February 25, 2016
After the deadline passes, rumors of trades that almost happened almost always seem to trickle in. First, there was the very juicy Okafor-to-Boston rumor that seems to have some truth behind it. And earlier this week, the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey reported that the Sixers made a play for Atlanta point guard Dennis Schroder:
The team offered a packages that included shooting guard Nik Stauskas, point guard Ish Smith, and a 2016 first-round pick to the Atlanta Hawks for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to several league sources. The Sixers also considered adding a player with an expiring contract, the sources say.
Former Sixer JaKarr Sampson was said to be player with the expiring contract in the deal. The Sixers were able to package Smith in the deal, even though he was acquired less than 60 days before, because the team was below the salary-cap floor.
From Atlanta’s perspective, I can see why that reported trade wouldn’t happen. Basically, they aren’t getting any value back. Smith is on a one-year deal and both Sampson and Stauskas frankly haven’t shown much at all. It all depends on the pick, and I can’t imagine that the valuable Lakers first-round selection was on the table.
Even if the Sixers were able to trade the Oklahoma City pick in a hypothetical deal for Schroder (which would mean they weren’t parting with much value), I’m still not sure he’s worth handing out big money to at such a deep position. Schroder isn’t a good outside shooter (33 percent career shooter from deep), and Atlanta’s spacing provides close to an ideal environment for a point guard that you just don’t have in Philly. Schroder will be a restricted free agent in 2017, when the cap is set to explode for a second time.
And the tl;dr version… SIXERS: 😟💰 HAWKS: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
76ers: Jonathan Tjarks, The Pattern of Basketball
Tjarks didn’t write much that we don’t already know about Jahlil Okafor, but he did an excellent job describing why he’s such a tricky fit:
It's not a real surprise and it's not really a knock on him that he hasn't bought in on that side of the ball. Not a lot of elite scorers come into the league trying to play defense - the problem is that you can somewhat hide a poor defender at any of the other positions on the floor. There's nowhere you can hide a 5 who can't defend. The whole point of playing a 5 in the modern NBA is because of the value they bring as a rim protector and a second line of defense. It's a defensive position before it's an offensive position.
A good way to look at it is that the center in basketball is like the catcher in baseball - the position has so many defensive requirements that it almost doesn't matter how good they are on offense as long as they can stay out of the way. The temptation to play an offensive-minded player at that position is super high because it's such a value add in comparison to the rest of the league, but the problem is that sacrificing defense at that position for a big bat can really hamstring a team in a lot of subtle ways.
Shooting for the moon: Why Rockets, 76ers have failed to launch: Andrew Sharp, Sports Illustrated
Sharp believes that Sam Hinkie and Daryl Morey failed to adapt:
The lessons here have nothing to do with a failure of analytics or the triumph of basketball karma. What's actually happened is closer to full–scale adoption of the principles Morey and Hinkie helped pioneer. But that happened five years ago. The league's continued evolving since then, and today's smartest organizations pair those principles with strengths of their own, creating new market advantages.
Look at the teams surprising people now—the Warriors, the Celtics, the Raptors, the Jazz, the Spurs dynasty that won't die—and the dominant themes are chemistry, excellent coaching, and scouting, among other qualities that are impossible to quantify.
Front Office Shake-up Doesn’t Change Hinkie’s Long-Term Focus: Derek Bodner, Philly Mag
Bodner on the new front-office structure and Sam Hinkie’s role within it:
“I can tell you how I’d vote,” Hinkie concluded, when talking about making a Dario Saric-like decision in 2016.
That last statement is the one that can be read into, an almost tacit admission that the decision-making process might be less streamlined than it had been in years past. Still, at least for Sam Hinkie, however much sway he may still have inside the Sixers front office, fans know that his mindset has not changed. Whether that patience is either the Sixers' greatest competitive advantage or the biggest reason they are an embarrassment to the sport changes from fan to fan, and from media member to media member.
I can tell you how I'd vote.
Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann