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June 08, 2016

Sixers free agency preview: Colangelo should target shooting on the wing

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Yesterday, we took a look at the free agent point guard market and where the Sixers fit in with about $50 million of cap space. Today is time to turn our attention to the wings, where the Sixers’ talent level also isn’t particularly high.

Generally, I classify this group of players as 2s and 3s:

Burning question: Can the Sixers add some shooting?

The Sixers shot 34 percent from beyond the arc in 2015-16, good for 24th in the NBA. That was actually an improvement over the first two years of “The Process,” which largely seemed to be by design on the part of Sam Hinkie and his front office. “Let’s try and target great athletes who can develop as shooters” seemed to be the philosophy behind a decent amount of the team’s moves.

Over the past few months, we have talked about Bryan Colangelo needing to walk the tightrope of moving the Sixers forward without mortgaging the future. This specific area, three-point shooting, is where he can help the young talent develop without hurting the team in the long term. Give Ben Simmons some drive-and-kick options. Give Joel Embiid (and Jahlil Okafor, if he’s still here) some three-point shooting so they can post up with a little bit of space. 

Sixers free agents


Hollis Thompson, Jerami Grant, and Robert Covington are the three wings that have unguaranteed contracts, but considering where the Sixers are, Nik Stauskas and his guaranteed $3 million is also not a major burden on the team’s books. Of that group of players, Covington (despite the recent trade rumors) and Grant (spending some time with USA Basketball) seem like locks to come back.  

Definitely, definitely not going to happen

LeBron James, Kevin Durant

Two definitelys might not be enough. With all due respect to the preeminent free agent recruiter of our time, that is:

Likely not going to happen

Nicolas Batum, Bradley Beal, Chandler Parsons, Harrison Barnes, DeMar DeRozan

Whether it’s restricted free agency or high demand, these top-end players should have suitors that didn’t win 10 games last year offering a lot money. Colangelo drafted DeRozan back in 2009 (and they have a relationship), but considering his ball-dominant playing style and inability to make threes at a high level, the 26-year-old shooting guard is a poor fit stylistically even before assessing whether he’s a player that you’d want to be paying max money for four years.

Players worth looking at 

Kent Bazemore, Evan Fournier, Allen Crabbe, Solomon Hill, Courtney Lee

With the Sixers potentially bringing in Simmons and Dario Saric, we’re skewing toward the smaller wings here, but if the front office were to go after a veteran stretch-4 type (Marvin Williams, Luol Deng) on a short-term deal, that could work. 

In addition to having a hilarious Twitter, Fournier is a skilled wing who won’t provide much help defensively. A restricted free agent, you have to imagine a big offer would be necessary to pry him away from Orlando. Crabbe is in a similar situation. Hill and Bazemore’s value comes from their defense, so the Sixers have some options when it comes to what type of player they decide to bid on.

Lee, who is already on the wrong side of 30, is pretty much the prototypical 3-and-D wing. If the Sixers were able to sign him to a “big money, short years” contract, he’s a name that would make a lot of sense. Jared Dudley, Gerald Henderson, and E’Twaun Moore are some other lower-level options that could be fits. 

(I would avoid Dion Waiters, by the way. He was very good for Oklahoma City in the playoffs but I would be worried about what happens when his role expands.)


The Sixers already have a starter-level player making peanuts in Covington, but they certainly could use some more skill on the other wing. Compared to the point guard market, I think there are generally better options to throw money at on the wing. How Colangelo decides to go about free agency and what wings he decides to target should tell us what he thinks about the young core. 

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann