We've talked about the Sixers' number one need, a low-post scorer at power forward, again and again. We'll continue talking about it for the rest of the season and throughout the offseason. This post, however, is going to be about their number two need, outside shooting.
As I've watched Thad Young develop, and continue to mature as an inside scorer over the past couple of months it's crossed my mind that failure at objective number one may not be a death sentence for the team. If the Sixers can't find a power forward at the level of Andre Iguodala and Andre Miller, maybe they'd be better off concentrating on upgrading the shooting guard position with the cap space and going into the season with Thad at the 4.
Either way, it's time to take a look at the shooters who may become available this Summer, through free agency and trades. I looked over the rosters of every team and put together the list below. I included anyone who would, or could, help the Sixers with their outside shooting woes, in any capacity.
First, let's break these guys down into four categories. The first we'll call "Willie Replacements
." These are the guys who would come in and start right away. Acquiring any of these guys would probably preclude a move for an impact power forward like Elton Brand and it would also mean that Thad will probably be playing out of position (or molding himself into a PF) for years to come. Here they are in no particular order, with some comments:
- Mike Miller - The Sixers would have to work a trade with Memphis, which shouldn't be too hard to do. They could send picks alone and absorb Miller's contract ($9M next year, $9.7M the following year), if they wanted to. Miller has good size and a lineup of Miller, Miller, Iguodala, Thad and Dalembert would create a lot of problems in the half court for just about any team. On defense, Miller is probably an upgrade over Willie Green at the shooting guard position, but he isn't up to the level of the rest of the team. This may or may not be a problem.
- Corey Maggettte - He's probably going to opt out after this year. He's a scoring machine, although not really a pure deep shooter. He's more of a slasher who gets to the line all the time. I don't think he's a good fit here, and I'm pretty sure he can't spell defense. He needs to go somewhere where he can dominate the ball, put up his numbers, and never have to worry about the playoffs.
- Ron Artest - May or may not opt out. May retire to promote his musical career. May check into an insane asylum. Who knows. I just know I don't want him in Philly to screw up this team's chemistry.
- Gilbert Arenas - While he doesn't have the rap sheet of Ron Artest, he's just as much of a loon. He makes me laugh, but if he was on the Sixers he'd make me cry. I want no part of him.
- Ben Gordon - It's going to take too much money to land Gordon, and I don't think this team would necessarily be much better off than they are right now. He's a better shooter than Willie, a much better shooter, but the rest of his game is weaker. He's too small to guard pretty much any other shooting guard effectively and a lot of point guards will give him problems as well. I don't think this is a direction the team should go in.
The second group we'll call specialists. These are the guys who could come in, play maybe 20 minutes/game off the bench and light it up from the outside. They'd take Willie's minutes and turn them into something other than garbage, ideally. This time, they're in order of my preference:
- Sasha Vujacic - I'd love to see this guy in Philly. He brings exactly what the team needs on offense and a rare toughness from a marksman on the defensive side of the ball. He's a restricted free agent, so the Sixers would probably have to overpay to get him and/or the Lakers would have to decide they don't have a spot (or the luxury tax dollars) to keep him.
- J.R. Smith - Unbelievable range and he could run with this team, which is a problem for a lot of guys on this list. Another restricted free agent, see Vujacic for the problems that causes.
- Daniel Gibson - Boobie is another restricted free agent. Based on shooting ability alone he'd be at the top of this list, but he can't stay healthy and he's under-sized. I don't see any way Cleveland lets him get away either.
- James Jones - A longe-range gunner with good size who has flourished in this role in Portland this year. If he opts out, he could be a solution, but the price has to be right.
- Bostjan Nachbar - Bochy plays like a freak on speed on the floor, but he can knock down the open three. I would have no problem seeing him out there for 15 minutes/game for the Sixers next year.
- Carlos Delfino - Not quite the ideal shooter I'd be looking for, but he makes this list. He can knock them down better than anyone currently on the bench.
The third group we'll call bad fits
. These guys play the wrong position, will cost too much or are just so one-dimensional that they'd create more problems than they'd solve. In no particular order:
- Matt Carroll - Think Kyle Korver, with worse defense. I just don't see a guy like this fitting in, even in a limited role. I could be wrong, but I think the money would be better spent elsewhere.
- Josh Childress - Too expensive, and not enough of an upgrade to warrant playing three small forwards in the starting lineup. Atlanta is going to have some tough decisions to make this offseason, Childress may be the restricted free agent most likely to change teams, along with Ben Gordon.
- Mickael Pietrus - I like his game and his athleticism, but minutes were hard to come by for him in Golden State, I'm not sure how much easier they'd be in Philly. He's a decent 3pt shooter, but not really a guy who's going to spread the floor.
- Kareem Rush - Shooting well this year, in Europe last year. He fit into Jim O'Brien's game plan, which means he probably wouldn't fit into Mo's.
- Maurice Evans - He's done a nice job in Orlando, but I think that's a product of having Dwight Howard down low and Hedo and Rashard Lewis on the outside. He gets nothing but wide-open looks.
- Beno Udrih - Too slow and not a good enough shooter to run the point when Miller's on the bench.
Which leaves us with the final group, which is really just one man, so we'll call it "The Jose Calderons."
- Jose Calderon - If Toronto lets him go they're stupid. Plain stupid. Calderon would be the perfect guy to run the point when Miller is on the bench, and play a little 2 when needed as well. Signing him this offseason would also give the Sixers the insurance they need for when Miller leaves after next year. He may be the one restricted free agent on this list who's worth over-paying for.
There are certainly guys who could be available through trade who I've left off this list, just like many of these guys will never hit the open market. This was just the best list I could come up with of "shooters" who may be available. From this list, who would you want? Who did I leave off that you'd like to see the Sixers go after?