CAMDEN, N.J. — Tobias Harris is by far the biggest name the Sixers added before Thursday’s trade deadline. The subtraction of former No. 1 Markelle Fultz warranted a few headlines too.
But general manager Elton Brand also acquired four other players — Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott, Jonathon Simmons and James Ennis, transforming the Sixers’ bench.
At a press conference Friday, Brand detailed the roles he expects those four can fill.
With Marjanovic, the tallest player in the NBA at 7-foot-3, it’s not too complicated.
“He’s bringing great frontcourt depth behind Joel [Embiid], for sure. He wasn’t a throw-in. ... We look forward to having him on the court, create a mismatch out there, and defend the rim. One of our key needs was rim protection, and he certainly brings that.”
The 39-year-old Brand actually played with Scott during his time on the Hawks. He praised Scott’s toughness and three-point shooting (39.1 percent this season).
As for Simmons and Ennis, Brand expects the pair will bolster the Sixers’ depth on the wing.
Ennis, who averaged 7.4 points and 2.9 rebounds this season for Houston, doesn’t have any elite skills, but the five-year veteran should be able to provide a little bit of everything for the Sixers. Simmons, the player the Sixers acquired in the Fultz trade, has a reputation as a strong perimeter defender.
“Very athletic, tenacious defender,” Brand said. “He can shoot, he can score. Very physical, rugged defender. I think the city is really going to like him a lot.”
The notion that Simmons “can shoot” is not backed up by the stats — he’s 22.9 percent from long distance this season, 31.2 percent for his career. Simmons did have surgery to address a torn ligament in his right wrist in the offseason, which appears to have affected his shot.
“We studied it,” Brand said. “We think he’s close to being back where he was pre-injury. Again, we’re excited to have him.”
Before taking any questions Friday, Brand issued an opening statement. His words were bold, but they didn’t feel incongruous after the deals he’d made the past two days.
“We believe we’re in position to contend now, and our moves reflect that belief," he said.
Are those four new pieces off the bench enough for Brand, or does he think more help is needed via the buyout market?
“We’re always going to look to see how we can improve our team,” he said. “I think last year we got lucky at the buyout market. I think we’re good now, but if something comes up we’re surely going to look at it.”
When pressed later about whether more wing depth specifically was required, his response was clear.
We’re always going to look. But I like our team, I like where we are, and I think we’ve added enough depth. But we’re still going to look, of course.
Meanwhile, there remains a real possibility rookie Zhaire Smith and 21-year-old big man Justin Patton have an impact for the Sixers this year. Patton has grabbed 22 points and 12 rebounds in two G-League games as he works his way back from a Jones fracture in his right foot.
Though there would appear to be less of a rush now to get Smith back on the floor, it couldn’t hurt for the Sixers to have an excellent athlete with the potential to be a very good NBA perimeter defender. Brand isn’t deviating from he what he said about Smith back in December — he said Friday that Smith is still progressing well after suffering a Jones fracture in his left foot in August, then enduring serious medical complications after an allergic reaction — and the Sixers still expect him to return this season.
External additions, though, sound less likely. Brand has proven he’ll probe the market and pounce on any chance to improve the Sixers, but he feels better about where the team stands, and how the bench looks, than he did a couple days ago.
Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on you device.