The Philadelphia 76ers could not have asked for a better start to the season. Joel Embiid is a leading MVP candidate, Ben Simmons is a potential DPOY, and they sit atop the Eastern Conference. The first time that has happened at the All-Star break since 2000-2001.

But there is always room for improvement in the NBA. Daryl Morey cannot afford to rest on his first-half laurels. Lineups without Simmons or Embiid struggle at times and the team could use a dynamic scoring guard. Other teams can and will get better through the trade or buyout markets. The Sixers need to ensure they do the same.

A dream scenario for Philly is to acquire Kyle Lowry through trade and PJ Tucker in the buyout market. Lowry would function as the more dynamic scoring guard next to Simmons and bring added playmaking abilities. His fit would be nearly seamless in the starting lineup as Danny Green’s replacement. Tucker would bolster a bench unit as a career 36% 3-point shooter who can guard multiple positions. His experience playing the 5 in Houston would allow Philly to experiment with more small-ball lineups.

Initial trade packages for Lowry suggest he would cost the Sixers Danny Green, Mike Scott, Tyrese Maxey, and a 1st-round pick. Maxey and a first would cause some hesitation but should not stop Morey from pulling the trigger. Maxey is a promising rookie but would not play much come playoff time and is still a few years away from developing into a playoff contributor. And with Tucker coming in, Scott becomes expendable.

Lowry would somewhat replace Jimmy Butler from the 2019 team that was one bounce away from the ECF. Doc Rivers could always have one of Simmons or Lowry on the floor to run the offense. Philly would greatly benefit from the combined playmaking ability those two bring to the table as well as their defensive prowess. And between Lowry and Embiid, the Sixers would essentially live at the charity stripe.

Tucker would fill the backup stretch-4 role. He was a knock-down corner shooter for the Rockets and their best defender. His size and strength allow him to guard wings, forwards, and smaller centers. Just like Lowry, PJ improves the offensive spacing while not hindering them on defense. Most suggest he could be acquired for three 2nd-round picks if he doesn’t reach the buyout market.

Acquiring Lowry and Tucker would theoretically leave the Sixers with a starting five of Lowry, Seth Curry, Simmons, Tobias Harris, and Embiid. Meanwhile, Tucker, Shake Milton, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, and Dwight Howard would comprise the bench. Come playoff time, rotations usually shrink as starters eat up more minutes. But those ten players would give Rivers the ability to mix-and-match lineups to better match-up with opponents.

Photo: Jesse D. Garrabrant/Getty Images

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