallas could take a flier on Jaden Springer.

If Doc Rivers is not going to play Paul Reed and let him develop, the Sixers should look to upgrade the depth at center to someone who can eat up regular season minutes and someone that the coaching staff trusts in the playoffs.