Between Shake Milton’s 28 point performance on the 16th of January and the start of March, the Sixers bench was one of the worst in the NBA.
Offensively they were impotent.
In the last five games, the Sixers (usual) bench players have come to life, helping the Sixers to five straight wins, with a huge average points differential of 21.4 points per game.
It has been the Sixers’ most dominant period of the season, while Simmons and Embiid have played only 3 of these games.
Does this unreal up-tick in form from Matisse, Furk, Dwight, Bradley, Curry, and Green change how the Sixers approach the deadline?
What it shows at the very least is that the Sixers shouldn’t be wasting their time or assets on more 7th-12th men.
Playoff rotations shorten to around seven to nine guys, and right now, the Sixers have at least 10 who are showing they can competently contribute playoff minutes. All of these players in and around the rotation provide something different and add value.
Matisse’s form has him very close to off the table at the deadline; he’s showing he could have a significant impact in his second playoffs and beyond.
Furk is on an expiring contract, we know he’s capable of getting hot from three, and his defense has improved. Unless he’s needed in a deal for an upgrade, the Sixers should hold Furk, as his quick-fire three could be a good option to turn to in the playoffs if spacing issues arise and the offense becomes stagnated.
A recent 2020 mock re-draft had Maxey taken pick eight. Maxey should only be on the table for a star-level player. Despite his recent drop off Shake is still one of the Sixers’ best six players, and his contract is not one the Sixers should be interested in moving.
Even if the Sixers find a better backup 4, the players seem to love Mike Scott, and they could do with more depth at the 4. Team vibes are at an all-time high, so if players are dumped, traded, or taken minutes, it needs to be for a player who will be a great addition on and off the court.
A star-level guard who can play on and off the ball like Kyle Lowry or Lonzo Ball is a move that makes more sense than ever.
If there are no star players of a similar ilk and fit who are available, likely to re-sign, or affordable, the Sixers should be looking at other moves to improve their top six whilst giving up no more than a 2021 first-rounder or second-round picks.
With the Sixers now elevating to the second top team in the NBA, the Sixers 2021 first would not be a huge price to pay for a high-quality role player. Will Barton, Lauri Markkanen, and Evan Fournier are examples of guys potentially on the trade table for an affordable price who could add significant offensive punch whilst holding their own defensively.
Obviously, five good games from the bench unit do not mean the Sixers are championship favorites who should be going 12 players deep in the playoffs. However, it has shown if the has Sixers can add one more star or a high-level role player into their top six, it would leave the likes of Matisse, Shake, Dwight, Furk, and Scott to fight it out as your 7th to 11th men.
If the Sixers can nail this, they will be primed for a DEEP playoff run.
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