The Philadelphia 76ers’ most expensive offseason addition might pay dividends after the Jimmy Butler trade.
When the Philadelphia 76ers traded for Wilson Chandler, little was said about the move. It was essentially cap relief for the Denver Nuggets, something the Sixers could partake in after striking out on big-name free agents.
At the time, Chandler was expected to come off the bench behind Dario Saric and Robert Covington. Now, the circumstances have changed. Jimmy Butler is a Sixer and Chandler is back in the starting lineup, where he spent several seasons with the Nuggets.
Due to a hamstring injury he sustained in preseason action, Chandler has only played in five games for the Sixers. Wednesday’s loss to Orlando was his first start, which was still cut short due to a minutes restriction. The Sixers haven’t fully unleashed Chandler yet.
With that said, the Magic game did provide several promising highlights, including this impressive baseline slam.
Chandler scored 14 points in total, including nine in the fourth quarter. He ended Orlando’s 21-0 run with a quick flurry, but was unable to finish the game.
When the proverbial dust settles, Chandler might be the unexpected beneficiary of the Butler trade. Not only will his role increase, but he adds a dynamic the Sixers’ offense (and defense) desperately lacked in the 2018 playoffs.
Against Boston, the Sixers were bogged down by one-way players who struggled in two key areas: creating offense and surviving switches. Chandler checks both boxes as a complementary piece next to the core trio (Butler will also help a great deal in both categories, of course).
Chandler is an effective spot-up shooter, but he can also attack closeouts and get dribble penetration, something the Sixers didn’t really have last season. He’s in the latter stages of his career, but Chandler’s athleticism — compared to Saric — will fare much better against the Celtics.
On the defensive end, Chandler is another 6-foot-8 body who can defend the four spot and hang with wings on the perimeter. Putting him, Butler and Ben Simmons around Joel Embiid will have more success containing the Celtics’ (and Raptors’) bevy of isolation threats.
With one year and $12.8 million left on his contract, Chandler is starting to look like a smart investment — one with far more worth after the Butler trade. He’s also someone the Sixers can loo to re-sign for cheap in the offseason.