Elton Brand was tasked with turning this good Sixers team into a great Sixers team… and he freaking nailed it. I could take this opportunity to make Bryan Colangelo look bad, but he’s done a pretty good job of that on his own. This year’s trade deadline was a busy one for Elton and for Philadelphia. There was a ton of movement and a the Sixers got exactly what they’ve needed all year: depth.
Let’s start with what they’ve given up:
The beginning of Mike Muscala’s tenure with the team was a little rocky due to some questionable decisions by his dad, but you can’t blame the son for the sins of the father. He’s been averaging 34.2% on 4.2 attempts from beyond the arc this year. Based on the eye test though, I would’ve guessed he was shooting somewhere around 11% from three. Maybe it’s because he is shooting a career low 39.2 % from the field this season. Mike came up big for the Sixers against the Warriors, but all that did was boost his value just in time to be traded. It wasn’t working out in Philly. Muscala needed to go one way or another.
Wilson Chandler was playing adequately as of late but he hasn’t been available as much as the Sixers would’ve liked. He had a litany of minor injuries that resulted in 18 games missed this year. I think we all knew that he wasn’t part of their plan long-term, so this shouldn’t be a shock to anyone that he’s gone.
The JJ Redick successor, Landry Shamet, had to be moved in the Tobias Harris deal. The Clippers weren’t going to give up everything for nothing, though they almost did. I really love Landry’s game. His three point shooting and ability to play both guard positions made him valuable off the bench. He has a very bright future in this league and has already shown that with his new team, the Los Angeles Clippers. He had an amazing fourth quarter against the Celtics last night in an unbelievable comeback win. Godspeed, Landry.
Former number one overall pick, Markelle Fultz. I never knew how to feel about Markelle. He showed time and time again that he was still a child by letting his agent/lawyer and mother make all of his decisions. The Sixers were tired of waiting for Markelle to decide to play/heal his shoulder, depending on what you believe. The Fultz saga is finally over in Philadelphia. It was time to move on. It’s easy to be frustrated with the entire situation as Markelle ultimately received $15 million dollars for playing thirty-three games. Philly is in win now mode and Markelle doesn’t fit that bill. I’ve been more supportive of Markelle than I should’ve been, but my patience has finally run out. Later, kid.
The New Guys:
The Sixers added a lot of much needed bench depth. Jonathon Simmons, James Ennis, and Mike Scott are all guys who can defend multiple positions and score. Simmons was a key contributor in the Spurs 2017 playoff run before cashing in and signing with the lowly Magic. James Ennis has shot a respectable 36.3% from three over the course of his career. Philly is his sixth team in five seasons, but don’t let that take away from the fact that he’s been a solid contributor off the bench for his past four teams. Mike Scott, aka The Threegional Manager (according to Basketball-Reference.com), shot 39.1% from three with the Clippers this season. He wasn’t getting much run with them, but he was making the most of his playing time. He was averaging 4.8 points and 3.3 rebounds in just 14.4 minutes per game.
The juiciest part of this year’s trade deadline was the acquisition of Tobias Harris and his sidekick Boban Marjanovic, aka Tobi and Bobi. Please check them out on Instagram or Twitter if you’ve yet to see their antics. Boban is incredibly efficient, but will probably only play 15-20 minutes per game. His 7’3″, 290-lb frame will wreak a lot of havoc while Embiid gets some rest on the bench. Tobias, on the other hand, is going to start immediately. He brings a lot of scoring (20.9 ppg) to a position that has been lacking. He isn’t known for defensive prowess, but his ability to switch will improve the overall team defense for Philadelphia.
The new-look Sixers has a scary starting five. Simmons, Redick, Butler, Harris, and Embiid are ready to take the next step in the Eastern Conference and the possibility of facing the Warriors in the NBA Finals is looking more like a reality. I’m really excited to see what Brett Brown can do with these guys.