The absence of Markelle Fultz for nearly the entire season has left the Sixers shorthanded with scoring off the bench. Too many times this season we've seen the Sixers' second unit either struggle to hold a lead or turn a close game into a lopsided one.
It's why, ahead of the Feb. 8 NBA trade deadline, we've seen the Sixers connected to several scorers. Earlier in the week it was Avery Bradley, then Tyreke Evans.
We can now add two more names to the list: Lou Williams and Marco Belinelli. The Sixers have expressed interest in both players, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic.
The case for Lou-Will
Lou-Will was so close to being an All-Star for the first time this season. It's unfortunate he didn't get the nod because he probably won't have another first half as impressive as this one. In 49 games with the Clippers, he's averaged 23.5 points and 5.2 assists, shot 44 percent from the field, 39 percent from three and 90 percent from the line. All this while coming off the bench in 35 of 49 games.
Williams is on an affordable, $7 million salary. He's a free agent after the season. The Clippers are likely looking for a first-round pick and could end up getting it. If they don't, they're in no immediate rush to trade Williams. The assumption is L.A. will trade Lou-Will and DeAndre Jordan after shipping Blake Griffin to Detroit, but owner Steve Ballmer might want to keep some excitement around. Lou-Will is certainly an exciting player and perhaps could be talked into staying with the Clips, where he's comfortable.
The Sixers obviously wouldn't trade the Lakers and/or Kings pick (whichever doesn't go to Boston) for Williams. But what about their own first-rounder? As of now, that pick would be 17th.
Aside from that pick, there's not much else of value the Sixers have to trade that they'd be willing to trade. They're not trading Dario Saric for a half-season rental. Aside from their pick, their most realistically tradable assets are Richaun Holmes, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot or guys stashed overseas.
Still, the opinion here is that Lou-Will would be worth it. He has defensive limitations but does so much else well in terms of creation and game-changing hot streaks. And the Sixers probably have enough size and defensive skill to make up for him. Even a lineup including Williams and JJ Redick could include Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Robert Covington, three players with length and good defensive instincts.
As for Belinelli, he'd come much cheaper if the Sixers were to go down that road. He's in the final year of a contract that pays him $6.6 million in 2017-18. He has one legitimately above-average skill and that's shooting. Belinelli is shooting 37.1 percent from three this season and making 1.8 per game. He's also shooting 93 percent from the line.
Belinelli could probably be had for a second-round pick or two ... it's a situation very similar to what the Sixers had with Ersan Ilyasova last season.