The Sixers know from experience that four years and $97 million is too much to invest in a backup position.
This is true even if the player is as good as Al Horford.
For the vast majority of Joel Embiid’s career, the team failed to find satisfactory answers behind it. Perhaps the 37-year-old who is seven inches shorter than Embiid becomes an important part of the picture.
Brian Windhurst from ESPN Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia’s Inquirer reported Tuesday that the Sixers are interested in PJ Tucker, who is said to be set to reject his player’s $7.4 million option with the Heat. Yahoo Sports Chris Haynes It was reported on Wednesday that Tucker “is expected to have interest from several competing teams willing to provide” the full mid-level exception (approximately $10.3 million) in the free agency.
It’s only fair to focus on the intangibles with Tucker, a player who acknowledges his rise in nearly every game. Embiid praised his toughness, body and energy after Miami ousted the Sixers from the playoffs, and no one in the NBA would dispute that view.
But the logistics on the court would also matter if the Sixers added Tucker. The positive outlook aligns with sentiment expressed by Sixers chief of basketball operations Daryl Morey on the night of the 2020 NBA Draft. Morey emphasized that he prefers flexibility in the backup position.
“I think you’d love to have a choice in the way you play behind Joel,” Morey said. “I think (head coach Doc Rivers) and his staff can be very creative with unique formations where Ben (Simmons) shows up and we kind of build a system around it like I did in the past and Doc’s did in the past. There’s an opportunity to play unique formations, High pace, distances, shooting.But I also like to add a big element just so Doc has all the tools to attack whoever we play in different ways.
“I think the main thing is not to force anything at all. In fact, having a perceived opening often allows Senior Doc to go to work and use his amazing recruiting skills, which I think are the best I’ve seen in a coaching position, to get the best players to consider here because they They see a path and an opportunity.”
Since that evening, Morey has signed with Dwight Howard, Andre Drummond and da Andre Jordan. It would be an exaggeration to say that any of these players boosted the Sixers’ selectivity in the center. Drummond was the closest, although the short proposals from the “King Kong – Godzilla” lineup with Embiid and Drummond were clearly a shaky proposition in a playoff. Assistant coach Dave Juerger has expressed optimism about Simmons playing with the five, but the 25-year-old has not been a regular backup for Embiid.
Meanwhile, Tucker is a defender ready for any challenge and star guard. Over the past three seasons, he’s spent time with Anthony Davis, Stephen Adams, Jimmy Butler, Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Jason Tatum. This diversity of mission elevates his team’s defense, as does the Texas producer’s determination to compete with every pass, pin every spin off the ball, and prevent an opponent from getting anything easy.
While the physical differences between him and Tucker are stark, Paul Reed is comparable in terms of being interchangeable and relentless. However, Reed is more brutal (and less experienced), which gave Rivers reason to hesitate before giving the 23-year-old the consistent minutes in the playoffs.
In his exit interview, Reed was asked what he was told he would need to do to earn a steady spot on next season’s rotation.
“There are mental things,” he said. “Knowing when to cut off; knowing when to blink; knowing when to set screens; knowing when to stay apart, and re-space. There’s a lot of little details that go into what Doc wants. And that’s something I’ve been working on all season.”
Limited offensively, but a keen observer, quick roller passer and ready to shoot the corner from three points, Tucker made his best 41.5 percent of his long-range attempts last year.
Tucker is also giving up on stars, and Reed noted that the Sixers wanted him to focus more on that rather than adopting a “five stretches” mentality.
“(Outdoor shooting) is definitely part of my game already, but that’s not what the team was asking of me,” Reed said. “We have guys that shoot three points, and the only thing that the coaches and my teammates have assured me is not to focus on throwing threes; focus on rebounding and getting players like George Niang more shots or more Therese Maxi shots. That’s something I’ve been focusing on this season. If I get an open shot, though…I work on my shot enough and am confident – I’ll take the shot.However, I won’t go out there and force it.
“I understand it’s common for big guys, tall guys, they fall in love with the three ball and always end up staying there on the three-point line and the three-pointer. And I don’t try to end up like this. I’ve had experience doing that from before, and that kind of made me not win a championship when I was in the G (league), so I learned from that and not trying to be one of those guys who just try to live in a three-point streak. I love banging in the paint. That’s what I plan to do” .
Just like Reed, Charles Bassey drafted late in the second round and was impressive in the G League as a rookie.
As a more traditional edge protection hub, it also deserves to be included in this discussion.
“Charles, I love that kid,” Rivers said at his season-ending press conference with Morey. “I don’t know if he’s ready yet. I would say that on the staff side, he needs to get stronger – he gets pushed very easily. Offensively, he’s rude, but he’s not as raw as you think.”
“I think about the guys, he has a chance to have a great summer. And in terms of development, we need him. We are going to push him. You have to make him stronger. That is the number 1 thing.”
The Sixers will play in both the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues next month. This should be a chance to watch Bassi, who missed the Summer League last year because he has yet to sign his contract with the Sixers.
By the time the games kick off in Vegas, it should be pretty clear how Mori now thinks of the “optionals” behind Embiid, as well as the right price. A reunion with Tucker may be part of his answer.