76ers get better-fitting players, better coach, better lead executive
NBC Sports' Dan Feldman rates each team's off-season based on where the team now stands relative to their position in the off-season. A “C” means that a team is in a similar position and from there notches pointing up or down.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons remain the center of the 76s universe.
Everything revolves around these two stars.
Philadelphia upgraded its executive (Daryl Morey from Elton Brand from Bryan Colangelo from Jerry Colangelo) and trainer (Doc Rivers from Brett Brown) to optimize Embiid and Simmons.
And of course, Morey continued the 76s cycle by supporting Starter (previously: J. J. Redick, Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, Josh Richardson). The new trio:
Tobias Harris in power forward (back from small forward)
The fit looks better.
Curry and Green are good 3 point shooters who should provide a lot more distance around Embiid and Simmons. Playing with a large defensive-minded point guard for playmakers in Simmons should particularly benefit Curry, who ideally is considered an undersized shooting guard. Harris is more effective as a foursome and he had his best year in that position for Rivers on the Clippers.
But talent and wealth are also important.
Josh Richardson (sent to the Mavericks for curry) is better than any newcomer on the wing. Al Horford (sent to Thunder for Green) is better than he looked next to Embiid last season. Curry has real defensive and game restrictions. Green, underrated as he was, appears to be slipping at the age of 33. Philadelphia also abandoned picks 34 and 36 and a future top classic in these trades.
Obviously, unloading the $ 81 million ($ 69 million guaranteed) in the last three years of Horford's contract was a priority. However, this offers more financial relief than maneuverability. The 76ers do not want to have any more space for the foreseeable future until well into the luxury tax.
In essence, Philadelphia increased its floor and ceiling. The compromise paid off as Embiid and Simmons still offer a high cap and last year's jumbo group barely stood a chance of ever reaching their potential. But it was a compromise.
At least the 76ers have effectively replenished their asset base with good designs. With picks 21, 49, and 58, Philadelphia has players 14, 25, and 29 on my board: Tyrese Maxey, Isaiah Joe, and Paul Reed. I don't expect much from this group this season - maybe ever. This was a pretty weak looking design. But these players were worth betting on.
Terrance Ferguson, purchased from Horford, is a 22-year-old who started out on the wing in Oklahoma City. I'm not sure how much value he adds to a team that already had Matisse Thybulle, but Ferguson could become a contributor to the '76 too.
For faster relief, Philadelphia signed Dwight Howard (at least a year) to support Embiid. That's a steal based on how Howard played for the Lakers last season, but chemistry issues follow suit. Tony Bradley (acquired by the Pistons) and Vincent Poirier (included in the Horford deal) add to the mid-depth of the 76s - always important when considering Embiid's health.
Similarly, Embiid might not be able to offer a prime number for as long as its age (26) suggests. This is one of the reasons Philadelphia has been so strongly associated with James Harden this off-season.
While their talent can overcome problems and more shooting in the area will help, Embiid and Simmons naturally don't complement each other - as much as the organization insists. It wouldn't be crazy to swap Simmons for Harden and improve instantly.
Morey's explanation that he will not trade with Simmons is just not reliable. Harden is still available and Morey's predilection for the Rockets star is well established.
However, the possibility of a harden trade shows a disadvantage of the off-season of the 76s. Prioritizing adjustments to Embiid and Simmons would be a misallocation of resources if that tandem does not stay intact. For example, Richardson would fit better as a curry next to Harden.
These are the types of dilemmas that arise when a team is trying to win. Philadelphia will constantly try to bring the players together on the pitch and on the squad.
Most of the time, I have a lot more faith in Rivers to solve a lot of micro-problems and Morey to solve macro-problems than I did in the previous regime.
Low season class: B.
76ers get better matched players, better coaches, better executives that originally appeared on NBCSports.com
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