Hopefully you’re winding down this Memorial Day Weekend, but we still have another round of Sixers mailbag questions to get to while you sit back and relax.
The second part of our mailbag is about the backup center position, the team’s priorities in the draft and the strategy if Tobias Harris walks.
Let’s get right into your questions.
What are the most realistic options for a backup center?— Jeffrey Branch (@PhillyFlash59) May 20, 2019
It was clear the backup center position was a glaring need this postseason. The Sixers had options, but none of them were good enough. If Brett Brown had better ones, perhaps the Sixers would be the team that’s a game away from the NBA Finals.
I imagine Elton Brand will give Brown more ammo at the five next season. The free-agent market isn’t littered with guys, but there are certainly players that would seem like an upgrade. Former Process Sixer Dewayne Dedmon will likely get paid to be a starter somewhere, but he’d be a nice fit here. Maybe DeAndre Jordan or Robin Lopez if their demand goes down. JaVale McGee and Tyson Chandler are out there, but they seem like West Coast guys. Nerlens Noel … not sure we’re there yet.
More likely you’re looking at someone like Kyle O’Quinn. O’Quinn is tough, smart and moves better than any of the veteran bigs the Sixers had this season. It’s not a sexy signing, but it could be a practical one. I’d also expect Brand to target the position in the draft. Arkansas' Daniel Gafford, Georgia's Nic Claxton, Maryland's Bruno Fernando and Florida State's Mfiondu Kabengele are guys to watch at No. 24 and beyond.
When drafting from the 20th pick on, I know we historically have liked to draft long, athletic wings who can defend anyone or Europeans who we can stash? What is the chance we will move to a a person who can be instant offense for the second unit this year like Carson Edwards?— Dr Overtop (@DrOvertop) May 20, 2019
At 24, do you get BPA, someone who maybe is dropping ? Or do you draft for a specific need? Backup PG, backup Center, or shooters ??— matthew (@bulldurham60) May 20, 2019
These questions are similar enough so we’ll tackle them both with one response.
Brand said during his end-of-season press conference that the team could be looking for older players and that it would prioritize defense and shooting. There will be guys who fit that description at No. 24 and Edwards might be one of them. He can score in a variety of ways as he showed in the NCAA Tournament. So, too, could North Carolina’s Cameron Johnson. Tennessee's Admiral Schofield and Washington's Matisse Thybulle could also fit that bill along with any of the bigs mentioned above.
But that’s not to say the Sixers will pass on a player simply because of age. If a player like Kentucky’s Tyler Herro is around at 24, Brand would be wise to take a look. Herro can really shoot it and isn’t a stiff on defense.
If Tobias walks, what’s the best way to spend what the Sixers might have spent on him? And, is there a player available the Sixers have a real chance at getting that would be worth not re-signing Harris?— Ben Woodworth (@bwoodworth) May 21, 2019
I’m answering this question as if you’re thinking Jimmy Butler will be back — not a foregone conclusion — and the Sixers will be pushed into the luxury tax by signing Harris. There really is no one player you’d be looking for to replace Harris. With the money you’d have, it’d be difficult to target a star-caliber player. More likely you’re looking to improve your depth. Really, the same can be said if you lose Butler and retain Harris.
If you’re looking for a starting four, Rudy Gay would make some sense. Gay shot a career-high 40 percent from three and played defense for maybe the first time in his entire career. It could also allow you to sign a backup point guard like Corey Joseph or a veteran wing like Terrence Ross.
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