It's already been reported that the Philadelphia 76ers will "search the trade market for perimeter shooting threats with playmaking ability". Essentially, the exact kind of player that the Sixers and every team in the NBA would like to have. Another unsurprising report to surface is that the Sixers are also interested in Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards.
As Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington has reported, the Sixers have emerged as suitors for Bertans, along with the Atlanta Hawks, Los Angeles Lakers, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets. “How much the Wizards will actually entertain offers is unclear,” Hughes added.
Bertans was always going to be a popular trade target, especially for teams looking to contend. He’s been having a brilliant season as one of the NBA’s premier shooters. Bertans is up from 21.5 minutes a night last season to 30, and averaging career-highs across the board, including 15.4 points on a career-best 64 True Shooting Percentage.
He ranks 12th in the NBA in three-point attempts per game at an eye-popping 8.6, and he’s making 43.4 percent of them (even higher than the 42.9 percent he shot from deep last season on almost half as many attempts). Out of 120 players averaging at least 4 three-point attempts per game, this ranks Bertans a highly impressive 5th.
It makes total sense that the Sixers are interested in Bertans. At this point, Philly, like teams all around the league, will be making calls and doing their due diligence to see how much notable players will cost. Bertans would step into Philly as the best shooter on the team. His combination of volume, elite efficiency, deep range, quick release, and the ability to shoot so effectively off movement would clearly provide a lot of value and space the floor as the Sixers need. Having that firepower off the bench would open up space for others and diversify some of the sets the Sixers could run, now they’ve lost their old dynamic off-ball mover and three-point marksman in JJ Redick.
However, the Sixers’ bigger offensive weakness this season has been a lack of ball handling, playmaking and shot creation. The offense has fallen stagnant at times as a result. The team’s primary high-usage perimeter players — Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson and Tobias Harris — all have their limitations, whether it’s playmaking, getting to the free throw line, or scoring off the dribble.
I would argue that adding a guard who can address any of these areas should be the priority. Especially as Bertans won’t come cheap, given the interest from other teams. For instance, at least Mike Scott would be needed to make the salaries work (Bertans is on a one-year, $7 million deal and will command a fair price in free agency next year), along with any other combination of players and/or picks the Wizards would want. This could well include Zhaire Smith to sweeten the offer. Nevertheless, it’s obviously worth monitoring the Sixers’ level of interest and whether they remain attached to Bertans moving forward.
As the trade deadline gradually approaches and the rumor mill continues to churn out possible targets, we’ll see which other players emerge as possibilities for the Sixers.
All statistics courtesy of Basketball-Reference.com and NBA.com.