PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Through 11 games this season, the biggest fear for Sixers fans have come to the forefront. But could current free agent Carmelo Anthony be the answer to the team’s early-season struggles?
In the first 11 games, the Sixers are 22nd in the NBA in three-point shooting, making just 32.8% from beyond the arc. A major question mark coming into the season was where would the Sixers find a consistent outside threat.
It looks in the first few games Furkan Korkmaz has become the deep threat for the team. He currently is averaging just under five attempts per game and shooting 40.7%. But that seems to be the only option the team has.
Tobias Harris, who signed a $180 million contract this past offseason, has not put up the numbers fans expected to see. Granted it has only been 11 games, but Harris is shooting a career-low 20.4% from three-point range.
Those numbers look somewhat worse considering Harris has not made a three-pointer since Nov. 4.
Another glaring issue is the team’s inability, so far, to finish close games. According to NBA.com, in eight total clutch games, the Sixers have a 5-3 record. A clutch game is defined as the last five minutes of any game in which the two teams are separated by five points or less.
Take, for example, the Sixers’ last three losses. In the fourth quarter of those games, the Sixers have been outscored by a combined 89-59. That includes blowing a 21-point lead to the Denver Nuggets.
So how can this change? You have two options: Anthony or Jamal Crawford.
Yes, Anthony is 35 years old and Crawford is 39, but both players have made a career out of scoring the basketball and can score isolation baskets, which is crucial to winning close games.
Looking at what they both bring to the court, Anthony does lack a defensive presence but is 22nd on the NBA’s all-time scoring list with 25,551 career points. For a team looking to add a veteran scorer, the Sixers’ team defense would be able to cover up Anthony’s defensive troubles and he would bring with him 16 game-winning shots, along with hitting 35% from three for his career.
As for Jamal Crawford, his skillset is more diverse. His ball-handling skills have been a critical part of his career since entering the league. For as much as he handled the ball, Crawford only averages 1.9 turnovers per game, which is around what Ben Simmons is averaging this season.
Crawford also brings a career 35% from beyond the arc as well as nearly a steal per game.
These two options would give an automatic spark for a team looking for someone who can carry the scoring load and still trying to find out what they truly have.
With that said, general manager Elton Brand and head coach Brett Brown have to be looking at something that will give this team with championship aspirations—a fighting chance.