Houston Rockets P.J. Tucker/Victor Oladipo trade bundle team #3: Philadelphia 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers currently have the best record in the Eastern Conference but if they want to be the favorites to make it out of the east they’ll need some upgrades. Their lead over the Brooklyn Nets for the East’s one seed is only a half-game and their advanced metrics are not nearly as impressive as their record.
Based upon their average point differential, the Sixers would be expected to be 20-13 and not 22-11. They’ve also faced the eighth easiest schedule this season, which makes their net-rating of only +3.2 points per 100 possessions even more concerning.
The Sixers have the looks of a contender but when you peek under the hood they look more like the best of the rest and not a real threat to reach the finals. Joel Embiid has had an MVP caliber season, Ben Simmons is a deserved All-Star, and Tobias Harris is having his best season as a Sixer but the rest of the roster is full of a bunch of specialists.
The additions of P.J. Tucker and Victor Oladipo would instantly vault the Sixers into pole position in the Eastern Conference. The Nets trio of James Harden, Kevin Durant, and Kyrie Irving would still have more offensive firepower but the Sixers balance would be unmatched.
A lineup of Embiid, Simmons, Harris, Oladipo, and Tucker would be the best defensive unit in the league and might be the only group capable of stopping Brooklyn’s finest. The Sixers own their next four first-round picks and could offer two in return plus the Rockets’ pick of salary and young players.
Matisse Thybulle and Tyrese Maxey are both interesting young guards who the Sixers would gladly give up to have a real shot at the championship. The Sixers have close to $100 million committed to the trio of Embiid, Harris, and Simmons each of the next three seasons which means adding any significant long-term salary is something they won’t be interested in.
The Sixers are close to being contenders and they can solidify their claim as the best team in the Eastern Conference if they’re bold. The Rockets and Rafael Stone should give their old boss, Daryl Morey, a call and strike a deal that’s a win for both sides.
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