Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown wants a perimeter defender and hopefully the club’s front office can get it for him for the holidays.
It’s become a theme for the season for the Philadelphia 76ers and the team’s lack of perimeter defense isn’t going away anytime soon. Head coach Brett Brown has even admitted how wings Landry Shamet and Furkan Korkmaz have been taken advantage of by other teams defensively. The problem has become serious enough for Brown to voice his needs as a coach.
Brett Brown says “a perimeter defensive player” would be his preference for how to fill the Sixers’ open roster spot.
— Noah Levick (@NoahLevick) December 19, 2018
It’s clear as day that all Brown wants is more help on the perimeter, but it will be tough for general manager Elton Brand to deliver on Brown’s request. Outside of a plethora of future second round picks, the Sixers don’t have that many interesting trade assets.
While I’ve suggested that the team trade Amir Johnson, but it would be hard to flip him for a wing defender, even if the team packages him alongside some second round picks. Korkmaz may get the Sixers a wing defender, but figuring out contracts might be tricky. Trading Markelle Fultz for a perimeter defender would be difficult based on his unknown status moving forward.
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Trading a player like Wilson Chandler could work. His $12.8 million expiring contract this season could be flipped into one or two quality players depending on what draft picks are included in the deal. However, trading Chandler might leave the Sixers’ depth at the power forward position in a vulnerable state. Any trade sending out Chandler needs to bring back at least a starting level power forward in return.
Earlier in December, the Sixers brought in Haywood Highsmith, Brandon Rush, Sean Kilpatrick and Arron Afflalo for a work out. However, only Rush and Afflalo are proven NBA defenders with Highsmith’s only experience coming with the 76ers G-League affiliate the Delaware Blue Coats and Kilpatrick has been known primarily for his offensive output. The only down side to Rush and Afflalo is that both players are past their primes.
The good news for Brown is that Brand has recently let it be known that Zhaire Smith will be available at some point this season, however it should be noted that Brand didn’t offer a timeline for Smith. Brown has compared Smith to Avery Bradley in the past, so hopefully he would help satisfy the Sixers need for a perimeter defense. It’s still important to temper expectations with Smith, but surely he’d be a welcomed edition in Brown’s rotation whenever he returns.
It will be a tall order to fill Brown’s request for help with perimeter defense. With limited trade resources and a thin free agent market, Brand will have to be creative in finding wing defenders to help the Sixers outside defense. Adding an extra perimeter defender would be a great holiday gift for the head coach, but Brand knows the team’s not complete yet and is willing to wait to add the right piece.