What free-agent options might complement Ben Simmons with Sixers?


So let’s say the Sixers take Ben Simmons. Then what?

Everyone is going to have a lot of cap space this offseason, though the Sixers will have more than almost all of them. The Sixers and Lakers are the only teams projected to have something around $60 million in available funds. At some point, eventually, the Sixers will need to address their backcourt. (For the purposes of this piece, we’re operating under the assumption that the rumored Jeff Teague/Nerlens Noel trade is simply cursory NBA tire-kicking and won’t happen.)

Taking Simmons means a couple of things. You want the ball in his hands so he can utilize his playmaker/distributor skills. (Quick aside: who said he can’t shoot?) You probably don’t want to add a point guard who requires a heavy usage rate. You would, however, want to add shooting. I’ve spent a lot of time staring at the list of free agents and thinking about various players and whether they would or wouldn’t make sense for the Sixers in a post-draft/Simmons world. There are probably some names I missed, and there are definitely some names I intentionally left off. It should be noted that, much like retweets, getting mentioned below is not necessarily an endorsement. Also, for the purposes of this exercise, I lumped guys with early termination options and player options into the unrestricted free agent (UFA) category. Let’s take a look.

Just a Guy
There are countless Just a Guys out there. The Sixers pretty much owned the Just a Guy corner for the last few season. It’s possible they go the Just a Guy route again and find placeholders while they figure out rotations and minutes for Simmons and his new pals. Maybe they keep Ish Smith (UFA) considering Jerry Colangelo unloaded two second rounders to grab him last year. (Bryan really should have a talk with his pop about that one.) Or maybe they go after a different Just a Guy candidate, someone like Matthew Dellavedova (RFA) or Langston Galloway (RFA).

This is the no-thanks category. Brandon Jennings (UFA) is an inefficient volume-shooting monster. Austin Rivers (UFA) is terrible. Dion Waiters (RFA) played a role and behaved himself for a title contender this year. Hard to imagine him doing that for the Sixers when they’re still rebuilding. Hard pass all the way around.

Maybe…but also maybe not
In this group, we have some point guards who are slightly north of Just a Guy status and some wings that are average or below. I like Jeremy Lin (UFA), but it’s hard to tell if he’d fit. And would the Sixers throw money at him just because they have it? D.J. Augustin (UFA) is barely out of JAG territory. Gerald Green (UFA) is a streaky gunner. Gerald Henderson (UFA) and Wayne Ellington (UFA) are local guys who have been in the league for what feels like forever (and yet they’re only 28). They can likely be had for cheap, and there’s a reason for that. Brandon Rush (UFA) doesn’t get much run with Golden State. He can shoot a little bit, but he’s also 30. Chase Budinger (UFA) is a league-average shooter from distance for his career and he’s 28. Hard to get excited about either of those guys. P.J. Hairston (UFA) is only 23, but there have been attitude questions in the past and he’s 29.5 percent from three for his career (on 3.6 attempts per game).

On what should be the cheaper end of the scale, you have Allen Crabbe (RFA) and Seth Curry (RFA). Crabbe is 24. He made 39.4 percent of his threes (3.5 attempts per game) last season. He also played 81 games and averaged 26 minutes. TOC (The Other Curry) made 45 percent from distance for the Kings, but he played only 44 games and averaged 15.7 minutes. Terrence Ross (RFA) is a former lottery pick who has been something of a disappointment for Toronto. He’s only 25, and he’s a career 37.7 percent shooter from three. But how much might you have to pay – or overpay? – to pry him away from the Raptors, especially if the Raptors lose DeMar DeRozan in free agency?

Two other names: Kent Bazemore (UFA) and Evan Fournier (RFA). After losing DeMarre Carroll last offseason, the Hawks need Bazemore to stick around. He’d look just fine in a Sixers uniform, but probably not for the price the Sixers would have to pay to land him. I’m not a big fan of Fournier – or his various hairstyles and looks – but Orlando’s backcourt is crowded. They need minutes for Victor Oladipo, Elfrid Peyton and Mario Hezonja. Maybe the Magic let Fournier – who is 23 and a career 38.9 percent shooter from three (3.6 attempts per) – walk if the price is too steep.

Debbie Gibson - This is the Only in My/Your Dreams category. These guys aren’t coming to Philadelphia:
LeBron James (UFA), Kevin Durant (UFA), Mike Conley (UFA), Eric Gordon (UFA), Nicolas Batum (UFA), Chandler Parsons (UFA), DeMar DeRozan (UFA), Bradley Beal (RFA) and Harrison Barnes (RFA). Maybe you want to argue that Gordon and/or Barnes might be obtainable for the Sixers, but getting them would almost certainly mean maxing them out. And even then they would probably have better options than Philly.

Burn it down
Evan Turner (UFA).

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