76ers

Adam Silver says Sixers' start 'everything you could ask for'

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Adam Silver says Sixers' start 'everything you could ask for'

Not everyone is a fan of the process.

No matter how you look at it, there are always going to be people that are upset at how the Sixers “tanked” their way through several seasons in an effort to acquire top-flight draft picks.

Count NBA commissioner Adam Silver in that group. There were reports — which Silver denied — that other owners pressured him to interfere with the Sixers’ massive rebuild and he responded by putting the wheels in motion for the team to hire Jerry Colangelo in a front-office role.

Whether that is true or not, Silver has made it abundantly clear that he wasn’t a supporter of the franchise’s previous tactics.

“Am I fan of that strategy? Put it this way: No,” Silver told fivethirtyeight.com in December 2015. “But does that mean that it’s not acceptable under the league rules? It doesn’t.”

Fast forward two years, the Sixers are littered with lottery picks, sporting a 12-8 record and commonly referred to as one of the league’s most promising teams.

So is Silver now trusting the process?

“I’m not going with that expression,” Silver said with a laugh to Marc Zumoff and Alaa Abdelnaby during the Sixers’ 118-113 win over the Wizards (see game recap).

“I have to say, they have a great organization in place. I think Bryan Colangelo’s doing a fantastic job, two-time executive of the year. He’s doing all of things necessary to build a team. He put in place a great analytics staff. He keeps stealing people from the league office but that’s separate issue I’ll talk to him about. (Chief executive officer) Scott O’Neil on the business side, Chris Heck (president of business operations), so I’m really pleased with what they’re doing, (managing partners) Josh Harris, David Blitzer.”

While Silver didn’t go as far as saying the methods Sam Hinkie put in place throughout the process’ years of torture actually worked, he did admit the NBA honchos are thrilled by the outcome.

“It’s everything you could ask for from a league office standpoint,” Silver said. “Obviously, it’s taken a while here and there’s been a lot of patience from the folks in the market. But we’re seeing the results now and it’s a really exciting, young team.”

Markelle Fultz out of starting lineup for Jimmy Butler's Sixers debut vs. Magic

Markelle Fultz out of starting lineup for Jimmy Butler's Sixers debut vs. Magic

Just 15 games into the season, Markelle Fultz is no longer a starter.

In a move that many saw coming after the Jimmy Butler trade, Fultz will not be in the Sixers' starting lineup Wednesday in Orlando.

Instead, Butler will start in his debut alongside JJ Redick, Ben Simmons, Wilson Chandler and Joel Embiid.

As of now, this looks like the Sixers’ strongest five-man lineup — especially defensively. While Brett Brown had his reasons for starting Fultz, this seemed inevitable. It’s clear at this point in their careers that Fultz and Simmons are both point guards.

This is far from the end of the world for Fultz. He’ll still probably average around 24 minutes a game off the bench as the backup point. There have been several times this season when he’s actually given the Sixers a nice spark off the bench during his second-half run. While his shot obviously has not progressed, he's made vast improvements defensively and in his aggressiveness getting to the rim.

Looking big picture is likely where the Butler trade affects Fultz more. If the Sixers sign Butler to a long-term contract this offseason, it leaves little room for Fultz once Simmons gets his extension in 2020. Elton Brand was adamant that the Butler move was not an indictment on Fultz, but it’s certainly worth keeping an eye on going forward.

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6 possible trade targets for the Sixers

6 possible trade targets for the Sixers

The Jimmy Butler trade leaves the Sixers with an empty roster spot and Elton Brand acknowledged Tuesday that he’s not done yet (see story).

Here are a few trade options that would fit.

Kyle Korver

We all know Korver’s deal by now. He’s one of the most prolific three-point shooters in NBA history and the team he’s playing on is a dumpster fire. The Cavaliers need to move him and the question will just be price. Nobody is giving Cleveland more than a second — maybe multiple seconds and a prospect that hasn’t quite hit (think Furkan Korkmaz).

It's no surprise the Sixers have been linked to Korver for a reunion. He's 37 and he’s limited athletically but he’ll give effort on defense and is also a smart enough basketball player to make up for those limitations. And he can definitely still shoot. 

Carmelo Anthony

Nope.

Markieff Morris

The Philly native was brought up in a report along with fellow Wizards Jeff Green and Kelly Oubre Jr. Of the three, Morris is probably the most attractive fit for the Sixers. Morris can you give minutes at the four and at the five. Amir Johnson played three minutes Monday night and is struggling.

Brett Brown talks about playing "Philly tough" so who better to provide that than a tough dude from Philly? Morris is also a pretty solid offensive player. He’s a very good mid-range shooter and while he’s not a sharpshooter, he can make the occasional open three. It would be fun if he eventually had to face his twin brother Marcus in the Eastern Conference Finals.

Courtney Lee

Lee has been mentioned as a possibility for the Sixers since he’s an expiring contract on a bad team. He’s a solid defender with excellent basketball instincts. He’s shot over 40 percent from three in three of the last four seasons. 

Lee would be a phenomenal fit here, if he can recover from the neck injury that has kept him out this season. He’s obviously not a star but he can do a little bit of everything, including two things the Sixers desperately need more of: shot create and shot make. If you’re looking for a more diverse solution than Korver, Lee could be it.

Trevor Ariza

There have been no indications that the Suns will look to move on from Ariza and his one-year, $15-million deal, but it could make sense to allow their younger players to play. I bet the struggling Rockets would love to have Ariza back.

Ariza is an elite on-the-ball defender that can guard one through four. He takes a ton of threes but has hovered around the league average percentage wise. He’s 33 but looks like he has plenty in the tank. Plus his playoff experience would be a huge asset for a young Sixers team.

Vince Carter

Yes, Vince Carter is still playing basketball. Long gone are the days of Vinsanity but the 41-year-old can still fill a complementary role. The Hawks signed Carter to be a positive influence on their young players and they may choose to keep him for that reason.

For 15 minutes a game, Carter can still bring something to the table. He can score on all three levels and still create his own shot from time to time. He’s shooting 37 percent from three this season and can play solid defense. As far as experience, the resume speaks for itself.

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