Despite sitting 3.5 games behind the second-place Toronto Raptors, the Philadelphia 76ers desperately need help if they’d like to climb atop the Eastern Conference.
Philadelphia is going to be one of the more active teams ahead of the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline, with a handful of diagnosable roster problems. Although General Manager Elton Brand worked tirelessly this off-season to construct a roster with sex appeal on paper, the fits of newly acquired pieces have not been so seamless.
Philadelphia flashes glimpses of flawless basketball, typically on nationally televised games, but does so very inconsistently. Surprisingly though, January has been an unusually successful month for Philadelphia despite injuries to Joel Embiid and Josh Richardson.
Although Detroit’s asking price is certainly steep for their 31-year-old Point Guard (under contract through 2021), Rose is a tremendous basketball player. Philadelphia desperately lacks a playmaker at the point guard position in their second unit, despite experimental trails pairing different combinations of players with Raul Neto and Trey Burke.
Throughout Rose’s 11 professional seasons, he has blossomed into a multi-dimensional guard that boosts an offense in the half court. In his recent resurgence, Rose is scoring an average of 18.8 Points/Game and handing out 6.0 Assists/Game with Detroit.
Rose’s 49.5% Field-Goal percentage ranks ninth among qualifying Guards (Min. 30 Games Played – 15 Minutes/Game) and his Assist percentage ranks third (38.2%). Rose owns a 111.2 Offensive Rating, which is greater than that of Ja Morant, Ben Simmons, and Trae Young.
Derrick Rose Among Guards:— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) January 23, 2020
‣OffRTG: 111.3 ( > Irving, Simmons, Morant)
‣FG: 49.7% (8th)
‣TS: 56.4% ( > Beal, Brogdon, Tatum)
‣AST %: 38.3% (4th)
1.5 Iso Poss./G
*Less than M. Harrell, B. Bogdanovic, and M. Bagley III*
Stop lying to yourself.
Via @nbastats @76ersTPL pic.twitter.com/2KmujHHvoZ
More specifically, if Rose were traded to Philadelphia today, he would own the highest offensive rating on the team, the highest assist percentage, and the second-highest field goal percentage.
Over 110 active NBA players make between 30-50 passes per game; Rose has the fifth most assist points created (16.3) on 43.3 passes made/game. Although public perception suggests that Rose is a ball-dominant guard, he isolates less frequently than Montrezl Harrell, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Marvin Bagley III.
Ultimately, Rose does not solve Philadelphia’s lingering three-point shooting problem; he hardly helps. Regardless, the veteran guard possesses high basketball IQ, displays fantastic court vision, attacks with precision, and generates instant individual offense. If Philadelphia can somehow pry Rose from Detroit, they should inquire about Markieff Morris as well.
San Antonio, an organization predicated upon continuity, is more than likely to keep their 26-year-old guard ahead of the February deadline. Nonetheless, Forbes is an interesting piece that is due just $2.8 Million this season before becoming a Free Agent.
Forbes’ streaky performances and offensive inconsistencies outside of purely shooting is problematic. His decision-making with the basketball is a cause of concern, best represented by a myriad of poor analytics, but the sharpshooter can do just that: shoot.
Forbes is a capable mid-range shooter, but finds most to all of his success from beyond the perimeter. Through four seasons, Forbes shot 48.0% from both corners combined and owns a 37.6% three-point percentage.
Dating back to 2016, Forbes is shooting 39.6% on three-point attempts in the fourth quarter.
Philadelphia’s offense empowers three-point shooters because of Ben Simmons‘ ability to penetrate, collapse defenses, and kick. Unfortunately for Philadelphia though, replacing crafty three-point shooters has proven a difficult task. Forbes, however, is shooting 40.4% on Catch and Shoot Three-Point opportunities and 40.6% on Pull-Up Three-Point opportunities since 2016.
Philadelphia DO NOT overlook Bryn Forbes (26 Y/O)— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) January 23, 2020
‣ 45.4% Car. Mid-Range FG
‣ 37.6% Car. 3P (42.6% in '18)
‣ 39.6% 4th Quarter 3P since 2016
‣ 48.0% Car. Combined Corner 3P
‣ 40.4% Catch and Shoot 3P since '16
‣ 40.6% Pull-Up 3P since '16
Via @nbastats @76ersTPL
San Antonio uses Forbes similar to how Philadelphia has used their moving shooters in recent years. He is at his best when coming off of screens and the combination of his speed+shooting could open up the dribble-handoff again for Philadelphia (Forbes is 48.4% from the field on handoffs this season).
Forbes is a sneaky addition that Philadelphia can potentially make to bolster their bench at a presumably cheap cost.
The reunion between Covington and Philadelphia seems more and more imminent as the deadline approaches. Given the history between the two, Covington should fit right in with Philadelphia’s remodeled roster.
Defensively, Covington is a formidable perimeter defender which beautifully matches Philadelphia’s identity this season. Covington’s 3.4 deflections per game are currently tied for seventh-most in the NBA and his 74 total steals is fifth-most (three spots below Simmons).
Covington’s help defense is among some of the most impressive in basketball and his footwork is a thing of beauty. He is a unique defender that never gives up on a play and his on-ball defense is as good as anybody’s in the league. The type of awareness and versatility Covington offers is enough to elevate an entire defense.
Robert Covington Previous 5 Games:— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) January 19, 2020
• 45 Total Catch and Shoot Points (4th/NBA)
• 9.0 Catch and Shoots PPG (T-5th/NBA)
• 38.1% 3P
• 115.4 OffRTG in Q4 (17th/NBA)
• 61.5% TS in Q4
• 38.0% 3P in Q4
• 38.9% Pull-Up 3P
Via @nbastats @76ersTPL https://t.co/B15LSahTHW
Despite a sluggish start to his 2019-20 campaign, Covington thrives in the fourth quarter. He owns a 106.9 offensive rating through quarters one through three, but that number climbs to 116.2 in the final quarter, with the addition of a 58.4% true-shooting percentage.
Covington’s game has not evolved too much in Minnesota, which would likely be the case in Philadelphia, too. He is an active defender with the capability to heat up like a microwave from 20+ feet. Rather than seeking wing players that can take a defender off of the dribble and create their own shot, Philadelphia needs moving shooters that can hit deep shots with accuracy.
Luckily, that is Covington’s niche. Provided Minnesota’s asking price is not overwhelming, the Sixers should look to reunite with him.
Beasley has made subtle improvements in nearly every season with Denver, but the 23-year-old can’t seem to consistently crack the Nuggets’ guard-heavy rotation. Beasley shot 40.2% on 5.0 three-point attempts/game last season, but has seen his minutes and as a result, his production, fall in 2019-20.
Despite a decreased workload this season, Denver shoots +3.8% better from deep when Beasley is on the floor compared to -1.5% worse when he is off. He is making 41.5% of his catch and shoot three-point attempts this year, marking his second consecutive season over 40.0%.
Malik Beasley is an ideal fit for Philadelphia:— Brock Landes (@LandesBrock) January 9, 2020
‘16: 100.0% 3PFGM ASSISTED
‘17: 92.9% 3PFGM ASSISTED
‘18: 98.2% 3PFGM ASSISTED
‘19: 94.9% 3PFGM ASSISTED
‘18: 42.2% Catch and Shoot 3P
‘19: 44.4% Catch and Shoot 3P
Via @nbastats @76ersTPL https://t.co/bCPH3ghwYg
In all four of Beasley’s seasons, over 92.0% of his three-point field- goals made have been assisted. This double-edged sword means that Beasley struggles to create his own shot, but nicely compliments Simmons and Philadelphia’s offense. He comes off of screens eager to shoot, he is always in a ready position to fire away from outside of the perimeter, and his release is smooth on the move.
Despite Sixers’ Rookie Matisse Thybulle shooting 39.4% on three-pointers this season, Philadelphia can use all of the help they can get. The price for Beasley, a Free Agent following this season, should not be too alarming and a change of scenery could only benefit him.
Burks’ recent outpour of scoring on a depleted Golden State Warriors team greatly enhanced his market value. Philadelphia can only blame themselves for prolonging their obtaining the 6’6″ combo guard.
Burks signed a one-year/minimum salary contract with the Warriors prior to this season but instantly excelled in his newfound role. His quick and high release allows him to shoot over opposing guards, helping him shot over 37.0% from long range in four different seasons
In a half-court offense, Burks is a breath of fresh air due to his commitment to off-ball movement. He seizes back-door cut opportunities, sets off-ball screens to free teammates, and facilitates with poise when the ball is in his hands.
Burks totaled 52 points off of screens this season, which is just a few more than the Sixers’ Josh Richardson has scored. His 29 points scored by way of cut is just 11 points less than Al Horford’s cutting total this season.
Similar to Forbes, Burks’ movement in a half-court set could open up Philadelphia’s offense. He is scoring 1.18 points per possession on handoff opportunities, which ranks sixth-best around the league. There, he owns a 5.9% turnover frequency, which is currently good for eighth best in the NBA.
Burks is a more than serviceable role player that has scored at least 20 Points over 12 times this season and brought his points per game average to a career-high 15.9. Philadelphia should act fast on Burks, because Golden State is very likely to part ways with him for future picks.
Sacramento’s third-year marksman is scoring a career high 14.3 points/game, the sixth-most of bench guards. The 27-year-old is earning $8.5 Million this year and is set to become a restricted free agent at the season’s conclusion.
The Kings would be wise to haul in a return for the highly coveted Bogdanovic, who has played his way into a more lucrative contract. Having said that, Bogdanovic would be an expensive rental for Philadelphia, but relieves a gushing wound.
Bogdanovic helps space the floor with the threat of his outside shooting (7.0 attempts per game in ’19-20) and he often warrants mismatches against opposing guards. Despite a career average of 3.5 assists per game, the Serbian wing can occasionally handle the basketball well. He uses his speed to accelerate past defenders in space and defends well around the perimeter.
Through three seasons, he owns a 39.1% catch and shoot three-point percentage and he’s made almost half of his mid-range attempts in 2019-20. In the fourth quarter this season, Bogdanovic is shooting 45.0% from the field and 39.8% from long range with a 113.2 offensive rating, each his best of any quarter.
A player like Bogdanovic is enough to unlock Philadelphia’s offensive potential, without a significant drop off defensively. The Sixers would have the luxury of using him in small-ball lineups, pairing him with either unit, and even expanding their playbook. Provided Sacramento is not confident they can retain Bogdanovic, they should move him, but acquiring him will not be as clean as some of the other players.
Philadelphia is most definitely going to be active come February but is limited with regard to expendable assets
Because of the Sixers’ roster construction and salary cap, the organization can likely only make two or less trades. Expect Philadelphia to monitor the buyout market as well, an opportunity to acquire cheap yet productive talent. Brand has made significant splashes by way of trade numerous times in his short tenure, which should continue this season.