A team with 25 wins and a spot in the postseason at the halfway mark shouldn’t typically be in panic mode. While the 25-16, sixth-place Philadelphia 76ers aren’t precisely panicking, it had become quite evident that an upgrade is needed sooner than later.
Last season, the Sixers front office recognized their flaws and lack of star power early on in the season. Therefore, rookie General Manager Elton Brand went out and traded some assets for a known star in Jimmy Butler.
While Butler uplifted a young Sixers team, the front office still didn’t see a championship contender. So another blockbuster trade to acquire a starter in Tobias Harris was the next move. The results of the Sixers’ plethora of trades last year? A second-round exit in the NBA Playoffs — same as the year before.
This season, the Sixers want to avoid the same outcome. With back to back second-round losses, Philly has to ensure they are better off. During the offseason, it seemed as though the Sixers had one of the most talented teams in the league. Unfortunately, talent is only half the battle for the Sixers as their roster is currently not meshing.
Do the Sixers need another roster shake-up? Not exactly. But The Athletic’s David Aldridge does suggest Philly needs to look into acquiring a true point guard. Not to replace Ben Simmons entirely — but to shift Simmons elsewhere on the court to help everybody out.
Some predicted deals around the NBA included the Sixers acquiring big names at the position such as Chris Paul and D’Angelo Russell. However, the Sixers would have to give up multiple significant assets, likely including one of their starters. Making a deal like that at this point in the season could actually just set the Sixers back.
So instead of putting together a third blockbuster deal in a year’s worth of time, Aldridge suggests the Sixers could look at two dark horse candidates, who could come at a reasonable price for the point guard position.
First on the list was Chicago Bulls guard, Tomas Satoransky. After spending the last three seasons in D.C., Satoransky joined the Bulls for his 2019-2020 campaign. So far this year, he has started in all 41 games played. With 28 minutes-per-night, the Bulls’ guard has averaged about ten points-per-game, shooting 44-percent from the field, knocking down 36-percent of his threes.
Though his numbers from long-range are down this season, Aldridge suggests Satoransky could come with a reasonable contract of $30 million over the next two and a half seasons. Acquiring the Bulls’ diamond in the rough could allow the Sixers to tinker their lineup and put Simmons elsewhere on the court, helping out with the team’s spacing issues.
Another option listed was acquiring Dallas Mavericks guard, Delon Wright. While the Mavericks reportedly ‘love’ Wright on their roster, the six-year veteran seems to be buried away from his actual position, as he’s competing with Tim Hardaway Jr., Luka Doncic, and Seth Curry.
Although Wright only started four out of 37 games this season, he’s been a solid shooter off the bench for Dallas. Currently averaging 38-percent from beyond the arc, Wright matches the criteria of the Sixers’ need for a perimeter shooter. Plus, point guard is his natural position — and he has playoff experience.
While the Sixers haven’t been linked to either of these two dark horse candidates just yet, it would be in their best interest to potentially reach out for an asking price. There’s no need to replace Simmons in their lineup, but moving him around has allowed the Sixers’ most versatile starter to produce better on the offensive side of the ball. A true point guard could solve a handful of issues for the Sixers as they continue to search for their identity.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him on Twitter: @JGrasso_