After high hopes, in what was to be a championship contending year, the Sixers season ended in disappointing fashion after a 4-0 sweep, in round 1, to the rival, Boston Celtics. Now that the offseason dates are confirmed – November 18th NBA Draft, November 20-22 proposed start of free agency, December 1st start date to begin training camps, December 22nd opening night – Elton Brand and Daryl Morey will put their minds together and find a way to bring this city the championship they have been craving since 1983.
Under Contract for 2020-21
Tobias Harris ($33,517,241)
Al Horford ($27,500,000)
Joel Embiid ($29,542,010)
Josh Richardson ($10,800,000)
Ben Simmons ($29,250,000)
Mike Scott ($5,005,350)
Zhaire Smith ($3,204,600)
Matisse Thybulle ($2,711,280)
Shake Milton ($1,701,593)
*Glenn Robinson III ($2,071,978)
**Furkan Korkmaz ($1,762,796)
**Not Fully Guaranteed
To simplify the Sixers current cap situation: Two bad contracts, two stars locked up long-term, and three really attractive contracts. Tobias Harris and Al Horford will be in year two of their awful contracts (5 years/$180 million and 4 years/$109 million, respectively), Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are locked up for five and three seasons, respectively, and Josh Richardson ($10+ million), Matisse Thybulle ($2+ million), and Shake Milton ($1+ million) are bargains in their current deals.
Every fan, analyst, and talk show host believes that, at least, one player will be moved this offseason, and the consensus is Al Horford. After signing a long term deal last summer, he just wasn’t able to replicate his play from his days in Boston and Atlanta. His raw numbers weren’t far off, however, his efficiency and defense fell off of a cliff. You can blame his fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, you can blame former Head Coach, Brett Brown, or you can blame his age. Either way, Horford was a problem, and his contract practically makes him immoveable. What will likely need to happen is for the Sixers to take a loss or two in order to move his contract and that will be mentioned later.
Round 1 Pick 21 (via OKC)
Round 2 Pick 34 (via ATL)
Round 2 Pick 36 (via NYK)
Round 2 Pick 49
Round 2 Pick 58 (via ORL)
The city of Philadelphia should thank star, Chris Paul, personally, for this pick. After getting rid of Paul George last summer, and a surprise Russell Westbrook for Chris Paul trade, the majority of NBA fans assumed GM Sam Presti was headed towards the draft lottery. After stellar play from Chris Paul, as well as a few other members of the team, the Thunder made the playoffs, and landed just outside of the top 20 to send the Sixers their draft pick.
Long gone (hopefully) are the days where the Sixers front office sold every 2nd round pick in order to fund Josh Harris’ private jets. There is a slim chance all five picks will be made, however, barring any player + pick trades, the top three picks should result in two or three rotational players for the upcoming season. Below are three guys that I would consider with pick 21, along with five second round players to keep an eye on.
Tyrell Terry, PG, Stanford
Initially said to be 6’1 155 pounds, Tyrell Terry measured at 6’3 174 pounds at the NBA Combine. Arguable the best 3pt shooter in the draft, the Stanford freshman is one of my favorite prospects. Terry is a pure shooter, with limitless range, and an effortless release. He’s also very crafty. Despite his slim frame, Terry can get to the basket and has a variety of finishing moves from up and unders to high floaters. His ability to play both guard positions will be key, if selected. He has a great feel for running the pick and roll – a staple in Doc River offense – and is lights out off the catch.
His biggest knock is his frame, as mentioned above, and his ability to guard at the next level. There is no doubt that Doc Rivers, Dave Joerger, Dan Burke and Popeye Jones will have Terry in the right spots defensively, however, the Sixers strength and conditioning team will have their work cut out for them getting Terry ready for the size and speed of these all star guards throughout the league.
If Terry is there at 21, Brand’s decision shouldn’t be that difficult.
Player Comparison – Trae Young
Desmond Bane, SG, TCU
While he’s older than most prospects in the draft, Desmond Bane is another guy that can flat out SHOOT. Just like Terry, he isn’t just a shooter. He loves operating off the pick and roll and is very good off the dribble. Going into his senior year, Bane was seen as a role player and spot up shooter, but HC Jamie Dixon thrusted him into a bigger role. Defensively, he guarded 1-4 in college, due to his sheer size – 6’5 220 pounds – but will probably guard 1-2 and occasional 3’s.
Bane doesn’t have any glaring weaknesses but if you had to nitpick, it would be his lack of length and elite athleticism. His wingspan measured at 6’4, one inch shorter than his height. In regards to his athleticism, Bane relies on his IQ defensively, which could pose an issue with high IQ offensive players. If Bane is out of position at any point, he doesn’t have the athleticism some have to make up for it. And not just defensively, this also poses a threat to Bane’s finishing at the rim.
Bane could be there at 21 but he could also be there at 34. This draft has a lot of good guards, so it all depends how the board falls. I would still love the pick at 21.
Player Comparison – Eric Gordon
Kira Lewis Jr, PG, Alabama
I couldn’t write this without mentioning a player that probably won’t make it to 21 but if he did, Brand would need to run right to the podium. His name is Kira Lewis Jr, point guard from Meridianville, Alabama.
Every time I watched Lewis play, it reminded me of De’Aaron Fox and John Wall, but with jumpers. Long, quick, athletic, scoring ability, great vision, you name it, Lewis has it. Even with his blazing speed, it looks as if he’s not even running hard. He finishes well at the rim, gets into the lane at will, forces the defense to collapse and finds open teammates and showed the ability to shoot off the catch. He would be able to run the offense with and without Ben Simmons, similar to Tyrell Terry.
He could improve his play in the pick and roll, as well as his defensive play. He possesses elite length and athleticism, however, he isn’t always focused on the defensive end. Having a coaching staff that prides themselves on defensive schemes, there would be no issue getting Lewis to reach his full potential on that end.
As I mentioned above, if there was any way that Lewis makes it to 21, its a no brainer. If he makes it to around 16, I would even trade up. Lewis will be that good!
Player Comparison – John Wall
Second Round Prospects
Cassius Winston, G, Michigan State
Devon Dotson, G, Kansas
Tyler Bey, F, Colorado
Grant Riller, G, College of Charleston
Udoka Azubuike, C, Kansas
The draft is an imperfect science, you could scout a player for years and still miss. Free Agency is where the elite teams are made. Outside of Toronto and Denver, the top teams in the East and West were made through trades and free agent signings (along with good drafts). The Sixers don’t have many valuable assets, and the assets they do have would be better used in a package to get rid of Al Horford. Below are three hypothetical trades that I believe are both, realistic and make the team better.
Sixers receive: Buddy Hield and Richaun Holmes
Kings receive: Al Horford, Zhaire Smith, & Pick 34
Between Buddy Hield liking photos of him in a Sixers jersey and his hatred of Kings’ HC Luke Walton, Buddy Hield to South Philadelphia seems inevitable. In this scenario, the Sixers ship out the stretch big man – which should be a great fit with De’Aaron Fox and Marvin Bagley – along with Zhaire Smith and this year’s second round pick. The Sixers get much needed shooting and shot creation, along with a backup big man that fits the pace the team will be looking to play.
Sixers receive: Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick
Pelicans receive: Al Horford, Matisse Thybulle, OKC 2020 Pick
The Process comes full circle. Jrue Holiday was the first big trade of the process and JJ Redick was the first big signing of the process. Getting those two back solidifies the backcourt and gives the Sixers shooting, shot creation, and another ball handler. Similar to the Kings’ trade, the Pelicans need a stretch 5 to play with Zion, so they get Horford in the deal, along with defensive stud, Matisse Thybulle, and this year’s pick.
Sixers receive: Victor Oladipo and Myles Turner
Pacers receive: Al Horford, Josh Richardson, and OKC 2020 Pick
Daryl Morey (or Elton Brand) makes a name for himself in Philly with a huge trade. Oladipo wants a max deal, that’s not happening in Indiana, and Myles Turner just hasn’t developed into the player they hoped he would become. In this deal, the Sixers get the former all star to create a real big 3, as well as a backup stretch big man. Indiana takes on Al’s contract to backup all star, Domantas Sabonis, a two way 2 guard to replace Oladipo, and this year’s first round pick.
This offseason has Philly fans excited now that the collaborative front office structure has been exiled and a brilliant basketball mind has taken over basketball operations. Expecting a blockbuster trade this year isn’t realistic. In his introductory press conference, Morey stated, “If there is a great opportunity, obviously we’re going to do it early. But the main thing is, you want to do great moves when they are available. But often the best move is not a move that is done right away. We want to increase our understanding before we start to make those moves”, referencing roster changes before we even see the team play together under HC Doc Rivers.
We look forward to interacting with the fans in a few weeks, when the offseason officially begins.