Within 24 hours of ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reporting the Kevin Love trade that will send one of the NBA’s most praised power forwards to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 2014 No. 1 overall pick Andrew Wiggins and 2013 No. 1 overall pick Anthony Bennett, Philadelphia 76ers general manager Sam Hinkie has, as most people assumed he would, thrown his name into the mix. According to Mark Perner of The Philadelphia Daily News, Hinkie is Sending veteran power forward Thaddeus Young to the Minnesota Timberwolves and filling his empty space with Bennett, which would be a great move for the Sixers considering Young is likely to opt out after next season.
So why is this a great move by mastermind Hinkie, considering the deal does go through since it’s only an agreement in principle until Aug. 23 when Wiggins can be traded?
Well, first of all, as I just mentioned, Young will be entering the final year of his contract and he appeared to be looking towards the exit signs. We all know how much Hinkie loves compiling young assets with potential, and that’s just what he has done by bringing in Bennett. Despite a rookie season that was plagued with injuries and lack of opportunities, Bennett still was the top pick for a reason; his ceiling as we know it is limitless. That’s a pretty solid exchange for a guy who already had one foot out of The City of Brotherly Love anyway.
Secondly comes the potential Bennett possesses. After filling his stat sheet with a minuscule 4.2 points and three rebounds per contest last season, he impressed the world with the complete 180 he displayed during the summer league, where he looked more in shape, more confident and much more aggressive.
Also, in addition to his tremendous upside, if Bennett can continue to improve his conditioning, ball handling and shooting touch, there’s a gaping hole waiting for him as the Sixers’ small forward of the future. He will see time in the post this season due to Joel Embiid being sidelined with a fractured foot, but once Embiid teams up with Nerlens Noel in the post, Bennett can man the wing and make for what could very realistically become the frontcourt of the future in Philadelphia.
If there was ever a guy I trust to be able to make Bennett have a true opportunity to reach his full potential and mesh what will be one of the NBA’s most talented and towering lineups in a couple seasons, it’s the development specialist and Sixers head coach Brett Brown, who will be able to leave his fingerprints all over Bennett’s growth next season.
Although no further details have been released, it wouldn’t be surprising to see Hinkie squeeze a draft pick or two out of this deal also.
Well done, Hinkie. Well done.