If the Sixers are going to right the ship on a season that has turned sour, they're likely going to need to be a better shooting team.
They sit 21st in the NBA in three-point percentage and 23rd in three-point attempts per game. It makes sense that they’d have interest in players who could upgrade shooting and bench scoring — they’re 28th in bench points per game — and would perhaps feel a sense of urgency to improve in those areas before the trade deadline Thursday afternoon.
We give that context to help explain NBC Sports Chicago’s K.C. Johnson reporting that the Sixers are a “possible landing spot” for Bulls wing Denzel Valentine.
According to two rival executives, the 76ers and Grizzlies are possible landing spots for the former lottery pick, who had fallen completely out of favor with coach Jim Boylen before the recent spate of injuries forced him back into the lineup. Valentine for Zhaire Smith; who says no?
Valentine, the Associated Press College Basketball Player of the Year in his senior season at Michigan State, is a career 37.1 percent three-point shooter, 35.6 percent this year. He’s averaged just 12.2 minutes per game in 2019-20 and is in the final season of his rookie contract, making about $3.38 million. Valentine missed all of last season with a left ankle injury.
A Smith/Valentine swap would work, as Johnson says. Chicago might find Smith, a first-round pick in 2018, to be a player worth developing. Another option for the Sixers could be packaging two players outside of the rotation — Jonah Bolden and Kyle O’Quinn, as a hypothetical — and a second-round pick.
Neither of those moves would seem to help the Sixers much. But, as the deadline draws closer, those are the kind of trades Elton Brand might feel compelled to make if he’s looking to add players who could have an immediate impact — even if it’s not a big one.
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