The Philadelphia 76ers may have made fortified their bench this offseason, but it doesn’t mean they won’t be active at the trade deadline.
There’s no doubt that the Philadelphia 76ers had one of the best offseason’s this summer. They committed to their new core for the long-term and improved their bench as a whole compared to the previous season’s version. The Sixers are in contention for a championship with this roster, but it doesn’t mean that there isn’t room for improvement. There are two positions that the team could try to upgrade before the trade deadline.
The first is the point guard spot. Despite adding both Raul Neto and Trey Burke this offseason, it’s arguably one of the weakest positions that Philly has. Neto hasn’t been a reliable backup due to injury issues over the past couple of seasons and Burke’s been a journeyman due to problems to consistency early on in his career. Outside of those two, only Shake Milton is the only other player that could fill the need at the point guard spot, although he’s nowhere close to being ready.
Neto has career averages of 4.8 points and 1.9 assists, while converting 37.7 percent from the 3-point line. Burke’s career averages are 10.9 points and 3.9 assists, while making 34.0 percent from downtown. During Milton’s rookie season last year, he averaged 4.4 points and 0.9 assists, while shooting 31.8 percent from behind the arc.
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Both Burke and Neto are considered upgrades over T.J. McConnell, but neither are considered an upper-tier reserve and Milton just isn’t ready for a big role as a backup point guard at this point either. If all three players struggle this upcoming season, then looking for a more serviceable backup playmaker could be a real possibility around the trade deadline.
The other area of need that the 76ers could be looking to upgrades is on the wing. The team has plenty of youth at that spot at the moment. Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris are the starters that are entering the prime of their careers. However, outside of James Ennis who’s entering his fifth season, the bench rotation on the perimeter is very inexperienced.
The group of Zhaire Smith, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz and Marial Shayok only have three years of experience total and have played in a total of 68 regular season games. Thybulle and Shayok are rookies, while Smith is entering his second season and Korkmaz is about to begin his third. These young players may struggle at times, which could make general manager Elton Brand search for another veteran presence to stabilize that rotation for a deep playoff run.
Upgrading the point guard and wing depth could become a real goal of the Philadelphia 76ers front office before the trade deadline. The playmaking spot could be improved overall and the wing rotation could use a little bit more veteran experience heading into the postseason.
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