Wing depth is among the top priorities for the Philadelphia 76ers this offseason, but adding shooting is another. Following the departure of Seth Curry in the James Harden trade, the roster lacks a knockdown shooter to put around Joel Embiid.
This season, the Sixers were a top-ten three-point shooting team in terms of efficiency (36.4) but lacked volume. Their 31.8 attempts per game from beyond the arc were good for the 27th-best in the NBA.
With an offense centered around a dominant low-post presence like Embiid, having adequate floor spacing is essential. In light of this, a Western Conference executive recently told Heavy’s Sean Deveney that the Sixers are a team to watch to trade for LA Clippers sharpshooter Luke Kennard.
“There are a lot of teams looking for that shooter,” The exec told Deveney. Obviously, Philly is one because they lost Seth Curry. They need a knockdown guy on the wing and they have a love/hate thing going with (Georges) Niang and (Furkan) Korkmaz. They are seeing what they can do with Danny Green’s deal in a package, and you could do Green and (Matisse) Thybulle and probably not give up that (No. 23) pick. Is that too much for Kennard, especially with the defensive problems? Might be. But you know he is a shooter.”
Replacing Seth Curry
After being acquired by the Sixers on draft night 2020, Seth Curry was an instant fit in the Sixers’ lineup. His ability to space the floor provided an element the team desperately missed since the departure of JJ Redick. In 102 games with the Sixers, Curry averaged 13.6 PPG while shooting 42.6% from beyond the arc.
When looking to acquire shooting, what better trade target than the guy who is fresh off leading the league in three-point percentage? Kennard’s 44.9% efficiency was the top mark across the association. On top of this, he averaged six attempts per game from deep.
The 25-year-old appeared in 70 games for the Clippers this season and averaged 11.9 PPG, 3.3 RPG, and 2.1 APG.
The Joel Embiid Bump
If acquired, Kennard will have the opportunity to follow a similar path to previous Sixers marksman. That being having great success playing alongside a gravitational force in Joel Embiid.
The MVP runner-up doesn’t get a lot of credit for this, but he has a habit of making the players around him better. Especially when it comes to three-point shooters. It’s no coincidence that JJ Redick and Seth Curry posted the highest scoring averages of their careers in Philadelphia.
Given the attention Embiid garners when he’s on the floor, perimeter shooters feast with an array of wide-open looks. This will likely be magnified moving forward when accounting for the presence of James Harden as well.
Along with being a knockdown kick-out option for Embiid, Kennard can fill in as a replacement for Curry. Because of his ability to put the ball on the floor and create, he is a great pairing with the All-Star center in the dribble hand-off and pick-and-roll.
Packaging Danny Green and Matisse Thybulle might be a bit of a steep price, but there is no denying Luke Kennard would mesh seamlessly on the Sixers.