Is trading up the right move for the Sixers this offseason?
Let’s move past the horrific ending to game 7 against the Toronto Raptors. There’s new hope now and it comes in the form of the NBA Draft. Last season might have ended in a non-playing pick for the Philadelphia 76ers but this year, trading up could be the right option.
Last year’s draft could have been something special. Philly had the 10th pick after losing in the second round of the playoffs. This is unusual for a team with so much success but not the Sixers.
The front office spent years acquiring assets and 2018 seemed like the culmination of all that hard work. Unfortunately, Philly felt like they did not want the 10th pick and decided to trade it for more assets.
If there’s ever a time and place to cash in your assets, the 2018 NBA draft was it. The Sixers could have had a critical weapon this year in Villanova’s Mikal Bridges. Instead, he ended up going to Phoenix and having a pretty solid rookie campaign.
Philly used the 16th pick they swapped with Phoenix to draft Zhaire Smith, an athletic guard from Texas Tech. This would have been great for the team if he didn’t sit out most of the season with an injury.
By the time playoffs came around, it was obvious he didn’t have the experience to crack the rotation. This means in 2018, the Sixers practically added zero depth to their bench.
Going forward there a definitely a few scenarios that could spark some interest around the league, as well as give Philly the depth they need to make it further next year.
Trading the 10th pick in last years draft wasn’t completely negative:
Scenario 1: Cracking the top 15
Trading up in the 2019 NBA Draft could be just the right move for Philly. It isn’t impossible, especially with the new draft lottery system.
In fact, there are several teams in the top 15 that were near .500 last season. This means a team like Miami or Boston with the 13th and 14th overall picks could be looking to move down.
What would the right price be for a team like this to trade with Philadelphia? The answer is future assets and a player or two. Boston and Miami are both teams who could make a major leap with enough assets to trade for a star player.
Even a solid role player could fit in nicely with either of these squads. Why should Philly make a move like this? The answer is security. Every big game last season seemed to wind down to only a few possessions, including the playoffs.
Regardless of the team picking up Tobias Harris through assets acquired in last year’s draft, it still feels like the front office let the fans down.
How can Brett Brown convince everybody that not having a single draft pick pan out this year was a success? Just because Harris ended up on the team?
I’m sorry but that is a total failure from a fan and critic standpoint. Yes, Harris is great but would the team even need him if they actually added players over the summer?
Luckily GM Elton Brand has yet to dip his feet in the water of the NBA Draft. The obvious answer for our draft woes is trading up, even if it means letting a couple of loose ends go.
Some fans aren’t convinced that the Harris trade was good for the team going forward:
Scenario 2: Lottery picks and bad contracts
There is a scenario that seems very unlikely but could change the future of Philly. Here me out, and I know it’s tough to do when some of these guys have been the cornerstone of the team.
Trade J.J. Redick and T.J. McConnell. I know it must seem like I’m going after the only two guys on the team with abbreviated names.
Redick has been a fan favorite for a couple of years now, and that goes without saying. Yes, he is pretty much one of the only consistent three-point shooters on the team. And again he had a spectacular season.
There is one area where he holds back the potential of the team. THE NBA PLAYOFFS. It seems like whenever a game goes bad, and I mean blowout bad, it’s due to Redick being locked down.
Then the next game Philly makes an adjustment and he goes off, then the opponent makes an adjustment and he’s quiet. It’s a never ending cycle that hasn’t helped the team whatsoever.
Of course he is not the best player on the team, however, he is pretty much the only reliable shooter. This makes no sense for a team whose point guard hasn’t even attempted a three-point shot in his career.
There aren’t many teams who would pass up on Redick, especially a team like Boston or Charlotte who could use a more reliable three-point weapon.
It’s unlikely that Redick or McConnell are moved at all but things need to change if the Sixers are going to push past the second round of the playoffs.
If Philly isn’t serious about changing the team up for the next year, we could have another Kawhi Leonard game-winner to worry about.
All stats via basketball-reference.com
Featured Image: Keenan Hairston via flickr.com
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