In this week's mailbag, I discuss where Dario Saric would be taken if he was eligible for the 2016 NBA Draft, the trade deadline, and more. You can catch up on previous installments here.
Noah Goodman (via email): If Dario Saric was in the 2016 NBA draft, where would he rank on your big board? If it was an option, would you deal him for a late lottery teams unprotected pick?
Based off my big board from earlier in the month, I'd probably slot him third, just in front of his compatriot, Dragan Bender. Those two are close, but Bender's contract would definitely play a role in separating them. Outside of the top three, there are very few guys I'm intrigued by. I think Kris Dunn is a solid college player, but he hasn't shown the much needed improvement to make me feel comfortable in his shooting ability, and I'm not fond of his ball handling. Not to mention, he's also a month older than Saric is. I'm not sure how much room for improvement is left. I would also be fonder of taking a guy like Demetrius Jackson with a mid-first or Monte Morris with the Oklahoma City pick than Kris Dunn in the top five. The rest of the guys in the expected top 10 like Jaylen Brown, Skal Labissiere (who I wouldn't dare touch this high) and Jamal Murray all have serious question marks that could derail a successful NBA career.
Saric has his issues as well (most notably on defense), but I'm content with how he's progressed over the past few years to think he has a definitive and effective role in the NBA. He's shooting nearly 37% from beyond the arc in all competitions, up from 32.9% last season. Saric is a willing rebounder, smart passer, and can handle the ball in transition. To me, that sounds like the attributes of a quality sixth man.
I wouldn't trade Saric for a late lottery pick because I think he's much more valuable than most of the guys who are expected to be there. Last year might have been a different story, because that class had some depth in it. Just don't see it this year.
@paxer89: What is your opinion on a move for Jeff Teague? Would you do something like that?
There are some things I like about Jeff Teague (great passer, suitable defender, does well in pick and roll) but this hypothetical move has doing too much too soon written all over it. Teague's currently making just $8 million a year, but he's going to be in line for a giant contract extension next summer, and he'll already be 28-years-old by that point. I wouldn't feel great about giving a near-max contract to a ball handler shooting 47% around the rim that will be decently removed from him prime halfway through this new deal. For where Philadelphia currently is roster wise, I just don't think it makes any sense to pursue him, especially because Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor would probably be attached to any deal. I've made it clear I don't love this draft, but I think most of these lead guards are capable of doing what Teague has done throughout his career, while also being much cheaper and growing with the young core. I'd listen to what Atlanta had to say, but most likely I would end up balking at any deal involving Teague, or Dennis Schroder, for that matter.
@ayoitsjordan: Do you think management will push to sign DeMar DeRozan or Harrison Barnes in a misguided attempt to make a splash in free agency?
Based off some of Jerry Colangelo's recent comments, I would not be surprised if they try and make a run at some of the top dogs in free agency. The Sixers tried last year to swing meetings with Jimmy Butler and Kawhi Leonard, but that seemed like more of a leverage play from those two, although they really didn't need it. If it were even possible for Philadelphia to grab Butler or Leonard, it would have absolutely been worth it. Those are two franchise altering players who you can fit your team around, regardless of where the Sixers are in their rebuild. DeRozan and Barnes are not those kind of players. Yes, they're more likely than not going to be max contract players, but those are guys are players who fit into certain roles when you already have core put together, which Philadelphia does not.
In general, I think DeRozan would just be an absolutely awful fit. He's an isolation heavy guard who shoots just 27.6% from beyond the arc for his career. That's the last thing Philadelphia needs in an off ball guard. Barnes is a little bit more intriguing. He's a solid 3-and-D wing player, but my concern is he might be a product of Golden State's system more than anyone else on that team. Barnes has certainly been very effective over the past couple years, but he's essentially a role player with a relatively low usage rate, and I'd have concerns about him carrying the load of an offense outside of Golden State.
If the Sixers were two years ahead of where they are now, I'd be interested in a Barnes type player. But they aren't, and I think throwing big money at him would not be a bright idea.
@TheHubeAbides: What's the likelihood of a trade by the deadline? If so, who?
I think they have some small pieces they'd like to move, but the question is who would really be interested. The two most likely names on the block are Kendall Marshall and Carl Landry. Marshall lost the backup job to T.J. McConnell over a month ago, and hasn't really played since. Marshall's numbers were really down across the board, but he's only 24-years-old. I don't think it's totally out of the question that somebody takes a flier on him for a late second round pick, and Philadelphia would probably part with him if they could get that. I certainly imagine Marshall's camp would like to find him a place where he can find his way onto the court more consistently.
Landry played really well when he returned from wrist surgery in late December, but hasn't played at all in the Sixers past five games. His touches have been limited when he is on the court, but he's been a very consistent mid-range shooter with Philadelphia. Teams are always looking for a veteran with playoff experience at the deadline, and Landry fits that bill. He's not going to play serious minutes for anyone, but he can certainly help a contender shore up the end of their bench. The only issue is he's due $6.5 million next year, and nobody will be too interested in footing that bill.
If Philadelphia does anything, I think it'll be small, and these two are the most likely to go.
Thanks for your questions. As always, you can send me your questions on Twitter @JakePavorsky or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org