On the wing, Barnes could be a Sixers free-agency target
The 76ers are convinced the best way to build a team is with defensive-minded players. So having shooting guards and small forwards who can play on both sides of the floor are a must in the system they run.
The 76ers are convinced the best way to build a team is with defensive-minded players.
So having shooting guards and small forwards who can play on both sides of the floor are a must in the system they run.
The Sixers won't be able to draft a high-quality wing without making a trade this year, and they would have to wait for that player to develop. But in free agency, they could make a run at the Warriors' Harrison Barnes.
In coach Brett Brown's system, the shooting guard and small forward positions are interchangeable. The only difference is the better defender of the two usually guards the opposing team's best offensive perimeter player.
The Sixers have only three wings on the roster in Nik Stauskas, Robert Covington, and Hollis Thompson. All three are known for their shooting, and Covington is an improved defender. The Sixers, however, don't appear to be tied to any of the three.
The team will definitely add to - if not restock - their wings this summer via the draft, free agency, or perhaps a trade.
But the Sixers aren't looking for wings who can just shoot the ball. They want players capable of chasing around the Kyle Korvers, Kawhi Leonards, J.J. Redicks, and Klay Thompsons of the NBA. To guard those types of players one must have good footwork, intellect, athleticism, and size.
The Sixers also want their wings to be solid rebounders. The team is expected to draft Louisiana State power forward Ben Simmons first overall. But they can't expect Simmons and center Joel Embiid to do all the rebounding.
On offense, the wings must be able to knock down shots, with one being an elite shooter, to create space for Simmons and Embiid on the block. And one of the wings has to excel in the pick-and-roll.
Shooting guard Buddy Hield (Oklahoma) and small forwards Brandon Ingram (Duke) and Jaylen Brown (California) are the headliners at the wing positions in the NBA draft. The Sixers would have to make some moves to acquire one of them, though.
Right now, the team has the first, 24th, and 26th picks in the draft. It would be hard for the Sixers to pass on Simmons with the first pick. So Ingram most likely will go second to the Los Angeles Lakers. Hield and Brown are expected to be among the top eight players selected.
As rookies, they are seasons away from developing into the type of two-way players the Sixers covet. But Barnes could be a great option in free agency.
At 6-foot-8, 210 pounds, the Golden State small forward has ideal size. He's a solid defender and a capable three-point shooter, making 38.3 percent from long range.
The 24-year-old is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the Warriors face the Cleveland Cavaliers in Game 7 of the NBA Finals on Sunday.
The Warriors won't have room for him if they sign Kevin Durant in free agency. So Barnes may decide to look for the highest free-agent contract available. The Sixers could decide to overpay him with a maximum-salary contract.
In Barnes, they would get a young but experienced player to grow with the franchise. He's not an all-star-caliber player, but a good one.
Golden State does have the right to match any offer Barnes receives. But it may be hesitant to match a max deal.
DeMar DeRozan is one of the free agents on the Sixers' wish list even though he doesn't shoot three-pointers. But the unrestricted free-agent shooting guard is expected to either stay in Toronto or sign with his hometown Los Angeles Lakers. None of this summer's top free agents are coming to the Sixers.
That's why Barnes, a good but not great player who can shoot and defend, may be a solid option.