Updated: 12:47 p.m.
Just a couple days into free agency, we have a pretty clear picture of the Sixers’ roster.
Tobias Harris and Mike Scott are running it back. Al Horford, Josh Richardson and Kyle O’Quinn are the newcomers. Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick are headed south.
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But the Sixers still have some work to do. The minimum for an NBA roster is 13 players — 12 active, one inactive. The Sixers currently have 10 when factoring all the reported deals and first-round pick Matisse Thybulle.
That does not include 2018 second-round pick and two-way player Shake Milton, who could have his contract converted at any point. The team will sign big man Norvel Pelle to a two-way deal. It’s possible 2019 second-round pick Marial Shayok could then take Milton’s vacated two-way spot.
As of now, they have three roster spots to fill and roughly $2.2 million to spend, sources confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia. If they do wind up converting Milton’s deal, that leaves the team with two spots to fill and a little less to spend.
Their most pressing need is a backup point guard — preferably one that can shoot. The pickings are slim, but here are five players that could fit those criteria.
Cook is a restricted free agent, but it would be awfully hard for the Warriors to match any deal. The 26-year-old guard is likely the best fit on this list because of his shot. He’s hit 41.8 percent from three for his career. Though he doesn’t play a ton of minutes, it’s still impressive that he’s never shot below 40 percent in any of his three NBA seasons. His fit is also perfect in that he can play off the ball with Ben Simmons on the floor and back up the All-Star point guard as well. Cook is skinny and defense will be an issue.
If Cook is the best fit, Burke is definitely right behind him. He is more of a ball-dominant player, but his ability to create his own shot and navigate the pick-and-roll could attract the Sixers. He’s a microwave scorer that can get hot on any given night. He might not be as good a fit as Cook next to Simmons, but Burke has shot 37.4 percent from three over his last three seasons. He also could have issues defensively because he’s undersized.
Neto was recently waived by the Jazz to make room for Mike Conley. The 27-year-old isn’t the most explosive — he fits more into the category of crafty. His shot has been up and down in his NBA career. He shot over 40 percent from three in 2017-18, but that number fell to 33.3 percent this season. The two biggest knocks on Neto are his size on defense and some injury issues. He’s clearly in a tier below Cook and Burke.
Mack was a Sixer for four games back in 2012-13. The veteran guard has been well traveled since. What Mack has on all the players on this list is experience and size. He’s 29 and stands 6-foot-3. Defense isn’t his calling card, but, again, he’s likely better than anyone on this list. His shot isn’t great. He’s more of a traditional point guard and not an ideal fit next to Simmons. Mack could be worth a flyer on a veteran minimum deal.
McConnell is still out there and he’s one of Brett Brown’s favorites. If the Sixers can’t find a clear cut upgrade on the market, perhaps they bring back McConnell and wait for a trade opportunity.
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