Despite the Sixers’ hot start, the team continues to struggle from three and combined for an underwhelming 31% from beyond the arc in the first two contests of Act II.

Success in the modern-day NBA lives and dies by the three. The ‘Splash Brothers‘ recalibrated the NBA machine and forced teams to consider the importance of the deep-ball (Steph, Klay, and the clan averaged almost 40% from three during their 2014-15 championship season. Forty bleeping percent!). In the three seasons following this tectonic shift, each NBA champion finished in the top 5 in three-point shooting percentage.

The retooled 76ers are currently shooting a mediocre 35.3% from three and their sharpshooting narrowly avoids ranking in the bottom third of the league. In fact, the twelve teams shooting poorer than the Sixers are a combined 236-316, while the sixteen higher-performing three-point shooting teams are a combined 374-306.

So, what now?

Who can give this team a jolt of life in the three-point column? And what other benefits could a more lethal three-point shooter bring to this team?

The top five three-point make leaders boast the likes of James Harden, Damian Lillard, Devonte Graham, and Buddy Hield. Joining them is the only non-starter on this list, and second overall in three-pointers made (3PM): Davis Bertans, a name which should ring familiar to Sixers fans since he torched the Sixers the last time the two teams played in the Capital.

Bertans seems intriguing, but is this realistic? He’s currently averaging just shy of 30 minutes per game, almost 16 points per, and delivers 3.7 3PM for the overachieving Wizards. The Sixers can certainly use a consistent bench producer, especially from beyond-the-arc. His contract also expires in June, which wouldn’t tie Elton Brand’s hands long-term. In exchange for Bertans, Washington could (since they are kind-of, sort-of competing for a playoff bid) demand more than just a late first-rounder or early second-rounder and (maybe) Zhaire Smith. They could ask for Norvelle Pelle (a recent Brett Brown favorite) or Mike Scott to fill Bertans’ bench role. I probably green-light this trade if I’m the Sixers’ front office.

Another possible consideration – assuming the Sixers want more bench depth – is swapping a first, second, and Matisse Thybulle for JJ Redick. This would, without question, be a win-now transaction and probably malpractice. JJ currently ranks 9th at 3PM while often coming off the bench, but his defense plagued this team last year and especially during the Toronto series. I think the trade is something the Sixers should consider (most are, in my opinion), but a deal not worth seriously pursuing. Plus, the Pelicans are probably in the buyer’s market more than the seller’s market after the electrifying debut of Zion Williamson.

Elton could also pick up the phone and ask about Joe Harris. He’s a low-risk, high-reward bench player who averages 2.4 3PM on 31 minutes per contest. In trading for Harris, the Sixers don’t need to mortgage the future and can most likely pair a second-rounder with Zhaire Smith to send to the Nets (although the Nets could ask for Mike Scott, which would make this trade far less appealing).

Regardless of whoever this person is, adding a shooter off the bench can help space the floor for the Sixers when either Ben or Joel are on the bench. This is especially the case when Ben Simmons is on the bench and becomes the first offensive option. Having two legitimate scoring threats in the game at once (Furkan Korkmaz and Bertans, JJ, or Harris) will keep defenses honest and prohibit teams from double-teaming JoJo.

In transition, having another scoring option for Ben to find can only make this team more dangerous. Either Ben dishes to someone open on the wing, they cash in a trey ball, and we’re all happy. Or, he dishes to someone on the wing, they find a cutting Tobias Harris who slams home an easy two points, and everyone’s happy.

Again, this only helps the Sixers create needed space in the half-court and also strengthens the team in transition. So, yes: More shooting, equals more help, which equals fewer problems.

To be clear, this isn’t the Sixers’ silver bullet. But, they can significantly gain from adding someone who can find some frequent success from beyond 23 feet.
Elton, lock it up!

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