The Sixers will focus on improving their depth between now and the playoffs, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team’s most pressing needs are another perimeter defender and a a big man to back up Joel Embiid, Pompey adds, and management plans to pursue both of those on the trade and buyout markets.
“Where you end up feeling it the most is, ‘What’s your depth? What’s the depth of your team?’” coach Brett Brown said. “(GM) Elton Brand is doing aggressive work behind the scenes, trying to figure out the design of our team as the trade deadline comes up. And I’m following his lead.”
The Sixers were big winners at buyout time last season, landing a pair of shooters in Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. However, Ilyasova had played in Philadelphia before and Brown had a connection to Belinelli from their days in San Antonio, so duplicating that success won’t be easy.
Two things are working against the Sixers’ effort, Pompey notes. The playoff race hasn’t shaken out like they had hoped, and with so many teams still in contention there may be a shortage of sellers before the deadline. Also, Markelle Fultz, who might have been a useful trade chip, has been sidelined since November 19 with thoracic outlet syndrome.
There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:
- Corey Brewer, who signed a second 10-day deal on Friday, deserves to be kept for the rest of the season and possibly longer, Pompey states in a separate story. Brewer has started the past three games while Jimmy Butler recovers from a sprained wrist and is averaging 10.8 points per night since joining the team.
- Surrounded by elite players, J.J. Redick can get overlooked, but the Sixers are pushing for him to land a spot in the All-Star Game, Pompey adds in another story. Redick is averaging a career-high 18.4 PPG at age 34 and is having one of his best all-around seasons, shooting 38.9% from 3-point range, contributing 2.8 assists per night and playing 31.1 minutes per game. “I just want to keep playing and enjoying playing,” he said. “Whether that’s three years or five years, I don’t know. You can’t really predict. But how I felt the last couple of years, I’d like to keep playing for a while.”
- The Sixers believe they have something special in rookie guard Landry Shamet, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The 26th player selected in the 2018 draft, Shamet is averaging 8.4 points per game, shooting better than 40% on 3-pointers and has shown an ability to handle both backcourt positions. “He’s not your typical rookie,” Redick said. “It’s fun to see a guy who’s 21 years old and is already, basically a pro. He acts like a pro, he plays like a pro.”