“According to two rival executives, the 76ers and Grizzlies are possible landing spots for the former lottery pick, who had fallen completely out of favor with coach Jim Boylen before the recent spate of injuries forced him back into the lineup. Valentine for Zhaire Smith; who says no?”
No, Valentine isn’t very good. He’s fallen short of matching draft expectations in the NBA and ankle injuries have bothered him, too — he missed the entire 2018-19 season. This season, he’s not even had a chance to be featured consistently in the Bulls’ rotation.
Valentine shouldn’t be a priority for the Sixers, who have limited assets to trade as is. That said, if more desirable players aren’t attainable (such as Bogdan Bogdanovic, Malik Beasley, Alec Burks, or a better Bulls guard, Tomas Satoransky), Valentine could be a decent buy-low, backup target further down the list of options.
Valentine has plenty of flaws as a player, from defense to a terrible free throw rate (0.8 attempts per 36 minutes for his career). However, he has some offensive skill and IQ that the Sixers could use. He could provide some extra complementary ball handling and playmaking, and he’s a confident shooter (37.1 percent from three on 7.1 attempts per 36 minutes for his career) with some ability off movement and off the dribble.
In 2017-18, when Valentine had a real role with 37 starts and 27.2 minutes a night to work with, he had a solid year. He averaged 10.2 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 3.2 assists to 1.3 turnovers per game, with a 38.6 percent stroke from three on 4.8 attempts (including 39.7 percent on 1.8 pull-up threes).
When considering Valentine’s current standing in the Bulls’ rotation, he shouldn’t cost much at all. If the Sixers can’t land better targets and Valentine is cheap to acquire, he might end up being worth a look.