Sixers Should Wait for the Draft to Target a Point Guard
The Philadelphia 76ers have been rumored to be targeting point guards in trades, but they should wait until the draft to find its point guard of the future.
With the trade deadline rapidly approaching, the Sixers‘ trade rumors have been heating up. This week, the Sixers were rumored to be in “advanced” trade talks with the Pelicans with Jahlil Okafor as the main piece that would go to New Orleans.
There were many different packages rumored to be possibly coming to Philly in return. The early reports were that the Sixers would receive one of Omer Asik and Alexis Ajinca and a future first in exchange for Okafor. However, later reports were saying the Sixers were trying to reshape the deal in order to bring Pelicans PG Jrue Holiday back to Philly.
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Bringing back Holiday at this stage of his career would not be a bad move for the Sixers given his age (26) and his success this season. While Holiday appeared in his only All-Star game during his time with the Sixers, it’s not likely he will make another All-Star appearance with the abundance of young point guards in the league right now.
While bringing back Holiday would be a good move for the Sixers as he could be very successful running the pick and roll with Joel Embiid, there are better options that will help the team in the long run.
There are three options in the draft that all have the potential to be All-Star caliber guards. Those three players are Markelle Fultz, Lonzo Ball, and Dennis Smith Jr.
The team will benefit in the long run by taking one of these three players. All three have different skill sets. Let’s take a look at how each fits with the Sixers and why they are a better option than acquiring a guard.
Fultz is currently the consensus top pick in the majority of mock drafts at this point of the season, and it’s because of his amazing ability to score the ball.
Fultz plays on a bad Washington team, but it hasn’t hindered his development whatsoever. His ability to score with such ease is something that would greatly benefit the Sixers. He has shown the ability that he score in all ways. He is great when attacking the rim and hitting floaters in the lane. But he has also shot the ball well from beyond the arc, currently shooting just over 42 percent from deep. The one major concern is with Fultz’s free throw shooting, which sits at 64.4 percent.
He is currently sixth overall in the country in scoring, averaging just over 23 points per game. That is also good for best among Power 5 players.
Fultz is not a ball-dominant point guard and he has drawn comparisons to Kyrie Irving. Having Fultz would allow Ben Simmons to still run the show at point guard while Fultz could create shots and score off the ball.
There’s no doubt that if the Sixers end up winning the lottery that it will be difficult to pass up on Fultz’s raw scoring ability.
Ball has exploded onto the college basketball scene not only because he has exceeded expectations for him as an individual, but also because he is helping to lead UCLA past expectations.
Many people question how Ball fits with the Sixers given that he is a ball-dominant point guard, but Ball is so versatile that it wouldn’t conflict with Simmons’ style of play. Ball would actually allow Simmons to take advantage of mismatches and either post up a smaller defender or go one-on-one with a bigger, slower defender. Ball has shown the ability to rack up assists as he’s currently second in the nation, first among Power 5 players in assists with just under eight per game.
Plus, Ball has shown that he is a clutch scorer at the end of games. Scouts have questioned his awkward shooting motion, but those questions are starting to go away given his range and outstanding shooting percentage. Ball currently averages 15.5 points per game and is shooting 43 percent on three pointers.
Ball’s willingness to pass and his ability to create shots for his teammates would greatly fit what Brett Brown wants to do. With Simmons and Ball, the Sixers could create a Spurs style offense focused on ball movement and getting the best looks each time down the floor.
Dennis Smith Jr.
Smith was talked about a lot during his recruitment, but he suffered an ACL injury while in high school, which led to many people questioning if he would ever return to full form.
Smith has silenced all of those critics and he has gotten better as the season has gone on. Smith has shown he can score it almost as easily as Fultz, as he is averaging over 19 points per game. He has shown he can hit threes from NBA range, but he hasn’t been as efficient as Fultz and Ball, shooting under 39 percent.
His career high in points came in a comeback win on the road against Duke. Smith was clearly the most talented player on the court the entire game and he put up 32 points and six assists.
Speaking of assists, Smith has shown he can pass the ball as good as Ball with a less talented group of players around him at NC State. Smith is fourth in the country in assists, second among Power 5 players, averaging exactly seven per game.
While Smith may not be as talked about as Fultz and Ball, he is still an extremely talented player that the Sixers would be lucky to snag at the fourth or fifth pick should that be where their pick is.