With the NBA trade deadline a day away, the Sixers have a clear picture of where they want to improve the roster.
“I feel like what I am always trying to challenge myself with is, how do you help your bench?” Brett Brown said Tuesday. “How do you help us score more? I think the interest of shooting, probably, some more threes interests me. It’d be great if we could make some of those as well. But I feel like perimeter shooting, me helping my bench score, those types of things come to my mind.”
The Sixers' second unit has not gone as designed since the right shoulder injury to Markelle Fultz (more on him here). The 2017 No. 1 pick appeared in four games off the bench (6.0 points) to start the season but has not played since Oct. 23. There is no timetable for his return.
The team has not had a sixth-man type of scorer. In fact, no reserve is averaging more than 10 points per game. Jerryd Bayless and T.J. McConnell both are posting 7.1 points off the bench. They are followed by Richaun Holmes (6.0 points), Justin Anderson (5.8 points), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (5.7 points), Trevor Booker (4.8 points) and Amir Johnson (4.2 points) in a reserve role.
Brown is pleased with the Sixers’ defense — “Rarely do I look and say, we need a bunch of more stoppers,” he said. Instead, Brown pointed to the Sixers’ recent loss to the Pacers when backup Lance Stephenson scored 12 points in the deciding fourth quarter as an example of what they are lacking.
“Lance goes bananas off the bench and he’s that lightning-in-a-bottle off the bench and he tips it over the line, so to speak,” Brown said.
So where can the Sixers find that at the trade deadline?
Take Lou Williams out of the equation. The streaky scorer (23.3 points per game) has reached a three-year extension with the Clippers, according to multiple reports.
Grizzlies veteran and Chester, Pennsylvania, native Tyreke Evans has been the center of trade buzz. The Sixers are one of the many teams who have been linked to Evans, who is averaging 19.5 points (39.2 percent from three), 5.0 rebounds and 5.0 assists this season (see story).
If the Sixers are interested in taking on an expiring deal, the Hawks are making Marco Belinelli available, per multiple reports. Belinelli won the three-point contest in 2014 and is posting 11.2 points off 37.2 percent three-point shooting. Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo acquired Belinelli from the Warriors while president and general manager of the Raptors in 2009.
Rodney Hood told Yahoo! Sports he expects to be traded by the Jazz. Hood has a very salary-cap friendly salary ($2.4 million this season, $3.5 million qualifying offer next season) to go with his 16.8 points and 39.7 percent three-point shooting.
Nets guard Spencer Dinwiddie (13.5 points, 34.0 percent from three) has been turning heads, including scoring 27 points in a recent win over the Sixers. He is earning only $1.5 million this season and non-guaranteed at $1.7 million next season. The Sixers already completed a trade earlier this season with the Nets in the Jahlil Okafor deal and swapped desired assets.
The question, of course, is what would the Sixers be willing to give up in this scenario? Will they be willing to give up a first-rounder or will they stick to second-round picks only?
The Sixers also should take veteran and/or playoff experience into consideration to help the young core as they look to make a postseason push.
Even though the Sixers have dealt with injuries and implemented 13 different starting lineups this season, Brown feels confident the team knows what kind of pieces to pursue at the deadline.
“There’s no mystery right now to me of what we need or who we are or what we really have to get better at,” Brown said. “I think that the ownership and the front office, we all see the world through the same lens.”