3 role-playing guards the Sixers should target this offseason

Washington Wizards guard Tyus Jones (5) shoots against Philadelphia 76ers forward KJ Martin (1) and forward Paul Reed (44) during the first half of an NBA basketball game Saturday, Feb. 10, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)
AP Photo/Nick Wass

There’s a lot of talk about the Philadelphia 76ers‘ offseason plans right now. With the playoffs raging and the Sixers getting ready to retool the team around Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, many fans have been left speculating about Philadelphia and Daryl Morey’s plans this offseason.

Names like Paul George, Jimmy Butler, and LeBron James are constantly being mentioned in the rumor mill, but there’s still a chance that the 76ers will decide to go with a higher quantity of non-star players this offseason. With a respectable upcoming free agent class and a ton of money to spend, there is a certain level of guarded optimism for this offseason among the Sixers faithful.

Malik Monk

Sacramento Kings guard Malik Monk (0) brings the ball down court against Orlando Magic center Moritz Wagner (21) during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, March 23, 2024, in Orlando, Fla. (AP Photo/Kevin Kolczynski)

Malik Monk would immediately be the best sixth man the Philadelphia 76ers have had since Jamal Crawford. The Sixth Man of the Year runner-up has appeared in 72 games for the Sacramento Kings this year, averaging 15.4 points and 5.1 assists per game while shooting 44.3% from the field and 35.0% from beyond the arc. He has also proven effective in the playoffs throughout his career. While the Kings missed out in the playoffs this season, last year, in Monk’s first playoff series ever, he averaged 19.0 points per game in the Kings seven-game series against the Golden State Warriors.

Coming into his free agency, Monk will be looking to cash in on his excellent play over the past two years in Sacramento. With 149 games played and a pay rise certain for the former Kentucky guard, the Sixers should be excited about the possibility of adding him to their roster. While Monk’s defensive capabilities often leave much to be desired, his playmaking and scoring could make him one of the most valuable players on the Sixers, should Philadelphia give him a significant contract.

Tyus Jones

Washington Wizards guard Tyus Jones (5)looks to shoot against Detroit Pistons center Jalen Duren (0) and guard Alec Burks (14) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Monday, Jan. 15, 2024, in Washington. (AP Photo/Nick Wass)

Tyus Jones is potentially the most archetypical point guard in the NBA at this point. A smaller guard, standing at just 6’1″, Jones is one of the best playmakers and conductors in the sport. With the Sixers’ lack of playmaking, it makes sense that Philadelphia would express interest in him. This past season, Jones played for the Washington Wizards and averaged a career-high in points (12.0), assists (7.3), field goal percentage (48.9%), and three-point percentage (41.4%). With his average of 1.0 turnovers per game, Jones has also now had 9 consecutive NBA seasons of averaging one or fewer turnovers a game.

On the other hand, there are valid concerns with Tyus Jones. Questions about the effectiveness of a Jones/Maxey backcourt in the playoffs immediately arise when considering that neither Maxey nor Jones has the height of an average NBA shooting guard. We’ve seen similarly sized backcourts have some playoff success, like the Timberwolves and the Cavaliers, but it is worth pointing out that only two starting guards from the past 2 Finals matchups have been shorter than 6’3″ (Kyrie Irving and Gabe Vincent).

That being said, the Sixers’ playmaking was a major issue last season, and Tyus Jones would certainly alleviate that. Maxey and Embiid were the only guys on the team to average more than five assists a game, and Tobias Harris finished third on the team with 3.1 assists per game (minimum of 30 games played). While Jones would be a fantastic player for Philadelphia, it wouldn’t destroy the offseason should he sign with another team.

Malik Beasley

76ers sixers
Milwaukee Bucks’ Malik Beasley (5) goes up for a shot against Philadelphia 76ers’ Kyle Lowry during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Sunday, Feb. 25, 2024, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Malik Beasley could realistically be one of the most consistent role players in this free-agent class. He’s a three-point shooter with tons of experience playing next to stars like LeBron James, Nikola Jokic, and Giannis Antetokounmpo. Beasley spent last year with the Bucks on a veteran minimum contract.

Despite his low pay, Beasley appeared in the second-most games on the team (77) and had the 4th most minutes played (2,337). He averaged 11.3 points and 3.7 rebounds a game, shooting 44.3% from the field and a career-high 41.3% from beyond the arc. Beasley’s volume from beyond the arc was also impressive, taking 6.9 threes per game, which was good enough for second on the team.

With 37 playoff games under his belt, Beasley would also be a proven playoff presence for the Sixers as they try to build a contender around Joel Embiid. The concern there is the inconsistencies through his four playoff runs. During his time with the organizations, Beasley shot over 40.0% from three with the Bucks and the Nuggets. With the Lakers and the Timberwolves, Beasley shot 32.0% or lower. While that may be more indicative of the situations he was in rather than the type of player he is, it is something to keep in mind during free agency.

While he hasn’t been the best defender thus far through his career, at only 27 years old, and a coach like Nick Nurse, Beasley may be able to take that side of his game to the next level, similar to Kelly Oubre Jr.’s excellent two-way play this year. With Beasley’s excellent shooting last year for the Milwaukee Bucks, he could be looking to score a serious contract this offseason, especially considering the demand for more and more shooting around the league. The Sixers would be able to outbid nearly any team for Beasley’s services, and while there are some concerns around consistency, Beasley should still pique the interest of the Sixers.