3 Trades to upgrade the Philadelphia 76ers’ Bench

Dec 5, 2019; Washington, DC, USA; Washington Wizards forward Davis Bertans (42) shoots the ball over Philadelphia 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle (22) in the fourth quarter at Capital One Arena. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

76ers’ GM, Elton Brand chose to be extremely active last during the trade deadline. He acquired several players, including Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, and James Ennis, all three of whom are still on the team. While Al Horford and Ben Simmons have been at the forefront of trade talks, a big trade is not what Philly needs to pull off right now. Bolstering their bench and getting more time to gel is what this team needs to be able to go on a big playoff run. There are several players around the NBA expected to be available around the deadline.. While they would likely be made separately, all three of these trades can be completed with money still working for the 76ers’ salary table.

3. Christian Wood and Langston Galloway, Detroit Pistons:

Sixers Trade: Zhaire Smith, Raul Neto, Shake Milton

Pistons Trade: Christian Wood, Langston Galloway

Rumors have come out the 76ers are targeting Detroit Pistons’ guards, Luke Kennard and Langston Galloway. However, Kennard has broken out this year, and would likely cost at least Matisse Thybulle to get him, so it simply isn’t worth it.

Langston Galloway, on the other hand, is a much more obtainable option. Galloway is similar to Furkan Korkmaz, but a more reliable shot-creator, and less of a liability on defense. A free agent at the end of the year, he is putting up 10.7 ppg on 43.4% from the field and 39.9% from deep. He may not be the most attractive name, but he’s an upgrade to Korkmaz, and would likely compete with Deandre Bembry (read on) for minutes. Former process guy, Christian Wood, is another intriguing player. Wood has bulked up and is solid inside the paint, unlike Mike Scott. With Mike Scott being traded to Washington (read on), Wood would compete with Davis Bertans (read on) for minutes. 

As for the Pistons, who are likely to be massive sellers, the significant acquisition for them is Zhaire Smith. Smith was seen as a project when the Sixers got him, and he hasn’t seen NBA action this season as he remains stuck in the G League. That being said, he’s a freak athlete, and at only 20, has upside. For the contracts to work, two minimum salary players had to be thrown in from the Sixers. Shake Milon looked solid early in the season but has fallen out of the rotation. Raul Neto doesn’t do anything special but isn’t horrible either. He has fallen out of the rotation in favor of Trey Burke.   

2. Deandre Bembry, Atlanta Hawks

Sixers Trade: Jonah Bolden, Kyle O’Quinn, 2020 Atlanta Second 

Hawks Trade: Deandre Bembry

Deandre Bembry gets almost no attention but is a great defender off the bench for Atlanta. As I stated above, Bembry would compete with Langston Galloway for Korkmaz’s minutes come playoff time. Ideally, James Ennis and Matisse Thybulle’s minutes wouldn’t be affected. Bembry doesn’t bring much to the table offensively, but he’s a super reliable perimeter defender with a 1.2 DBPM this season. He is only making 2.6M this season and will be a restricted free agent in the 2020 offseason. 

Jonah Bolden showed flashes of being a contributor last season but appears to be in Brett Brown’s doghouse now as he has only played five NBA minutes this season. If he can cut down on the fouls, Bolden could be a solid player. Kyle O’Quinn makes the overall money work for Philadelphia and doesn’t bring much to the table. Atlanta will also get its 2020 second-round pick back, which Philly got from trading Bruno Fernando on draft night. Since the Hawks have the worst record in the NBA, that would currently be the 31st overall pick, so it has value.   

1. Davis Bertans, Washington

Sixers Trade: Mike Scott, 2020 OKC First (protected), 2020 Dallas Second

Wizards Trade: Davis Bertans 

Now, the biggest acquisition of three: Davis Bertans. The sharpshooting power forward is having a career year, averaging 15.3 ppg while shooting 43.2% from three on 8.6 attempts per game. The Sixers need shooters; Mike Scott has not been the answer, and Bertans would be a massive pickup for this team. Bertans is basically JJ Redick in a power forward’s body. His defense does raise some questions, but it won’t hurt to have Al Horford or Joel Embiid on the floor with him. 

While still a fan favorite, Mike Scott has struggled mightily this season. He is averaging just 5.9 ppg on 41.5% from the field and 34.8% from three. Scott’s whole game is based around his three-point shooting, and when he’s off, he’s a major liability. Bertans is much more consistent as a shooter. The most significant piece for the Wizards is acquiring Oklahoma City’s first-round pick. It’s top twenty protected but would become two second-round pick in 2021 and 2022 if it lands in the top twenty. Washington also acquires the Mavericks’ second-round pick, which would likely fall in the 47-53 range next season. 

Overall, these three trades would definitely upgrade Philadelphia’s bench. Bertans especially would help the Sixers with three-point shooting. The Sixers would have two open roster spots. Ideally, one would likely be used to give Norvel Pelle a full NBA deal. Philadelphia would then be able to sign one more player to a league-minimum deal. While it would be completed as multiple deals, this is the full breakdown of what the trades would look like below.

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