By Ray Boyd
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Throughout the NBA off-season, the Sixers have been the trendy name to bring up in connection to trades. The latest rumor that the Sixers have been linked to is an apparent interest on the part of the Timberwolves to acquire Thaddeus Young to replace Kevin Love if and when they deal the star forward.
The Sixers have also been linked to Dion Waiters of the Cleveland Cavaliers. Because Cleveland is the reported front-runner to land Love, it is only reasonable to think that a potential three team deal could be in the works that could send Waiters home to Philadelphia and Love to Cleveland to partner up with LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
Fans have seemed to voice a bit of hesitancy when it comes to acquiring the third year guard out of Syracuse by way of Life Center Academy in Burlington, NJ.
The apprehension is somewhat surprising and if the Sixers can acquire Waiters and accompanying assets in a deal that would allow them to ship out Young, they will have made a great move.
It is clear that Young is not going to be a part of the long-term future of the team. Head Coach Brett Brown has already referenced his excitement to see the future front line of Dario Saric, Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid. Young will not be a part of that regime.
Waiters is only 22 years old and is coming off an NBA season where he averaged 15.9 points per game and shot nearly 37% from beyond the arc. He shot the three at an above average clip and made an improvement of nearly six percentage points from his rookie season.
People have cited an apparent selfishness in Waiters’ game, but it is unrealistic to expect each player on the floor to be a facilitator. At the end of the day, someone has to be a score first option. The Sixers offense still lacks that piece and Waiters can fill that role. Defenses have an easy time defending a team that lacks a player with a scoring mindset.
There is a difference between selfish and aggressive.
He plays with a sense of aggression and an edge that could be helpful in the Sixers locker room. The apparent selfishness that is referenced is not supported at all by Waiters’ numbers.
Waiters shot 43.3 % from the field last season on 14 shot attempts per game. His field goal percentage on a nightly basis was in the same ballpark as players including Stephen Curry, Manu Ginobili, Damian Lillard, Chandler Parsons, Paul George, Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook.
He is not selfish. He’s a wing scorer. It will be good for the development of Sixers like Michael Carter-Williams and Nerlens Noel to play with a player that can pull some of the defensive pressure off of them. Waiters also excels at getting to the basket off the pick and roll and could develop a great tandem in that regard with Noel.
Sixers fans have not had the pleasure of seeing a lot of high level wing scorers over the last decade, but those type of players are vital to a team. Sam Hinkie and Brown have made it clear that they have placed an emphasis on acquiring young talent and developing young talent.
Giving a 22 year old like Waiters, who has already shown an ability to score at a high level, to a coach like Brown should only bring about positive results for Waiters development. The third year guard is far from a finished product, and that fact is what should make the Sixers even more set on acquiring him.
The Sixers should certainly bring Waiters home, and parting with Young would not be too much at all.
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