The Sixers face a long climb if they wish to return to prominence in the Eastern Conference. The effectiveness of GM Sam Hinkie‘s rebuilding through tanking plan is certainly debatable given the team’s woeful record the past few seasons. One major critique levied against Hinkie is his failure to build a cohesive roster, a valid criticism given his lack of attention to the team’s backcourt the past two years. The executive has used three lottery picks in a row to select big men, players whose skills don’t appear to complement each other, which will likely become a bigger issue when and if Joel Embiid finally makes his NBA debut.
Hinkie did land point guard Michael Carter-Williams in the 2014 NBA Draft, a player who snagged Rookie of the Year Honors for the 2013/14 campaign. While Carter-Williams’ game certainly has its flaws, he did provide the team with steady production at a critical position. Since dealing away the 24-year-old to the Bucks during the 2014/15 season, the Sixers have struggled to find a playmaker who could run the team as well as help their young big men develop.
Philadelphia made an attempt to fix this glaring roster hole this season with its acquisition of Ish Smith from the Pelicans in December, a move that hasn’t translated into wins, but there is no denying that the Sixers are a better team since Smith arrived. In 39 games since joining Philly, Smith has notched 14.9 points, 3.9 rebounds and 6.9 assists in 31.7 minutes per night. Smith certainly has his negatives as a player, namely his high turnover rate (2.5 per game) and shaky shot selection (39.7% from the field overall), but he has certainly performed better than anyone the team has trotted out at the one spot since Carter-Williams was dealt.
This brings me to the question/topic for today: Is Ish Smith the long-term answer at point guard for the Sixers?
The Sixers aren’t viewed as a free agent destination around the league given their current state, which doesn’t bode well for landing a big name free agent to lead the team this offseason. This means that the team will either need to pin its hopes on Smith, who is an unrestricted free agent at season’s end, attempt to upgrade via the draft or to try and strike gold on the free agent market with a lower-tiered player.
So what say you? Should the Sixers look to re-sign Smith this offseason and hand the team over to him, or is he just a placeholder in your eyes? If you don’t believe Smith is the solution, who is a realistic target for the team either via the draft, free agency or the trade market? Take to the comments section to share your thoughts and opinions on the matter. We look forward to what you have to say.