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Ranking the Sixers’ Trade Chips

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These aren’t the tanking years, but the Sixers still have some trade chips.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Three Photo by Kim Klement - Pool/Getty Images

Gone are the days of stockpiling assets in order to improve the team long term, we are now in a time period where the Sixers have gone all in to try and build a championship-winning team. Because of that decision the team is painfully short of options should a potential trade arise. The cupboards are pretty barren, something this team is not used to. There are still some pieces that could help orchestrate trades, but it will take some shrewd business in order to get the most value out of these pieces. With what the Sixers’ front office has demonstrated over the last few years we should consider the possibility of that a pipe dream until there are changes made. Until then we’ll stick to figuring out who has the most value of players who could be on the move.

1) Matisse Thybulle

The NBA has become a fast pace, high-scoring league in what feels like the blink of an eye. Everyone values a player that can go out and make his own offense that it’s almost as if their defensive ability is now overlooked.

That is not the case with Matisse Thybulle. In just one season the league watched the rookie become a valuable member of the Sixers’ rotation solely based on his defense. His offensive game still lags behind his defense by a very considerable amount, but Thybulle is one of the very rare players that has one talent that is already elite enough to warrant big minutes when some of the other parts of his game are barely league average.

Thybulle will never be the type of player to lead an offense down the court, but if he can become more comfortable with the ball in his hands and continue his growth as a three-point shooter he can become a very strong starter. The league is aware of how good Matisse Thybulle already is and sees the room for growth. If the Sixers make any more big moves, he will most likely be involved.

2) Shake Milton

Shake Milton came into this season as nothing more than a deep bench player who would get minutes at the end of blowouts. To his credit he worked his tail off in the G-League and was eventually given an opportunity as the backup point guard, a role in which he thrived. Milton brought a solid outside shot that most of the roster didn’t have and he also surprised many with his ability to drive to the basket, even with his slight frame.

We’ll never forget his incredible 39-point performance against the Clippers with both Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid out, but the Sixers might be wise to try and include Milton in a trade instead of Thybulle. I realize the Sixers need players who can both handle the ball and shoot without having a mental breakdown, but I don’t think Milton’s value will ever be as high as it is right now.

3) 21st overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (originally from the Oklahoma City Thunder)

The Sixers have not had the greatest of luck the last few years, so it was incredibly surprising to see things work out in their favor when it came to this first-round pick. The pick was top-20 protected, but with the Thunder’s surprising season and a last-second winner by former Sixers all-time great Mike Muscala, the pick conveyed as it was guaranteed to finish no better than 21st overall. A bit more luck came in to play when the Thunder won a three-team tiebreaker between them, the Houston Rockets and the Utah Jazz, guaranteeing them the 21st pick.

In a draft that isn’t known for its top level talent it is almost preferred to own a later pick, and with the deficiencies of the Sixers’ roster they could surely find someone to fill a hole late in the first round. Teams are sure to be attracted to this pick and it would almost definitely needed to be involved in a trade for the Sixers to get off of a big contract like the ones they gave to Al Horford and Tobias Harris.

Fans shouldn’t get too attached to this pick. If rumors start to swirl about a potential trade involving the Sixers, then this pick is most likely going the other way.

4) Josh Richardson

Expectations were high for Josh Richardson in Philadelphia after he was the player acquired for Jimmy Butler. Richardson was on the verge of becoming a star with the Miami Heat as the primary offensive weapon but things never really got going once he was traded. The fit next to Ben Simmons was always in question because he isn’t known as dead-eye shooter, the type of player needed next to Simmons. His time as the backup ball handler was a failure and during most of his time this season it felt like he was trying to be something he wasn’t.

With one year left on his contract the Sixers are most likely not going to be able to afford Richardson once he hits the free agent market — with the bloated contracts of Harris and Horford still on the books they won’t have much cap space. The team would be wise to try and trade Richardson to get something back before they lose him for nothing. Richardson can still be a solid starter for a team, but it just doesn’t seem like it’s going to work in Philadelphia.

5) Zhaire Smith

Right now Zhaire Smith is a total wildcard. He has made close to no difference on an NBA court and yet he still has potential even after a life-threatening experience. He was the youngest player in his draft class and is still only 21 years old. He’s an unfolded piece of clay, so to speak. He’s shown flashes in the G-League of what the Sixers thought they were getting in the player out of Texas Tech, but he is still so raw that the team doesn’t feel comfortable in him playing significant NBA minutes yet.

Zhaire Smith’s value is as low as it can possibly get. Unless a team is adamant on him being involved in a deal I think the Sixers should hold on to him in an attempt help his career get back on track. The potential is still there. The Sixers could either try and tap into it or sell another team on it.

The Sixers are in a tough spot thanks to a bunch of different missteps by the last two front offices. While they don’t have the same amount of ammo to make trades as they did in years past they do still have some solid pieces needed to shake up the team. Now fans will have to put their faith into a “revamped” front office, something that is much easier said than done.