Going into the offseason, there were plenty of directions that the Philadelphia 76ers could have taken. They had to decide on whether their two mid-season trade acquisitions (Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris) were worth bringing back on more expensive deals, and also how to add depth to a bench that got exposed in the playoffs. Additionally, questions were beginning to surface about the functionality of the duo of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and if Philly was willing to give Simmons the max extension that he would become eligible for. All of these questions were answered, and the result is one of the more interesting rosters in the NBA.
|Point Guard PG|
|Shooting Guard SG|
|Small Forward SF|
|Power Forward PF|
|Point Guard PG||
|Shooting Guard SG||
|Small Forward SF||
|Power Forward PF|
The Sixers lost Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat, but they did well to get back Josh Richardson in the form of a sign-and-trade. Richardson had his best year as a pro a season ago, and if his offensive game continues to grow to compliment his already high end defensive abilities he can grow into an elite level 3-and-D option on an affordable contract going forward for the Sixers. After Butler’s departure, the Sixers became determined to keep Tobias Harris, and ended up striking a five-year deal with him for just below max-level money. In order for this contract to be worth it, Harris must grow into an elite level scoring option that can be depended on to get a quality shot when it matters most, which is an ability that he has flashed but hasn’t been consistent at yet.
The offseason move that drew the most noise, however, was the signing of free agent big man Al Horford, and the move makes sense for the Sixers on so many levels. Horford will immediately fill the role as the backup center to Embed, which solves the biggest issue of the postseason for Philly as they were outscored by a staggering 21.6 points per 100 possessions during the playoffs when Embiid wasn’t on the court (imagine the difference this would make during the Toronto series). Additionally, coach Brett Brown will likely opt to play Embiid and Horford together often, giving Philly an enormous lineup of Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Embiid that can be set to wreak havoc on the rest of the league.
While the moves highlighted above are definitely the ones making headlines, the 76ers also managed to add some talent to their bench. To start off, they managed to bring back James Ennis and Mike Scott, who both had their moments in the playoffs as quality wing options that can shoot and defend. After missing most of the last year, 2018 first round pick Zhaire Smith showed off his unique athletic ability during the summer league and now poised to have more of an impact this time around. Then there’s the squad’s 2019 first round pick Matisse Thybulle, who has some room to grow to be considered an offensive threat, but his defensive instincts should make him a great bench option right away.