Free agency has been very peculiar for the Philadelphia 76ers. It all started with Twitter campaigns that beckoned Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris to “run it back.”
Then, when it looked like Philly was primed to do just that, some new moves took place.
Harris did his part in signing with the Sixers again.
“He really enjoys being part of Philadelphia,” esteemed NBA writer, Steve Kyler told me on the Scoop B Radio Podcast before the NBA free agency frenzy.
“He likes that group. He likes playing for Brett Brown.
“If the 76ers come correct with the money, I think he’ll be back there. If they don’t I think Tobias is going shopping. Think about all of the places that dude has has already been traded from. He got traded from Milwaukee to Orlando, from Orlando to Detroit, from Detroit to the Clippers and the Clippers to Philly and he’s not 28 yet.”
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Then, Jimmy Butler signed a contract, but was traded to Miami in exchange for Josh Richardson. Oh, the best shooter on the team, JJ Redick, also left Philly for New Orleans.
So, in Elton Brand’s first off-season as General Manager, he did not exactly upgrade the three-point shooting nor, as some may think, the offense as a whole.
They still will return as a favorite in the East, but it will be led by defense and gargantuan lineups. While some moves still may happen, here’s an early look at what the rotation may be for the Philadelphia 76ers:
SG: Josh Richardson, Zhaire Smith, Shake Milton, Marial Shayok
SF: Tobias Harris, James Ennis III, Matisse Thybulle
PF: Al Horford, Mike Scott, Jonah Bolden
C: Joel Embiid, Kyle O’Quinn
There are a couple of things that stand out at first glance. This starting lineup is huge. Richardson is the shortest player in the starting five at 6’6, unless they ultimately decide to go with Simmons at the four and use Raul Neto or Zhaire Smith at the one alongside Richardson.
The defense, however, is going to be much improved. Richardson is going to give them the versatility to guard smaller guards. Simmons is versatile enough to guard wings and even some bigs or stretch fours. Horford and Embiid will lock down the paint as well as cover up mistakes that may come from Harris or anyone else. So, the last question mark comes to three-point shooting ability. Will we see Simmons start to shoot and will the Sixers be able to keep the lane from clogging. We’ll have to wait and see.