The Philadelphia 76ers and new president of basketball operations Daryl Morey were very busy on draft day in the NBA. According to reports, the team will send Al Horford and picks to the Thunder for Danny Green. On draft night, Philly sent Josh Richardson and the draft rights to Tyler Bey, the 36th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, to the Mavericks in exchange for guard Seth Curry.
With Richardson, the Mavericks get an athletic guard who can score a little bit and defend. The 27-year-old Richardson averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.9 assists in 55 games (53 starts). Richardson played four seasons in Miami before being dealt to Philadelphia as part of a four-team deal last summer. The five-year can opt out of his contract at season’s end.
The 76ers get shooting with Curry, and the six-year guard gets to play for his father-in-law, Doc Rivers. Curry is married to Rivers’ daughter, Callie. Last season, the 30-year-old Curry averaged 12.4 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists in 64 games in his second stint with the Mavericks, and more importantly for the 76ers, Curry shot 45% from three-point land.
Philadelphia is looking to reshape their roster, and you wonder if there are more moves to be made. To be able to unload the 34-year-old Horford, who signed with Philadelphia last offseason and had three-years, $81 million left on his contract, is incredible. If there was any contract that seemed unmovable, it was Horford’s deal with the 76ers. While it cost him picks, Morey got it done. We’ll see what’s next in Philadelphia, but you get the sense that Morey is not finished remaking this team.
The NBA announced today that Josh Richardson of the Philadelphia 76ers was named Eastern Conference Player of the Week for games played between Monday, Jan. 6 and Sunday, Jan. 12. In his fifth NBA season, and first with the 76ers, it’s Richardson’s first career Player of the Week selection.
Richardson led the 76ers to a 2-1 week, including wins over Oklahoma City and Boston, while posting a team-leading (eighth in East) 22.7 points per game. For the week, Richardson connected on better than 50-percent of his shots from the field (24-47) and scored 16-plus in each of the three contests.
Last Monday, at home against Oklahoma City, Richardson notched a team-high 23 points (9-17 FG) and added four assists as the 76ers earned a 120-113 win, snapping a 10-game home losing streak against the Thunder. He followed up on Thursday with a 29-point (9-16 FG), seven-assist outing against Atlantic Division-rival Boston, the East’s No. 2 seed. In that game, Richardson knocked down each of his career-high 10 free-throw attempts as the 76ers clinched the season series over the Celtics for the first time since 2013-14. With the pair of home victories, Philadelphia improved to 18-2 at The Center this season, the team’s best home record through 20 games since 1982-83. In the team’s final game of the week, Richardson tallied 16 points in 34 minutes at Dallas on Saturday night.
Richardson, who was acquired in an offseason trade with Miami, has appeared in 32 games (all starts) for the 76ers this season, averaging 15.5 points, 3.3 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.0 steals in 32.1 minutes per contest. He’s scored in double figures 24 times and reached the 20-point mark on eight occasions, including twice over the past week. The former Tennessee Volunteer is the team’s first Player of the Week honoree this season and the first since Ben Simmons earned the award in March last season.
The Philadelphia 76ers were very active on the first day of free agency. They reportedly re-signed Tobias Harris to a five-year deal, traded Jimmy Butler(signed four-year deal with Miami) to the Heat in a sign-and-trade for Josh Richardson(deal still being worked on), and signed Al Horford to a four-year contract. Also, Mike Scott re-upped with the team, and JJ Redick has moved on to the Pelicans. These deals can’t be official until July 6.
So, at this point, Philly’s projected starting lineup is Ben Simmons, Richardson, Harris, Horford, and Joel Embiid. That is an excellent lineup, and this lineup has the potential to be very good on the defensive end. All the starters will be at least 6’6″ or taller. However, is it better than what they had to finish last season? Not so sure.
One of the issues Philly had before they brought in Butler, was not having a guy who can beat you off the dribble and effectively create their own shot. Butler did that for the 76ers. He was a guy you can give the ball to and ask him to make a play, which was on full display against the Raptors in the playoffs, where he led the team in points per game(22.0) and assists per game(5.6). He was Philly’s best player in that series. People forget it was Butler who tied the game up late in the fourth quarter before Kawhi Leonard hit that miracle shot to close out the series. With Butler taking his talents to South Beach, it’s going to be imperative for Ben Simmons to step up. Simmons, who made his first All-Star team last season, can do a lot, but since he has not developed his jump shot yet, he can’t be your closer. Also, Harris is a good offensive player. However, while he is solid off the dribble, he is not Butler, and for as good as Embiid is, he is not a guy who can get a shot off the way Butler can late in games.
It’s going to be interesting to see how this new lineup works for Philadelphia. It’s definitely more versatile and more athletic, on paper than what they had last season, but in terms of better, time will have to be the judge of that. Remember, this team was a couple of bounces away from advancing to the Eastern Conference Finals and beating the eventual champions, the Toronto Raptors.
Obviously, they will add more pieces to this roster, but for now, it’s too close to call on whether this starting five and team will be better than what they had last season.
I guess we gotta see how this all plays out!