The Sixers are secretly building up a squad behind closed doors. The casual fan won't realise it, but the real knowledgeable fans out there do. The addition of Dave Joerger, Dan Burke, Sam Cassell, Daryl Morey, and Doc Rivers. Any fan realizes that the Sixers are making moves, but people don't realize how good these moves really are.
Philadelphia is trying to make their basketball club a point of interest, a place where players want to play, and they're succeeding so far and we're only a couple weeks into the offseason. Before, free agents and coaches wanted to avoid the Sixers because of the chemistry and culture there, but that's slowly changing under Josh Harris (the owner of the team). Harris is making moves and it will pay off in the season. You have a defensive minded coach in Dan Burke who will hold players accountable on defense, and guide them as well. With an already defensive team, that could lead to a pretty scary season next year for opposing offenses. To bolster his case for being an excellent defensive coach, during the 2018-19 season, they had the 3rd best defensive rating and for the 2019-20 season, they were 8th in offensive rating. The Sixers already ranked 6th in defensive rating this past year and have had a solid defensive rating (above 104) for the past 7 years before. Another hire we could possibly see in the future might surprise you. Current Miami Heat VP Shane Battier. Battier is close friends with both Morey and Brand. Battier was one of the best ever in helping his team without scoring, rebounding, or passing. Of course, that leaves defense, which is what Battier specialized in. Battier is an analytics and development type of guy, and he can bring that to the Sixers so they can keep on adding to their already stellar defense. Sam Cassell brings good communication to the table, which, as we know is very important because the Sixers didn't have that last year. You could see it between the players and the coaches, the communication level just was not high. With Sam Cassell, he will be able to help the players on the floor during practice fully understand what they need to do so that they will know exactly what to do come game time.
So with all that being said, let's move on to the free agents the Sixers should look into signing. First up I'll start with some obvious suitors who can shoot the ball well. If the Wizards weren't to pick him up (which they likely will resign him), Davis Bertans would be an amazing option for the Sixers. He would fill in at their position of need, which is the PF spot. Of course, that's highly unrealistic, because the Wizards will certainly look to resign him, so on to some more realistic options. Shabazz Napier is my first option. Napier just came off of a $1.8 million dollar year with the Wizards, so for an extremely cheap amount of money, the Sixers would be getting a quality backup PG to either Shake Milton or Ben Simmons. Keeping in mind Napier actually started for the Wizards this past season. Another free agency option the Sixers should definitely look into is Marcus Morris. Morris is currently an UFA. I would expect that the Clippers would do all they can to resign him, but nothing's guaranteed. Morris does come with a price, however, as last year he was paid $15,000,000. If the Sixers were able to get Morris to come down on the salary to be with his old coach, that would be an amazing pickup. Unfortunately, the Sixers are almost completely out of cap space, so unless Morris is willing to cut off half of his salary, that pickup won't happen. The Sixers could certainly use another center or a power forward, so with that, I have six cheap free agents with high effectiveness.
Anybody who isn't mentioning Christian Wood's name in free agency just isn't educated on how skilled this big man really is. He's efficient under the basket and shoots 77% from under the rim, he can rebound with the best of them, and he can even shoot threes, as he tallied a 38.6% clip from three for the season. Although the stats only show him grabbing 6.3 RPG, that doesn't reflect the amazing numbers he was putting up in the second half of the season. He was putting up 20 point double doubles on what seemed like every game. I had some great players on my fantasy basketball team (Luka Doncic, Bradley Beal, Devin Booker, Clint Capela, Brandon Ingram, Andre Drummond, Domantas Sabonis, Trae Young, John Collins etc.) and I chose to pick up Christian Wood and boy did he deliver. Take a look at the visual provided below to see how consistent and amazing this guy can be next season.
Look at these stats, and still, nobody is talking about him. He even had a game where he shot 100% from the field for 23 points that's not listed above. Any team that won't look at Wood, whether they have a good center already or not, is just foolish because this guy can play.
So how could Christian Wood fit in with the Sixers? Wood just came off of a season with the Pistons, and as we know, the Pistons didn't exactly have a great season. So I think Wood would be happy to join a much better team with much higher aspirations to be a better team. I could see Wood probably playing at the PF spot for the Sixers as that is their position of need. Wood often worked with another big man on the floor in Detroit. (Thon Maker, Blake Griffin) Wood's roll game is pristine and this could even work with Embiid on the floor as well. If you want the full analysis on Christian Wood, make sure you tune into my next article where I will do a full analysis on this amazing athlete.
Another upcoming free agent the Sixers could use at both the SF and PF spot is Jae Crowder. The Heat will obviously go after Crowder but I could also see them letting him go if they find a good player in the draft. Crowder is one of the best 3 and D players in the league. Although he doesn't come away with a lot of blocks or steals, he makes a difference on the opposing shooter and can definitely alter a shot. There's a reason the Heat had him guard Anthony Davis for the second half of the Finals. On the offensive end, he was a three point specialist with the Heat and that's obviously exactly what the Sixers need. Working with Simmons, Crowder should definitely get plenty of open looks, and you better believe he'll convert them, as he did with 44.5% of threes with the Heat on 6.4 attempts. He also shoots 61.1% from in front of the three point line and has a 65.5 eFG%. If the Heat or Jae Crowder himself (I doubt Crowder would want to leave but you never know) decide to part ways, and even if they both look to resign, the Sixers should definitely try to swoop in and pick this guy up.
Next up, I have Aron Baynes. Now I could see Sixers fans go two way with this, some being very happy, and some absolutely hating the the fact that the Sixers should sign him. One thing that Baynes gets ragged on for is getting dunked on all the time. You know what? That's not a bad thing, that's good. It means he's not afraid to get hurt or be embarrassed, he cares about making it harder on the opposing player to get a basket. He will always go 100% to defend his rim. Now I'll take the time to mention the fact of how he's a great three point shooter at 6'10 and he can play either the PF or C position, so the Sixers would have options.
Another interesting prospect on my radar is Chris Boucher. Now a lot of fans don't even know who this guy is, and for those people, Chris Boucher is a 6'9 PF who can also play C when he needs to. He is extremely lengthy as his wingspan stretches for 7 feet 4 inches. This doesn't matter that much but his hands registered at 10.5 inches and he is a great blocker. He is a member of the Raptors along with other underground guys like Matt Thomas. Although his stats don't show it because of his inconsistent playing time, Boucher is a rangy big man with touch from deep. He was able to get good playing time in the bubble and it was there that we were able to see what him and Matt Thomas were truly capable of. Boucher is also a good rebounder especially for a PF, as he seemingly always puts himself in position to grab the board. Here are some noticeable games from him in the bubble.
Aug. 12th vs. PHI: 22 min, 19 pts, 58.3 FG%, 66.7 3P%, 9 reb, 4 oreb, 4 blk
Aug. 10th vs. MIL: 29 min, 25 pts, 60 FG%, 40 3P%, 11 reb, 5 oreb, 2 stl, 2 blk
Dec. 25th vs. BOS: 28 min, 24 pts, 70FG%, 75 3P%, 6 reb, 2 stl
Dec. 22nd vs. DAL: 24 min, 21 pts, 50 FG%, 7 reb, 2 stl, 4 blk
So just from these stats alone, you can see that he is a tremendous defender that can also stroke it in from deep. I'll also add in that he is a phenomenal offensive rebounder, one of the best I've seen.
Another cheap, versatile shooter the Sixers could use is Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk, a 22 year old shooter that just came off of his best year with the Pistons and shot 40% from deep. Mykhailiuk is a very cheap option as he just came off of a $1.45 million contract with Detroit. At 6'7, Mykhailiuk can play either the SG or SF position, which gives the Sixers more flexibility. Skill wise, Mykhailiuk can obviously shoot well, which the Sixers could really use, but he is also very quick and can drive to the hoop with serious speed. I don't know how many of you will understand this, but his speed to the basket is almost Austin Rivers like. Another area of Mykhailiuk's game that the Sixers would like is his surprising defensive ability. Mykhailiuk has quick hands and has pulled off some pretty impressive blocks on shots, not layups, jump shots. The reason he can pull this off is due to his explosiveness which I mentioned earlier. Mykhailiuk has quickness, but he also has explosiveness and can actually get up there for some tomahawks.
Lastly, we have Jeff Green. Sixers fans should've seen this one coming. Green is 6'8 and can play either the SF, PF, or C positions, a very versatile player for the Sixers to pick up. You want cheap? Well Jeff Green is about as cheap as you can get in regards to salary pay. He just came off of a $695,526 deal with the Rockets. For a player with the skill of Green, that is an absolute bargain. No on to his skills and how he can fit in with this Sixer team. We all know that Green is a rangy big man and has a great stroke from deep, but have you seen how much this man hustles? Whether it be for the rebound, the putback, or on defense to get the steal or block. This man, like many players on the Rockets, really goes 110%, 100% of the time. Despite being 6'8, Green can put the ball on the floor and take it to the hoop, with touch or with force. He can finish well at the basket, but he can also slam it with ease, whether it be a guard, or another center. Green would likely play PF as that is the Sixers current position of need, and I would like to see Simmons play PG because we've seen that work, and we've also seen that Milton is not yet ready to start at PG and is much more effective as a backup. I'm not saying that Milton won't be ready to start for the next season, I'm just speaking on what I've seen so far.