By George Kondoleon
The Philadelphia 76ers are in a peculiar spot at the trade deadline where process meets present.
Sitting on the cusp of their first playoff berth since 2012, the 76ers find themselves in a tight race with the Detroit Pistons—who upgraded their roster with the addition of Blake Griffin—in no small part due to their own inconsistent play.
Before its shooting outburst agains the Washington Wizards on Tuesday night, Philadelphia was shooting just 29.5 percent from beyond the arc in a five-game stretch that produced just one win.
There are a number of reasons for the 76ers’ up and down play, but the lack of a real bench is what’s holding Philadelphia back the most. A lack of depth on the wins has hurt them on both sides of the ball, forcing Head coach Brett Brown to either play an extremely big lineup, or a feeble three-guard unit. If Detroit continues to ride out this wave of post-trade play with Griffin, Philadelphia may need some immediate help to stay in the playoffs.
The question is, are they in a place where they can sell off a future asset or two to join the Pistons in an arms race?
The 76ers are in a spot where they aren’t shipping a first-round pick for a rental, but need immediate help to get into the playoffs, particularly in the form of outside shooting. Of course, the first name to pop up is veteran Marco Belinelli. While he isn’t a sparkling pickup, Belinelli is an affordable shooter who can satisfy the two-dimensional goals of the franchise. His shooting could help push them into the playoffs, while at most costing them two of their four second-round picks, though the Hawks’ asking price is rumored to be just one high-second.
Other potential players who might fit the inexpensive-yet-productive mold could be Memphis’ James Ennis or Sacramento’s Garrett Temple. These players shouldn’t call for non-expendable assets. To accompany an additional shooter, it wouldn’t hurt to add a rim-protecting big to bolster an already great defensive team and players like Kyle O’Quinn should be an option they pursue.
The central theme of this 76ers’ deadline is cautious buying. They aren’t in a position to dump a first of any kind, unless heavily protected, for a rental in Tyreke Evans, or other players in a similar situation like him. They also shouldn’t attach major assets to dump Bayless. Cheap but effective should be the headline for GM Bryan Colangelo, though that is easier said than done. Immediate help costs assets, lowering future flexibility.