Everyone remembers the low points of the famous “process” the Philadelphia 76ers have been executing for multiple years. From 2013-2017, the 76ers won 75 games and lost and 253 for a winning percentage of 29.6%. 76ers fans knew that had to “trust the process” and the long cycle of losing and tanking has yielded its fruit. The 76ers now feature a projected lineup of five dynamic scorers and this may be the jumpstart they need to jump into first in the Eastern Conference.
Earlier this season, the 76ers shocked the world by trading a package including Robert Covington and Dario Saric to acquire superstar Jimmy Butler. The move was a major risk for the 76ers. Butler has been noted to have chemistry problems with his past teams, which many blame on him, and he is also a free agent this summer, so he could be potentially a very pricy rental. The 76ers took another risk late last night acquiring another superstar, Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.
Let’s break down the trade. The 76ers acquire Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott. The Clippers acquire a slew of players and picks including Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, 2 1st round picks, and 2 2nd round picks. I’m fine with the 76ers losing their picks because the 2nd rounders may never pan out and the 1st round pick would most likely been a very late 1st . I hoped the 76ers could keep the other 1st round pick, which belonged to the Heat, but I understand it is that valuable. So, what does this trade mean for the 76ers?
The 76ers are now the only team in the NBA with all five starters averaging 15 plus points (the Bucks have four, and no one else has more than 3). The 76ers now add an extremely powerful forward to add an immediate impact that I don’t believe Chandler could provide. Harris is a major all-star snub and has been electric this season. Harris, per game, is averaging 20.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. Does adding a dynamic superstar have any negatives- possibly.
First and foremost, the first question always asked when a new player joins is the issue of chemistry. I believe that the 76ers will take some time to gel and have everyone able to get their roles together and get their shots down, but I believe they will ultimately figure it out. Also, Harris, like Butler, will be a free agent this summer. Will the 76ers be able to woo him enough to convince him to stay, and if he does, what will his huge contract look like? I believe Butler wants to win badly and adding Harris may be enticing enough to convince him to stay and continue being a part of the ongoing process. On the flipside, could chemistry issues persuade Butler to leave and go somewhere else if he doesn’t get the money and role he demands? The main issue to 76ers suffer from, however, is bench depth.
The two best young assets, Zhaire Smith and Markelle Fultz, are both injured, and I’m not sure if they will even see action again this season. I love adding Boban Marjanovic as the 76ers need key pieces who can add depth to the roster, but other than that, the 76ers don’t have much. The 76ers does not have any real movers and shakers on their bench and I would assume 70-80% of scoring is now going to have to come from their starters. Hopefully the 76ers can snag a good player or two for very minimum salary, but they are going to need that help.
As a whole, I really like the trade. The 76ers are going all in and are snagging a guy who should have been an all-star. The 76ers now have an explosive starting five, but they suffer from bench depth. I think it will be interesting to see if they can get Fultz back in the rotation, but regardless, they will need guys like Furkan Korkmaz and Boban Marjanovic to step up and make key plays. It’s a gutsy move, but then again, so is tanking for almost five years. The 76ers are giving their fans exactly what they have been waiting for, and it will be interesting to see where this team evolves to come playoff time.