After flirting with a potential deal last March, the Philadelphia 76ers, in hindsight, should have made a move to acquire Tyreke Evans either by trade or FA.
It may be a new season, but for the Philadelphia 76ers, a lot of their issues from last season have unfortunately rolled over with NBA’s calendar.
Right now, the Sixers rank 10th in the league in assists per game with 24, a minor setback from their 2016-2017 clip of 27.1, but much like last season, that stat is a bit misleading.
When you have Ben Simmons on the roster, 10 assists are virtually guaranteed when he’s on the court.
More from Philadelphia 76ers
The rest of the team? No so much.
So far this season, the Sixers have only one player on their roster who’s averaging more than four assists a game (Simmons at 9.5). The next highest player? Markelle Fultz at 3.5.
That’s just not a trend that’s built for success.
Now granted, this number has to be taken with a grain of salt, as there are still 80 games to go and a lot can change over the next five months, but outside of T.J. McConnell, Fultz, and Simmons, who on the team is really a threat to facilitate the offense?
Furthermore, when you dive into the stats, the 76ers scoring looks even less impressive.
According to NBA’s official statistics, the Sixers rank dead last in iso ball scoring so far this season. Now granted, again, this is a potentially misleading stat, as the season is still so young, but their lack of secondary playmaking is pretty alarming, especially when the team’s shooters are in a collective cold period like they are now.
The 76ers could seriously use some secondary playmaking.
While the team is playing a bit undermanned at the moment, as Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, and Jerryd Bayless have all yet to make their season debut, but none of these players are particularly known for their ability to make their own shot or create shots for other (save maybe Bayless, who seldom plays).
In hindsight, the 76ers should have made a trade for Tyreke Evans last March, or at the very least, offered him a contract this summer.
Now I don’t want to dig too deep into how Evans could have helped the Sixers last season, as the team’s playmaking was dreadful during the playoffs, but it’s clear that issue still remains.
It’s an issue that too often appears to be overlooked.
While the team certainly does miss Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova‘s outside shot, as Philly is currently connecting on less than 28 percent of their 3-pointers, but unlike the team’s current crop of players, both vets were equally comfortable taking an outside three, or driving the ball to the hoop.
Belinelli is practically legendary for his propensity for taking shots from truly bizarre angles.
Who on the team is going to take that shot now? J.J. Redick?
Evans, on the other hand, has already shown flashes of everything the Sixers are missing over his first two games as an Indiana Pacer.
Currently averaging 12 points, five assists, and 4.5 rebounds a game, Evans has the 78th highest usage rating of any player in the NBA (23.7 overall), higher than any player on the Sixers roster save for their certified clock killer Joel Embiid. While he’s only hit two of the seven tres he’s attempted this season, Evans still would rank fifth on the Sixers roster in scoring if he were on the team, a solid stat for a player coming off of the bench.
Evans, or a player like him, is just what the doctor ordered to fix the team’s current issues, too bad the free agency cupboard is essentially bare.
So, what can the 76ers do to fix this issue moving forward? In the short-term? Very little.
While the team could make a move to acquire a secondary playmaker around March, or go after another scorer in the buyout market like they did last year, as of right now, the team has to hope that a player like Fultz, McConnell or even Landry Shamet can step into a bigger role with improved play, and provide some shot creation on the wings.
And if not? The Philadelphia 76ers will remain a contender but will remain fatally flawed from a playmaking standpoint.