Report: Sixers Trade Zhaire Smith to Pistons

Darly Morey and the front office continue to tweak the Sixers' roster in preparation for next season. Reports have come out that the team has agreed to trade guard Zhaire Smith to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Tony Bradley.

This trade ends Smith's lackluster tenure in Philadelphia. After being drafted 16th overall in the 2018 draft, Smith has had trouble making it on the court for the Sixers. Injuries and illness plagued him since being drafted, appearing in just 13 games as a Sixer. A change of scenery could be good for Smith, and he is going to situation in Detroit that will allow him to see the floor in a less pressure situation.

In return they will get Tony Bradley, a 6'10 center who has spent the last three seasons as a member of the Utah Jazz. Bradley is just 22 years of age, and shows a lot of promise in his game.

Bradley appeared in 58 games for the Jazz last season. He would average 4.9 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 0.6 BPG playing a little over 11 minutes a game.

The recent moves the Sixers have made has created a log jam at the guard and wing positions, making it very unlikely that Smith would have seen the court this season. This move lessens the jam at guard, and gives the team added depth at the center spot behind Joel Embiid and Dwight Howard.

Bradley could provide solid minutes in the front court if Embiid or Howard miss a game or are rested. His 6'10 frame with a 7'5 wingspan provides great size and fits with team's defensive identity. At 3.5 million dollars he is also a cheap option for big man insurance this season.

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Grading the Sixers' Draft Picks

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The 2020 NBA draft has come and gone, and it’s safe to say the new Sixers’ front office regime has left its mark. Between draft day trades and selections, the team looks to be trending in the right direction. 

Heading into the night the Sixers had five selections but would only end up making three. Here are my grades for each of the Sixers’ picks.

Pick No. 21: Tyrese Maxey 

Grade: A+

When the draft process began, Tyrese Maxey was looked at as a lottery pick. The Sixers landing him with the 21st overall pick is a tremendous value. He is already being talked about as being the steal of this draft. 

The Sixers needed to upgrade at the guard position and then have done that in drafting Maxey. His ability to create offense and score in multiple ways should be a big boost to the Sixers’ offense. 

On day one Maxey will be a spark plug off the Sixers’ bench and provide much-needed scoring for the second unit. If he can continue to improve his shot from deep, Maxey could be the starting point guard of the future. 

It’s not every year that you land a lottery-level player at the back end of the first round. That is why this pick is a no-brainer A+ pick for the Sixers. 

Pick No. 49: Isaiah Joe 

Grade: A 

Another area that the Sixers needed to improve was outside shooting. Along with trading for two knockdown shooters on draft day, they used one of their second-round picks on one as well. 

Despite being picked towards the end of the draft, Isaiah Joe has a chance to become an NBA rotation player. Along with his NBA-ready range from deep, Joe also has the measurables to hang around in the league. 

Standing at six foot five with a six foot ten wingspan, Joe has a good base for a three-and-D player. His main area of concern is weight, weighing just 180 pounds. Adding on muscle is the key thing he needs to address at the NBA level. 

In his two years at Arkansas, Joe shot 37.8% from three on nine attempts a game. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid could never have enough shooting around them, making taking a chance on Joe an easy decision. 

Pick No. 58: Paul Reed 

Grade: B+

With their third and final pick of the night, the Sixers selected big man Paul Reed out of DePaul. Although this pick is graded a B+, Reed was the most fascinating pick in the draft for the Sixers. 

Last season for DePaul Reed averaged 15.1 PPG, 10.1 RPG, and a stellar 2.6 BPG. Despite standing at just six foot nine, he plays much bigger than he is. 

After recent cuts to the Sixers’ roster, it looks like Reed will be taking one of the team’s two-way slots this year. The time in the G-League could benefit Reed as he figures out what his role will be in the NBA. It will also give the Sixers a chance to see how versatile he can be at the NBA level. 

Reed’s size and game make him a very interesting prospect. His ability to rebound and defend around the rim at his size makes him a potential small-ball center. Reed is also a great athlete who runs the floor great. 

The idea of him and Ben Simmons in the frontcourt together is an interesting one. Reed can also step out and knock down shots on the perimeter, which could open lanes for Simmons and Tobias Harris when Joel Embiid is off the floor. 

This is a pick where the grade could change down the line. If Reed can show he can play his same style at the NBA level, he becomes an extremely versatile prospect for the Sixers. He could even put himself in the conversation to be the backup to Embiid somewhere down the line. 

Although the Sixers’ front office had limited time together heading into this draft, they performed outstandingly. They addressed major areas of need and have greatly improved the fit of the Sixers’ roster. Now it’s time to see how they can finish rounding things out in free agency.

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Report: Harden Lists Philly As Top Destination

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Monday afternoon the NBA's trade window has officially opened, and things are starting to heat up. Now that Chris Paul has been traded, the next sweepstakes look to be for James Harden.

The Rockets' star looks like he could be on the move. Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that Harden wants to be moved to a contender, and the Sixers are on his shortlist of top landing spots.

Since the arrival of Daryl Morey in Philadelphia, the rumors of Harden to the Sixers continue to swirl. This move could instantly make the Sixers are title favorites, but could come at a steep price.

Acquiring a former MVP with limited assets is going to be a tall task for Morey and the Sixers' front office. Realistically is this move is going to get done the Sixers are going to have to part ways with Ben Simmons.

Brooklyn has a lot more interesting pieces they could throw into a trade, but if Philly were to offer Simmons it might sway the odds in their favor. The question is if acquiring Harden is worth trading away Ben Simmons at just 24 years old.

If the Sixers want to push all their chips in, this is the move to do it. Using up every possible asset to pair harden with Embiid and Simmons would cause issues in the long-term, but could lead to a dynasty in the short-term.

Since his introductory press conference, Morey has seemed firm on moving forward with Embiid and Simmons. Between that and the steep price tag the Rockets will have on Harden, this is going to be a tough pairing to get done. But Morey has traded for Harden once, maybe he can pull a rabbit out of the hat once more.

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Ranking Potential First Round Picks for the Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

The sprint to the next NBA season kicks off this Wednesday with the NBA draft. Even with the draft just days away, names continue to rise and fall on draft boards.

The Sixers have been linked to multiple players with the 21st overall pick. With nothing set in stone, here is a ranking of possible players the team could take with their first-round pick.

5) Tyrell Terry: Stanford, G 

Terry has been a name mocked to the Sixers on multiple occasions in recent months. The freshman guard out of Stanford could provide the playmaking guard on the perimeter the team needs.

In his sole college season, he averaged 14.6 PPG, 4.5 RPG, and 3.2 APG. Terry was also a reliable shooter from deep, where he shot just under 41%. His game draws a lot of similarities to Hawks’ All-Star Trae Young.

The glaring concern with Terry is his size, although reports have said he’s put on muscle since the college season. At six foot one and around 180 pounds, Terry could struggle against NBA athletes.

With his combination of outside shooting and shot creation, Terry would be a fine selection for the Sixers in the first round. That being said there are some alternative avenues the team could take to boost their roster in round one.

4) Tyrese Maxey: Kentucky, G

Maxey is a freshman combo-guard coming out of Kentucky. Early in the draft process, Maxey was looked at as a late lottery pick, but recent mocks have him in the Sixers’ range now.

In his sole college season, Maxey averaged 14.0 PPG, 4.3 RPG, and 3.2 APG. His 29.2% from deep might come off as a red flag, but his jumpshot is better than the numbers show.

Worst case scenario, Maxey will be an offensive spark plug for the second unit. His strong ball-handling and athletic finishing ability allow him to score the ball in multiple ways.

At 6’3 with a 6’10 wingspan, size isn’t much of an issue like it is with Terry. Maxey has the size and length to defend opposing guards. With the departure of Alec Burks, the Sixers are going to need a guard who can score and create off the bench, this is a role Maxey could fill on day one.

3) Josh Green: Arizona, G/F

Adding guards to the roster should be the Sixers’ primary focus, but in today’s game, you can never have enough wing players. Josh Green is one of the top wing players in this class and has real potential as a three-and-D type player.

Green is a 6’6 wing who is coming off a freshman year at Arizona where he averaged 12.0 PPG, 4.6 RPG, and 2.6 APG. He also grabbed over a steal per game and shot 36.1% from beyond the arc.

The physical attributes and play style are all there to be the prototypical wing player in today’s NBA. Green is athletic, is a solid spot-up shooter from deep, and his 6’10 will allow him to defend multiple positions at the NBA level.

The age factor is the only downside to the Sixers drafting Green. At just 19 years old it could be questioned if he is ready enough to come into the competing situation that the Sixers are currently in. If drafted, Green and Matisse Thybulle could be a deadly pair of wing players for the Sixers down the line.

2) Cole Anthony: North Carolina, G 

Cole Anthony arguably has the highest ceiling out of any player on this list. Before the start of the college season, he was looked at as a top-five pick in this draft, but injury and questionable stats have caused his stock to drop.

In his lone season at UNC Anthony averaged 18.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, and 4.0 APG. He shot just 38% from the field which could be alarming to some, but that was more due to a lack of talent around him. Anthony showed he can be reliable from deep, shooting just under 35%.

The biggest concern with Anthony is his health. Last December he partially tore his meniscus in his right knee that required surgery and caused him to miss some time. One positive of this delayed timeline is that he has had almost a full year to rehab this injury before he enters the NBA.

Anthony can potentially be the scoring point guard the Sixers need in their starting lineup. He works well in the pick-and-roll and would be a good secondary ball-handler on the floor with Ben Simmons. If Anthony can get back on track to reaching his full potential, he could be a steal for the Sixers at pick 21.

1) Desmond Bane: TCU, G

Although Cole Anthony might have a higher ceiling, Desmond Bane is the best fit for the Sixers with the 21st pick. What he brings is exactly what the Sixers need at the guard position.

As a four year guy in college, Bane fits the timeline of the team better than the underclassmen also listed. From a maturity standpoint, he could be more prepared to come into a contending situation on day one.

Bane is coming off his senior season where he averaged 16.6 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 3.9 APG. He was great at knocking down shots from deep, shooting 44.2% from three on 6.5 attempts a game.

At 6’6 and 215lbs Bane will also have the size to hold his own against NBA athletes as well. His physical attributes will allow him to defend either guard position at the NBA level.

All of these players bring something that would boost the Sixers’ roster if drafted. But Desmond Bane checks the most boxes and should be the no-brainer pick if he is still on the board when the Sixers pick on Wednesday.

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Report: Sixers Eyeing Draft Prospect Isaiah Joe

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

We are now just five days away from the NBA draft and the reports are flooding. Although it is still unclear what the Sixers will do in the first round, it seems them have found who their guy is with one of their early second round picks.

Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer has reported that the Sixers have their eyes on sharpshooting guard Isaiah Joe out of Arkansas. He is coming off a sophomore season where he averaged 16.9 PPG, 4.1 RPG, and 1.7 APG.

One source said the expectation was that the Sixers intended to select the sharpshooter in the draft. While picking him at 21 might be considered a reach, the belief is it would happen early in the second round.

One key area the Sixers need to upgrade in this offseason is perimeter shooting. Lack of shooting on the outside greatly impacted the Sixers' spacing on offense. Isaiah Joe is a prospect that could greatly upgrade the Sixers' three-point shooting.

Having a guard who can come in and consistently knock down threes is something the team has missed since the departure of JJ Redick. This is a role Joe could come in and fill for the Sixers. In his college career, he shot 37.8% from deep on just over nine attempts a game.

Joe has a lot of potential as a floor-spacing guard, and his shot is best off the catch making him a perfect fit on the floor with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Along with what he could bring to the offense, Joe could also hold his own on the defensive side of the ball.

At six foot five and 180 pounds Joe has a frame that could allow him to defend both guard position. He also has a 6'10 wingspan that helped him average close to two steals a game in college.

Between his shooting and potential on the defensive side of the ball, Isaiah Joe could be a solid pick up for the Sixers in the second round of the draft. Grabbing Joe with the 34th or 36th pick would be a good move for the Sixers on draft night. 

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Daryl Morey Should Un-tap Ben Simmons, Not Trade Him

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

When Daryl Morey was introduced as a member of the Sixers’ organization on Monday, his excitement to work with Joel Embiid was very clear. On the same note, there wasn’t as much talk about the team’s other All-Star Ben Simmons.

Now Morey and head coach Doc Rivers seem intent on running with the Sixers’ current core, but the trade rumors are already starting to swirl. James Harden has been the first of what will likely be many names the Sixers are tied to in potential trades moving forward.

It is no secret that the new front office regime is going to do their best to upgrade the Sixers and get them in a position of contention. The key to doing that should be working on un-tapping Ben Simmons, not trading him.

Simmons is coming off a season where he was an All-Star and received All-NBA honors. The sky is still the limit for him at just 24 years old. If anyone can put together the kind of roster to get the most out of Simmons’ skill-set, it’s Daryl Morey. Analytics plays a large role in Morey’s decision making, and Ben Simmons is the perfect type of player for “Morey ball.”

Last season we saw a Houston Rockets team that specifically focused on taking shots only from three or around the rim. If Morey plans to bring any form of this style of play to Philly, Ben Simmons should thrive.

Despite not taking three-point shots in games, Simmons has been elite at creating three-point opportunities for the players around him. Since his NBA debut, Simmons has been at the top of the league in assists on three-pointers.

In 57 games last year, Simmons assisted on 228 total three-pointers, coming to about four made threes a game. Despite the Sixers being one of the weaker three-point shooting teams in the league, Simmons was still among the best in creating them.

Along with his ability to create shots for others, Simmons is also one of the best players in the league in the open floor. At his size and speed, when he gets going in transition, there aren’t many players who can stop him.

Morey and Rivers have both talked about how they want to utilize Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid more moving forward, and Morey’s emphasis on three-point shooting should do that. Adding a plethora of floor-spacers around the two superstars would do wonders for them and the team’s offense as a whole.

Before his injury in the bubble, Simmons was just scratching the surface of his expanding his game in a new position. With the potential of him as point-forward still unknown, it would be foolish to consider dealing him away.

Ben Simmons is an elite-level defender and playmaker who is still closing in on his prime years. Trading him now for a high-level star is a move that could haunt them for years if the front office decided to do it.

In the right system, Simmons will continue to show why he is a premier young talent in this league. With Doc Rivers talking about implementing a faster pace and Morey’s focus on outside shooting, Simmons and Embiid should both thrive this year.

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Report: Elton Brand Signs Extension With Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

So far this offseason, the theme of the Philadelphia 76ers has been change. From top to bottom, the Sixers have been going through a complete turnover. Despite all the new faces entering the organization, one person will be staying for the long-run.

Shams Charania of The Athletic has reported that Elton Brand has agreed to a multi-year extension to remain with the Sixers. Brand's future with the Sixers had been cloudy after the hiring of Daryl Morey, but it looks like the two will be working together to get the Sixers back into a point of contention.

Charania has said in the past that Brand is still "well respected by his peers across the NBA," making it an easy decision to want to keep Brand around to work with Morey. The two of them should make a good duo in the front office.

Having Morey and Brand working together in the front office should only benefit the Sixers. As we know, Daryl Morey is known for being an executive who likes to make a lot of trades. Having Brand and his league-wide connections as a former player should aid Morey greatly as he looks to find trade partners to reshape the Sixers' roster.

The two should make a great duo as they come from opposing schools of thought as well. Morey has been a pioneer to the analytics wave in professional basketball, while Brand might still hold some thought of how the game was played during his career. Having both influences in the front office should bode well as the two will look to maximize the talent around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.

All in all, this was a good move by the Sixers. Keeping Brand around to work with and learn under Morey will help him grow tremendously as an executive.

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Doc Rivers Adds Two Coaches to His Staff

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Doc Rivers wasted little time starting to build a top-level staff in Philadelphia. First he went and got Dave Joerger to be his lead assistant, and now has gone and added two more experienced coaches to join him. Reports have come out that the Sixers have hired Dan Burke and Sam Cassell to join Rivers' coaching staff.

Burke has been a longtime assistant coach for the Indiana Pacers. He has been part of the Pacers' staff for the past 19 seasons. One thing Burke has been known for is his work on the defensive side of the ball. Between Joerger and Burke, the Sixers should have a more impactful defense than they had last season.

After it was announced that Ty Lue would be bringing in Chauncey Billups to join his staff in Los Angeles, Sam Cassell became a name speculated to come to Philadelphia. Cassell was a member of Doc Rivers' staff with the Clippers for six seasons.

Along with bringing years of coaching experience, Cassell is also a former player. He spent 14 years in the league, playing for multiple franchises. The Sixers now have two former NBA guards on their coaching staff with Rivers and Cassell, this should do wonders for the growth of Shake Milton going forward.

The Sixers continue to make the necessary moves to improve the team. Doing a complete makeover of the coaching staff was much needed if this team was going to see improvement. Now with a completely new set of fresh faces and minds, it will be interesting to see what kind of changes they make and what kind of impact they have with this roster.

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Two Veteran Free Agent Targets for the Sixers

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

Rumors are starting to swirl about when the next NBA season is going to begin. Based on recent reports, it looks like the NBA is aiming to start next season around Christmas Day. 

If the NBA season does start in December, it is going to be a frenzy in the month teams will have between the draft and the start of the season. With next season potentially around the corner, here are two veterans the Sixers should target to fill out their roster. 

Jae Crowder 

With Mike Scott having some inconsistent play last season, the Sixers might look to upgrade at the backup forward spot. If they choose to do so, Crowder would be a solid choice of a three-and-D wing player to bring off the bench. 

Crowder is coming off a season with Miami and Memphis, where he averaged 10.5 PPG, 5.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG. He also spaced the floor well, shooting 34.3% on about six attempts a game. Crowder was an even better shooter off the catch, shooting 35.4% from deep when catching and shooting. 

Adding Crowder would be a nice addition to the Sixers’ second unit. Along with what he will bring on the floor, he will also be bringing veteran and playoff experience. Crowder’s a strong defender and can be relied on to knock down shots on the outside, he would be a good player for the Sixers to sign with their MLE. 

Jeff Green 

Jeff Green brings a lot of the same things that Jae Crowder brings, but could be acquired on a smaller price tag. With all the money tied up in the team’s core, Green could be a nice addition to the bench on a veteran minimum contract. 

Last year for the Rockets, Green averaged 9.4 PPG,2.8 RPG, and shot 34% from beyond the arc. Like Crowder, Green also improves when shooting right off the catch. When catching and shooting from deep last year, he shot 35.4%. 

Green is another free agent wing player who could come in, defend well, and knock down shots on the outside. He also has potential as a small-ball center if the team ever wanted to play small and up the pace. 

During the Rockets’ small ball experiment last season, Green was effective in the pick and roll as the roll man. Now he likely wouldn’t be doing that in Philadelphia, but it’s something to keep in the back of your mind. 

The Sixers are going to need to find veterans who can come in and outplay their contracts, and Green could be a guy to do that. He could come to Philadelphia and slide right into a role as a backup forward who comes in and spaces the floor. 

Both of these players would be good additions to the Sixers’ roster. It will be fascinating to see how free agency plays out with such a short window from now until the season potentially starts in December. 

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One Prospect the Sixers Should Keep an Eye on

By Kevin McCormick, Sports Talk Philly Editor

There are multiple directions the Sixers can go on draft night with their first-round pick. Multiple prospects have been linked to the Sixers with the 21st pick, but there is one in particular they should keep an eye on. 

Cole Anthony has been a name that has floated up and down draft boards all year. Before the college basketball season, Anthony was looked at as a top-five pick in this upcoming draft. But injury and lack of talent around him has caused his stock to fall. 

As his name continues to float around draft boards, Anthony is a name the Sixers should keep an eye on during the draft. There are some question marks to his game, but his talent and potential are worth taking a chance on. 

The key part of Anthony’s game is his ability to put the ball in the basket. He is a strong three-level scorer who averaged 18.3 PPG in his sole season in college. Shot creation on the perimeter is an area that Anthony could come in on day one and provide. 

Along with what he can bring to an offense, Anthony can also hold his own at the other side of the ball. At six foot three and 190 pounds he could be looked at as slightly undersized, but that didn’t stop him from grabbing close to six rebounds a game at UNC. Anthony also averaged a little over a steal per game. 

Shot choice is something that has caused Anthony’s stock to fall, but on the Sixers, he wouldn’t be forced to shoot at the volume that he did in college. If drafted to the Sixers, Anthony could be a microwave scorer for the second unit. 

Although at his best on the ball, Anthony can play off the ball as well. He could be an option to come off screens or be a spot-up shooter from three, where he shot 34.8% on 6.2 attempts at UNC. 

The biggest risk of taking Anthony is how durable he can be. Last December Anthony suffered a partial tear in his right meniscus that required surgery. 

Anthony’s ability to score the ball is something the Sixers need off the bench. With Alec Burks likely moving on in free agency, the Sixers will need to find a new sixth man. 

Drafting Anthony is a gamble that could pay off greatly for the Sixers. If he can show flashes of the prolific high-school prospect that he was, the Sixers could have a premier guard for the long term. Worst case scenario he can be a multi-tool scorer for the Sixers’ second unit. 

Recent mock drafts have had the Sixers selecting Anthony with the 21st pick. It will be fascinating to see if the team looks to take a gamble on Anthony’s potential or play it safe on draft night.

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