Real Work Begins for the 76ers

by Marc Narducci; Photo Marc Narducci | Jun 26, 2019
Real Work Begins for the 76ers
The 76ers entered the NBA with five picks and ended up choosing two players in a wild night of transactions throughout the league.
Still, any immediate judgement is pointless, because the Sixers will be graded with how they fare in free agency.
They can offer their own players Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris maximum deals of five years and $190 million. Due to the NBA free agency rules, others can offer these two a maximum of four years and $141 million.
Regardless what happens with Butler and Harris, the Sixers still feel they are a team that can win now, so they weren’t going to keep all five selections they had in the draft. The Sixers had the No. 24 pick in the first round and Nos. 33, 34, 42 and 54 in the second round.
The Sixers traded No. 24 and No. 33 to the Boston Celtics to move up to No. 20 and select Washington 6-5 senior Matisse Thybulle.
The Sixers then traded the 34th pick to the Atlanta Hawks and the 42nd pick to the Washington Wizards.
They did select 6-6 Iowa State redshirt senior Marial Shayok with the 54th selection.
The biggest question is can the draft picks make an immediate impact?
Thybulle said he expects to be a rotation player.
As for Shayok, he should make the team, but whether he can earn immediate minutes remains to be seen.
In Thybulle, the Sixers got arguably the best defender in the draft. The 6-foot-5, 200-pound Thubulle is a two-time Pac-12 Defensive Player of the Year. He was also the 2019 Naismith Defensive Player of the Year.
The one question from a Sixers perspective is that Thybulle has a similar profile to last year’s first-round pick, Zhaire Smith, who is 6-4 and 199-pounds and also known as a defensive specialist.
Will there be minutes for both of these players?
That is a major question, and it will be interesting how the two play together when the Sixers begin play in the Las Vegas Summer League, which takes place from July 5-15.
Of immediate concern is free agency.
Butler is expected to opt out of the final year of his contract and become a free agent. Harris will be a free agent on June 30.
Most feel that the Sixers, who took eventually champion Toronto to a seventh game and were four bounces of a Kahwi Leonard shot away from sending that matchup into overtime, are close and have to bring back their team.
That is easier said than done.
Butler and Harris have other suitors, so they will have offers.
One has to think if the Sixers offer both of them max deals, that they will return. That extra year and almost $50 million more money gives the Sixers a major advantage.
The question is whether the Sixers will offer both of them the max. If they do, there won’t be a lot of dollars left to spend on the bench.
That is why the Sixers felt they needed a player out of the draft that can immediately help them. They feel Thybulle is the player, but a question is whether he will provide even a threat of offense.
Last season he averaged 9.1 points and shot 30.5 percent from three-point range. He said he sacrificed his offensive game to help his team in other areas.
That could be true and it will be interesting how offensive minded he will be in summer league.

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Before his role can begin to be established, free agency will determine the Sixers path going forward. Free agents are able to receive offers beginning 6 p.m. ET on June 30. It should be a hectic time in the NBA and especially for the Sixers.

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Author: Marc Narducci; Photo by Marc Narducci


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