No one is saying the acquisition of Wilson Chandler makes people forget the 76ers' failure to get LeBron James, Paul George or Kawhi Leonard this offseason. But there's a belief that Chandler's versatility does make the Sixers better.
Chandler, who is 6-foot-9 and a rock-solid 225 pounds, can play small forward and power forward. The 23rd overall pick of the 2007 NBA draft, he also can switch off and defend shooting guards.
"He's sort of a quiet achiever, but he's physical," coach Brett Brown said of Chandler, acquired from the Denver Nuggets in an offseason trade. "I had players like [him in] Luc Mbah a Moute. Those modern-day playoff guys that can [be] versatile and tough. The Morris twins [Marcus and Markieff] are similar. They can come in and just be very versatile."
Chandler, who's in the final year of his contract, reminds Brown of players who are "multipurpose defensively and offensively."
The Sixers outperformed expectations last season by winning 52 regular-season games and reaching the second round of the playoffs. But defensive shortcomings were part of the reason they were ousted in five games by the Boston Celtics.
Boston's guards and forwards penetrated with ease, especially against the Sixers' second unit. And the Sixers have no one to match Celtics forward Marcus Morris' intensity as a gritty three-and-D performer.
So, in steps Chandler.
The 31-year-old enters Friday's preseason opener against Melbourne United at the Wells Fargo Center as a reserve. Small forward Robert Covington and power forward Dario Saric are in the starting lineup. But Chandler gives the Sixers a starter-level player off the bench.
He started 71 of 74 games last season, averaging 10 points, 5.4 rebounds and 2.2 assists and shooting 35.8 percent on three-pointers. Chandler has career averages of 13.5 points and 5.4 rebounds over 10 seasons with the Nuggets and New York Knicks. The Michigan native has started in 470 of 590 career games.
Chandler and Brown talked about his role.
"Me knowing basketball on the outside looking in, you got guys like Joel [Embiid] and Ben [Simmons]," Chandler said. "So you don't need too much offensive game; you just kind of fit in when you get in.
"Play off those guys. Play defense. Run the floor. Spacing. Whatever the team needs, pretty much. That's kind of what he told me."