Sometimes it’s the under-the-radar moves that win championships. While the world awaits a blockbuster trade involving Ben Simmons, look for a minor tweak to go down between now and Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline.
The Philadelphia 76ers need another ball-handler to add to the mix. Furkan Korkmaz has been playing a lot of point guard in recent games, especially during Tuesday night’s loss to Phoenix. And the Sixers are extremely thin at the position after losing Shake Milton to a back contusion.
It’s the most recent injury for a guy who began the year in a competition for the starting job with Tyrese Maxey. Milton has been out since January 3 while missing 27 games this season. That’s half the regular season to date.
After Tuesday night’s 114-109 loss, head coach Doc Rivers put on a master class in posturing at the trade deadline. He wants the Sixers’ front office to get him a point guard. And possibly another big man. His comments came off as more of a demand than request.
“It’s tough, we have no choice. We have to get another guard, we just do,” Rivers told reporters. “Even with Furk and Shake, we need a point guard. And we’re looking but they don’t grow on trees, as you know. We may do nothing, and you can only do something if there’s something there, but it’s clearly something we’re looking for. That and size.”
The Suns exploited that weakness in the second half on Tuesday night. They employed a full-court press and switched to a suffocating 2-3 zone to slow down the Sixers’ attack. It changed the whole tempo of the game and took Maxey out of his comfort zone. There was one awkward moment when Andre Drummond brought the ball down the court.
“I thought we got really stagnant offensively,” Rivers said. “We just went to Joel [Embiid] and stood still. We’ve got to have better continuity down the stretch. And we all know that. I think they all know that. It is what it is.”
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Sixers Players Can’t Wait for Thursday Night
While Rivers pounds the drum for a point guard, other players are just hoping to keep their 215 area codes. Matisse Thybulle has been mentioned in nearly every possible trade scenario. He can’t wait for 3:01 p.m. on Thursday to get here.
“I think a couple of us will finally be able to breathe,” Thybulle said. “But that’s what makes the NBA so exciting, you never really know what you’re going to get.”
Thybulle said he’ll be reading books, drawing, going on walks over the next two days. Anything to block out the trade noise. Meanwhile, Tobias Harris – another victim of multiple trade rumors – is taking a different approach. He intends to keep hitting refresh on his internet browser.
“I’ll be refreshing, checking Wojnarowski tweets, Shams, like everybody else because sometimes those guys get it before we’ll get the call so that’s just what happens,” Harris said. “So, I think everybody else is just in the same position, just checking their phones to see what happens because that is our livelihood and our job.”
Doc Rivers Named Top-15 Coach of All-Time
The “NBA on TNT” released its list of the 15 greatest coaches in NBA history on Tuesday as part of their NBA 75th anniversary festivities. And Doc Rivers made the cut.
Rivers ranks 10th all-time with 1,024 career victories. Former Sixers coach Larry Brown also made the list. He retired with 1,098 career wins.