By Andrew Porter
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — No more Ish Smith, Isiah Cannan, or T.J. McConnell. The Philadelphia 76ers need a point-guard.
They simply need to add veteran point-guard who can: run an offense, take care of the ball, play defense, and make shots. Nothing crazy.
Smith shoots less than 30-percent from three and 65-percent from the line. Cannan shoots slightly better, but too often. And McConnell, well, he’s not really an NBA player.
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So let’s see who the Sixers can add via free-agency or in trade scenarios.
7. Eric Bledsoe
Bledsoe, 6’1″, 190-pounds, is 26-years-old and a former 18th overall pick of the Oklahoma City Thunder. The current Phoenix Suns guard is under contract through the 2018-19 season, but is reportedly on the trading block.
Bledsoe has missed significant time in three out of his six NBA seasons due to injuries and has career averages of 11.6 points, 4.3 assists, and 3.6 rebounds shooting 33-percent from three and 78-percent from the line. Defensively, Bledsoe’s athleticism makes him a solid on-the-ball defender.
With Devin Booker and Brandon Knight as well, to go along with some other young players, the Suns’ backcourt is getting crowded. Plus, Bledsoe is a part of Rich Paul’s Klutch Sports Group, which also represents LeBron James and now Sixers’ No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons. And now we all know how much Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo loves Paul.
6. Brandon Knight
Staying with that crowded Suns backcourt and trade rumors galore, another non free-agent option for the Sixers is Brandon Knight via trade. Knight is a bit more attractive than Bledsoe because he comes without injury risk, he’s under contract through 2019-20 ($12-$16 million AAV), he’s younger, and he’s a better shooter.
Knight, 6’3″, 190-pounds is 24-years-old. He’s played for three teams in six years (Detroit Pistons, Milwaukee Bucks, and Phoenix Suns) averaging 15.9 points, 4.6 assists, and 3.5 rebounds for his career. Knight is a career 41.6/36.0/80.6 (FG/3PG/FT) shooter. Last season, Knight made 2.3 three’s per game.
Both Bledsoe and Knight would fit for the Sixers, but I put them at the bottom of the list since they’re under contract.
*Update (12:50pm)*: Knight or Bledsoe seems a bit more likely after Brett Brown told the 94WIP Mike & Ike Show that he’d be “surprised” if the Sixers did not trade a big man before the season started.
5. Mario Chalmers
On March 10th, Chalmers ruptured his right Achilles tendon. Still, the 6’2″, 190-pound 30-year-old point-guard could be a perfect fit for the Sixers. Coming off of the injury, Chalmers will likely come at a discount.
Chalmers is a career 42.1/35.8/78.6 shooter who averages 1.6 three’s made per game. He has NBA championship experience, winning back-to-back titles with the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He also won the NCAA championship in 2008 with Kansas.
Chalmers is a veteran presence who the Sixers could certainly use.
4. Jeremy Lin
Everyone loves themselves some Jeremy Lin.
Lin, 6’3″, 200-pounds, at 27-years-old carries a bigger profile than most of the other names on the list. He’s already stated he will be methodical in his approach to free-agent, so I don’t know how likely it is he signs with a 10-win team.
However, Lin is just a 43.2/34.6/80.3 career shooter and not a particular superb defender. He can attack the rim and is an above-average passer, but Lin will be somewhat expensive.
3. Norris Cole
Cole, 6’2″, 175-pound, is another member of the Klutch Sports Group.
Cole, 27 — like Chalmers — is a two-time champion with the James and the Miami Heat in 2012 and 2013. He’s a career 41.0/32.4/74.1 percent shooter who plays solid defense. The Sixers were reportedly interested in Cole last season.
2. D.J. Augustin
Augustin, 6’0″, 180 pounds is 28-years-old. He’s played for seven teams in 8 NBA seasons averaging 9.8 points and 4.0 assists per game, shooting 40.4/37.4/86.7 for his career. Augustin is an underrated defender and a better shooter than Lin and Cole.
In the two seasons he’s played 30-plus minutes per game (2010-11, 2013-14), Augustin has averaged at least 14 points and 5 assists per game. In 2013-14 with the Bulls, the former Texas Longhorn averaged 2.2 three’s made per game while shooting 41.1 percent from downtown in 61 games before being traded.
Furthermore, Augustin was a 45.8-percent catch-and-shoot three-point shooter last year, 9th best among NBA players who played at least 50 games.
1. Matthew Dellavedova
A lot of Sixers fans don’t want to hear this. When I expressed my desire for Dellavedova in Philly on Twitter, I got this:
The reality of the situation is, whether fans like it or not, “Delly” checks all the boxes for exactly what the Sixers are looking for.
- Young (25)
- Excellent defender
- Strong work ethic
- Championship experience
- And he can shoot
Delly is a much better shooter than folks give him credit for. For his career, the Cavs guard is a 39.5/39.8/81.6 shooter. Last season, Delly made 1.3 three’s per game shooting 41-percent from deep.
Among NBA players who played 50 or more games last season, Dellavedova was the seventh best catch-and-shoot three-point shooter (47.1-percent) in the league ahead of Augustin (45.8-percent) and Klay Thompson (44.2-percent).
And we all remember how he tormented Stephen Curry in the 2015 NBA Finals. Plus, he’s another Aussie to pair with Simmons!
The obstacle for the Sixers, or any team trying to acquire Dellavedova for that matter, is he’s a restricted free-agent. This means, Cleveland has the right of first refusal and can match any offer.