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With a new coach and Daryl Morey making decisions in the front office, the Philadelphia 76ers could be in for some big roster changes this offseason. Morey and Doc Rivers have both publicly committed to the core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons but this season was clear evidence that the supporting case around them needs some work.
Reports yesterday indicated that the 76ers would be interested in trading for James Harden but that the idea was a non-starter for the Rockets. Assuming the 76ers don’t land Harden and don’t trade Simmons or Embiid, here are a few upgrades they could make around the margins.
Trade Al Horford for shooting and/or versatility
There aren’t going to be a ton of takers for Horford’s hefty contract, especially considering how rough things went for him last year. But last year seemed like fairly strong evidence that he’s not a viable partner for Embiid and his value as a third-big isn’t great given the construction of the 76ers’ second-unit. Philadelphia could try offering him to the Cavaliers for Kevin Love, although they’d probably need a sweetener to interest Cleveland and Love’s shooting upside and defensive shortcomings would be swapping one problem for another. Other options include trying to swing for someone like LaMarcus Aldridge or Gordon Hayward. Again, both shorter deals that would need additions to make work and present plenty of problems of their own. But, in this case, changing a problem for a problem is still probably an upgrade.
Don’t panic with Tobias Harris
Harris was a disaster in the playoffs, hitting just 1-of-8 catch-and-shoot 3-pointers in the playoffs. His contract is big and long and if Philadelphia is really working on turning things over without moving Embiid or Simmons, he looks like a piece that would need to be involved. But he was very good in the regular season, hitting 38.0 percent of his catch-and-shoot 3s and working as a match-up buster with his face-up game. If the 76ers are going to make another change in the starting lineup, upgrading from Josh Richardson on offense is probably much more important. They should explore what they can get for both guys, but Harris is going to very hard to move and if the perfect deal doesn’t present itself, he’s not a place to chase change for the sake of change. But if they could turn Richardson into someone like Ben McLemore and Danuel House, or Patty Mills, it would be a big upgrade.
Get Tyrell Terry with the No. 21 pick
There will be plenty of shooters available late in the first round when the 76ers are picking, but Terry has added value because of his abilities as a creator. He’s an excellent shooter who can work on and off the ball. The 76ers don’t just need shooting, they need additional creators who can put pressure on the defense and add wrinkles to their offense. Terry gives them a lot more options and offensive versatility than someone like Josh Green or Aaron Nesmith.
Get more depth with the No. 34 and No. 36 picks
The 76ers have two picks early in the second round and the opportunity to take a swing at finding an actual rotation player as opposed to just a draft-and-stash project. They could find players like Killian Tillie, Paul Reed or Xavier Tillman who ready to step right into small supporting roles with shooting or defensive versatility. They’re not going to pin a championship run to what they get out of these picks but useful depth will make everything else easier.
Where would that leave the 76ers for next season?
So, hypothetically, the 76ers could enter next season with something like Embiid, Simmons, Harris, Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton as their starting lineup. On the bench is where the biggest changes would come, with a depth chart of LaMarcus Aldridge, Tyrell Terry, Matisse Thybulle, Zhaire Smith, Xavier Tillman, Ben McLemore and Danuel House. Maybe not significantly better but certainly different.
This list may slant a bit heavily towards modern players but I still really enjoyed John Likanje’s picks for the best dunker in every team’s history.
Garth Johnson has dug deep on chemistry and how the Clippers and Raptors ended up with such vastly different results in their first season with Kawhi Leonard. For the Raptors, it was about the chemistry of the supporting cast. For the Clippers, it was the way Kawhi upended that.
Former Stanford basketball star Tyrell Terry is weeks away from hearing his name called during the NBA Draft. Jackson Frank goes long on the years of work that have brought Terry to this point.
Tyrese Haliburton will have plenty of suitors in the 2020 NBA Draft. Where would he fit best?
Defense is one of the major question marks that could push LaMelo Ball out of the top spot in the NBA Draft. But those concerns may be overblown.
NBA trade rumors are already flying but who is actually likely to be traded? Bryan Toporek ranked all the offseason trade targets into tiers, based on how likely they are to actually be moved.