Sixers Coach Gets Honest on Depth Behind Embiid Before Trade Deadline

Montrezl Harrell

Getty Montrezl Harrell reacts to a play in a Philadelphia 76ers game.

The Philadelphia 76ers are rumored to be exploring the trade market to find depth behind MVP candidate Joel Embiid, but head coach Doc Rivers trusts the big men on the roster if they don’t end up making a move.

The Sixers are not expected to make any drastic moves at the February 9 trade deadline, as their 33-17 record puts them in third place in the Eastern Conference and getting under the luxury tax is also a goal. But many expect the team to look for a potential upgrade at frontcourt depth, securing a more stable player to hold the backup spot to Embiid that neither Montrezl Harrell nor Paul Reed has been able to lock down.

After the team’s February 1 win over the Orlando Magic, Rivers got honest about the situation.

Sixers Coach Has Trust in Backup Big Men

While he didn’t speak directly on the trade rumors, Rivers indicated that he would feel comfortable going into the playoffs with the roster as currently constructed.

“Doc Rivers, asked if he feels like he has bigs behind Joel Embiid that he can trust in the playoffs, says that he does trust Montrezl Harrell and Paul Reed in the playoffs and that they’ll push each other,” reporter Austin Krell tweeted. “Adds that PJ Tucker will get a look at the backup center spot, as well.”

Neither of the primary backups has made a big impact in recent games. Harrell averaged 5.1 points in 13.7 minutes over the last 10 games, while Reed averaged 3.9 points in 8.2 minutes over his last 10.

After the win over Orlando on Wednesday, Rivers said both would continue to get playing time.

“I’m gonna play them both,” the Sixers coach said, via the USA Today’s Sixers Wire. “They’re just gonna have to push each other. Trez had his moment, the second half was really good actually. The first half, he struggled.”

Reed had some rough moments in the game as well, but Rivers said he was confident the 23-year-old big man would play through it.

“Paul Reed struggled a bit in the first too, but he hadn’t played and so with him, I thought it was more rust than how he was playing,” Rivers continued. “He was late on a lot of stuff he typically is not late on. The more we start playing him, the better he’ll be at that stuff, but we also have Tuck we can play at the 5 so there’s a lot of ways we can go there.”

Sixers Could Have Chance to Upgrade Before Trade Deadline

As Michael Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports noted, the Sixers could have some chances to improve their depth behind Embiid before the trade deadline. He named some potential trade candidates, including Tony Bradley of the Chicago Bulls and another veteran who has already had a very recent run in Philadelphia.

“One guy who has that size, though, and is already familiar with the Sixers as an organization, is Andre Drummond,” Kaskey-Blomain wrote. “Drummond was traded from Philadelphia to Brooklyn last February in the deal that brought James Harden to the Sixers. Drummond then signed with the Bulls over the offseason, but he hasn’t been a consistent contributor in Chicago, and as a result the Bulls could be willing to part with him.”

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