Shooting Guard Should be top Offseason Priority for Philadelphia 76ers

By Zach Slotter
oj mayo free agent
Jaime Valdez – USA Today Sports

The main reason for the failure of the 2012-13 season was the nonexistence of Andrew Bynum on the basketball court. While he sat on the bench, he watched his Philadelphia 76ers limp to a 34-48 record. Everyone thought Bynum was the big piece the Sixers needed to compete in the Eastern Conference and get even farther than they did last year.

Now Bynum is a free agent and the horrifying truth is that they very well could have traded Andre Iguodala, Maurice Harkless, Nikola Vucevic and a future first round pick for someone who played zero games.

With a new coach, more than likely a new GM and a mostly brand new roster, many think the key will be to either re-sign Bynum or bring in another marquee big man. The general consensus is that you need a dominant big man to be successful. If you look a bit closer at the numbers, Philly may already have everything they need in the middle.

Without Bynum, Spencer Hawes finished seventh among Eastern Conference centers in points and rebounds. The players ahead of Hawes in scoring were Brook Lopez, Al Horford, Chris Bosh, Greg Monroe, Vucevic and Roy Hibbert. Of the six, two did not make the playoffs and two have been eliminated in the first round. In terms of rebounding, Larry Sanders is in the top six instead of Bosh, also eliminated in the first round.

Having a dominant center is not what the Sixers need; they can get by with Hawes. What they need is a legitimate shooter and scorer from the shooting guard position. The real problem for the 76ers this year is Jason Richardson, Damien Wilkins, Nick Young, Dorrell Wright and Royal Ivey all saw starts at the shooting guard position.

The best chance for the Sixers to contend would be to stick with a big man rotation of Hawes, Thaddeus Young, Arnett Moultrie and whoever they draft. They can then move Evan Turner to the small forward and get a true shooting guard on the wing alongside Jrue Holiday.

Some of the top candidates who would fit the mold are: O.J. Mayo, Kevin Martin, J.J. Redick and Randy Foye. Any of these four would be an upgrade. It would give them another ball handler and shooter on the wing. Add any one of these guys to a lineup of Holiday, Turner, Young and Hawes and you have a team that could battle for a playoff spot again next year. Rather than throw big money at Bynum or another big man, start with a shooter and build some depth in order to make this team successful again.


Zach Slotter is a writer for Follow him on Twitter @zslot6, Like his Facebook page, or add him to your network on Google

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