Philadelphia 76ers

76ers Offseason: Five Key Elements That Philadelphia Needs To Address This Summer

76ers Offseason Key’s

Today marks the first official day of the Philadelphia 76ers offseason. Last night the Sixers lost 114-112 to the Boston Celtics. Boston would go on to win the series (4-1). Philadelphia fought all series but came up short after a series of unfortunate events.

With less than 40 seconds in the game, Dario Saric attempted to back down Marcus Smart in the post and lost his position. Saric would turn the ball over which would eventually lead to a Jayson Tatum layup with 22.5 seconds left in the game. The 76ers would find themselves down four with 5.5 seconds left until J.J. Redick hit a deep three to cut the lead to one. After a timeout, Smart would get fouled and make 1-out of-2 free throws. The former Oklahoma State guard attempted to miss the second free throw intentionally but failed.

In a final attempt to tie the game Ben Simmons threw a Hail Mary which would end up in the hands of Smart. This may not be the ideal ending that Philadelphia fans wanted but there is so much to take away from this season. This year’s team entered the postseason for the first time since the 2011-12 season. The Sixers entered the postseason on a 16 game win streak. Philadelphia head coach Brett Brown finally got to see what his team could do under pressure. Now that the team has had a few hours to recover from last night’s loss the 76ers offseason is set to begin. During the 76ers offseason, general manager Bryan Colangelo should consider five elements to ensure next seasons success.

Secure Super Dario Long Term

The 6-foot-10 forward elevated his game this season by averaging 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 2.4 assists through the regular season. The 24-year-old averaged 17.2 points 7.3 rebounds and 3.5 assists in the playoffs. In both playoff series, Saric helped spread the floor, rebound and defend bigger players. Throughout the playoffs, the 1-year-veteran shot .385 percent from deep. Considering the fact that the big man has to defer to Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, .385 percent from deep isn’t bad. Saric provides the Sixers with depth, versatility, and size. Extending the contract of the former Croatia professional should be a top priority in the 76ers offseason.

Move On From Markelle Fultz

Yes, I said what I said. It is unfortunate that Markelle Fultz has not fully recovered from last summer’s shoulder injury. Although the former Washington State guard was cleared to play toward the end of the regular season he struggled with his shot. In his return against the Denver Nuggets in March he provided the team with energy, effort, and athleticism. In Fultz’s first game back he scored 10 points, dished 8 assists and collected 4 rebounds. Despite an impressive stat line, it was obvious that the 6-foot-4 guard’s shooting motion was different.

The 19-year-old guard played 14 games this season and averaged 7.1 points, 3.1 rebounds and 3.8 assists per game. Don’t get me wrong Fultz is an exceptional talent, however, the fact that he did not play meaningful minutes in the postseason is a huge problem. Also, the former 2017 first round pick has seemingly lost his jump shot. The 76ers drafted the guard in order to play off Simmons and space the floor. Without his jump shot, he becomes a one-dimensional player. Not to mention T.J. McConnell willed the Sixers to a game four win. McConnell is not better than Fultz; however, he found play time in the postseason and even started over Robert Covington.

Develop Ben Simmons Jump Shot

Simmons proved the doubters wrong in the regular and postseason. Prior to being drafted in 2016, critics questioned the 21-year-old’s motor. Well if the fact that the point-forward averaged 15.8 points, 8.1 rebounds and 8.2 assists a game doesn’t wow you then you probably don’t watch basketball. Although Donovan Mitchell should win Rookie of The Year it is probably safe to say that Simmons will take home the honors. Simmons had an impressive finish to the season and was fairly consistent throughout the postseason.

All the way through the first round he had his way with the Miami Heat defense. However, the second round was a bit different. Celtics head coach Brad Stevens instructed his team to sag off of the 6-foot-10 point-forward. In the second round, the Celtics dared the former LSU star to shoot. At times the 21-year-old took the bait and drew nothing but iron. During this summer and the 76ers offseason, Simmons needs to work on his shot. A lot of people compare the rookie to LeBron James. But the reality is that James came into the league with the ability to knock down a 12-15 foot jump shot. Simmons, on the other hand, will need to develop a mid-range game so that defenses will play honest. The three ball will come but not any time soon. (Patience is key!)

Resign J.J. Redick

This should be a no-brainer for 76ers management. Redick should be a top priority for the franchise this offseason. But let’s not get carried away with a huge deal considering the subpar season from Covington. For the duration of the playoffs, the former Duke Blue Devil helped his team close games, erase double-digit deficits and spread the floor. In the course of the postseason, Redick averaged 18.2 points, 2.6 assists, and 1.5 rebounds while shooting .44.4 percent from the field.

It’s easy to argue that the 33-year-old was the most consistent player after Embiid. Redick has helped this team by spacing the floor and creating pick & pop opportunities. Without Redick’s 3-point shot the 76ers will struggle to get inside points because defenses will collapse the floor. Unlike a majority of his teammates, the 11-year-veteran is constantly moving without the ball. The supporting cast looks up to Redick and follows his example.

Do Not Enter The LeBron James Sweepstakes

I understand that this may not be what fans want to hear. But signing James will not benefit the 76ers long term. Think about it Kyrie Irving demanded a trade despite winning a championship with the king. Amid the second half of the season, Isaiah Thomas was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers after things didn’t work out in the Land. Signing the four-time MVP would be beneficial for the short term but the reality is that the 76ers would have to move a few contracts around and lose out on resigning their upcoming free agents. Recent reports indicate that James wants to play off the ball in the upcoming seasons.

That may sound good but King James has never been able to dominate without the ball in his hand. The Akron native may be able to mentor Simmons.  However, Simmons’ growth could be stunted if he is not able to have the ball in his hands. Philadelphia would have to offer James a max deal.  If the Sixers commit to a max contract they wouldn’t be able to sign any solid role players to build around the young core.

Focus On Other Free Agents

Not to mention their three-point percentage could decline. The addition of LBJ would be great for younger players but the potential that the current roster has should be enough. If I was Colangelo I would look into signing a combo guard in the offseason to take on the minutes that Fultz or McConnell would have or add to the bench. If the 76ers want to make a splash in free agency they could try to sign Isaiah Thomas (if healthy), Tyreke Evans, Avery Bradly or JJ Redick. Now I understand that the city of Brotherly Love may want a star but think about adding to the dominant core of Simmons, Embiid, and Saric.

The 76ers offseason should be a good one.

Featured image OscarPetefan via Flickr.

All stats for this article are from stats.nba.com.

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Zack Rogers

Morgan State and Notre Dame of Maryland University Alumnus. From Germantown MD. Young in age but has a retro vibe of flavor. Believer, Sports Fanatic, and lover of Sneakers (Jordan 1's & 3's). "Be the change, you want to see" IG & Twitter: ZackeryRogers13

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