The Philadelphia 76ers are locked in when it comes to adding depth to their roster ahead of the NBA trade deadline. Brett Brown’s squad has quickly become one of the favorites to compete with the Toronto Raptors and Milwaukee Bucks for an Eastern Conference title. In turn, the next step is gearing up for the push and a key second half of the 2018-19 NBA season.
To start on that path, it’ll mean the Sixers need to add some talent either to their bench or potentially even one piece who could step in as a starter. As Sean Deveney of Sporting News first reported, the team has shown some level of interest in adding a stretch four such as New York Knicks’ Noah Vonleh. Along with Vonleh, Charlotte Hornets forward Frank Kaminsky and Los Angeles Clippers’ Mike Scott were mentioned.
The Sixers are another team willing to part with this year’s pick for immediate shooting help, as Philly looks for a big man who can shoot, along the lines of Mike Scott, Frank Kaminsky or Noah Vonleh. The Sixers gave up Dario Saric in the Jimmy Butler deal and miss his ability to stretch the floor.
Following the original report, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News confirmed a bit after that the Sixers are interested in Vonleh.
It’s worth noting the second report came days after the original, pointing to the team’s interest in the forward potentially ramping up.
Potential Fit for Vonleh, Other Trade Targets
When the Sixers acquired Mike Muscala from the Atlanta Hawks this offseason, the hope was that he could fill the Ersan Ilyasova role from last year. After a solid start to the year, that hasn’t been the case as of late for Muscala, who’s averaged just 4.0 points, 3.6 rebounds and shot 27.3 percent from beyond the arc in five January games.
Taking it one step further, starting power forward Wilson Chandler has averaged just 6.3 points with 4.6 rebounds and has seen his minutes slowly hit a decline. While both Kaminsky and Scott, if acquired, would be candidates to handle the aforementioned Ilyasova role, Vonleh could easily be a starter for Philly.
The Knicks’ 23-year-old forward has had the best year of his career to this point, averaging 8.6 points, 8.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists while playing 26.7 minutes per game. He’s also shot a solid 46 percent from the field and 40.7 percent from beyond the arc.
Although Knicks coach David Fizdale has been a bit all over with his rotations, Vonleh recently had a stretch of eight games in which he had nine or more rebounds. Over that same stretch, he posted four double-doubles and has shown quite a bit of upside.
Impact of the Jimmy Butler Trade
When the Sixers acquired Butler from the Minnesota Timberwolves, the loss of both Dario Saric and Robert Covington meant two fewer shooters on a roster already lacking in that area. While JJ Redick is one of the best shooters in the game, the other options, such as Furkan Korkmaz and rookie Landry Shamet are still somewhat hit-or-miss.
The Sixers offense is built around a “3-and-D” mentality, yet the team averages 11.1 made 3-point attempts per game this season. That ranks them as No. 15 and their 35.2 percent mark from beyond the arc comes in at No. 15 as well.