Every single contending team in the league could use help at the wing. With the rarity of productive 3-and-D wings in today’s NBA, you might have to hire Indiana Jones to find one.
And when you’re a team like the Sixers that’s low on assets and over the luxury tax, that can make swinging a deal rather difficult; though you don’t have to look too far back into the Sixers’ history to recall a buy-low deal that worked out quite well. They acquired James Ennis at the 2019 deadline from the Rockets for a second-round pick swap. Ennis and Mike Scott wound up being the only reliable reserves Brett Brown could turn to.
The GM that traded away Ennis: Daryl Morey. Ennis went from key contributor to out of the rotation to traded to out of the NBA in the blink of an eye. It just shows the volatility of the position. It’s similar to a relief pitcher in baseball.
With that in mind, we look at five wings that might have small price tags and could be worth taking a flier on.
Note: The Sixers have not been linked to any of these players.
I don’t understand why Alexander-Walker doesn’t play more. He seems to produce every time he gets run for the currently 10th-seeded Jazz. He’s 6-foot-6, he’s hit over 40 percent of his threes and has some playmaking chops. His advanced numbers are super funky because of how up and down his playing time and usage have been. He’s also on an expiring deal, so it’s hard to know if Utah views him as part of its long-term plans.
A source confirmed the Sixers’ interest in combo big Jarred Vanderbilt. Though the source added the price is high on Vando, maybe there’s a way to swing a deal that includes NAW as well. He’s young (24) and provides a more balanced player than Matisse Thybulle.
Derrick Jones Jr.
The Sixers could use more toughness and athleticism on the wing. The Chester native could provide both. He’s played a little bit of a funky role with the Bulls. He’s actually been asked to defend bigs at 6-foot-6 — a little P.J. Tucker-esque — as former Sixer Andre Drummond has been out of the rotation. His activity level is obvious. He’s averaged over a steal and a block per 36 minutes for his career. He’s also averaged 2.3 offensive rebounds per 36 as a wing.
The biggest knock on Jones is his lack of shooting, but he’s sneakily improved. Over the last three years, Jones’ three-point percentage has jumped from 31.6 to 32.8 to 34.7 this season. Overall, he’s an extremely efficient offensive player that doesn’t make bad decisions. He’s not as impactful as Thybulle on the defensive end and the shooting issues would still persist, but Jones does have better feel. It would be an interesting “lateral” swap.
After a productive 2021-22 season with the Clippers, Coffey has taken a big step back this season. L.A.’s ridiculous depth has left Coffey with little chance to find rhythm. After hitting 37.8 percent of his threes last season, Coffey is below 30 percent in 2022-23. Last season he was an efficient, low-turnover wing with playmaking ability. This year ... not so much.
But Coffey has shown enough positive flashes on both ends to be worth taking a chance on. He does have a history with Rivers, who coached him as a rookie. Insert joke about Doc not playing him, but perhaps that relationship could lead to Rivers giving him a chance and Coffey rediscovering his game.
Tate has been hurt for most of the season, but if you’re looking for another dog to add to the Sixers’ rotational mix, look no further. Tate is strong, tough and versatile. He’s similar to Jones in that shooting is not a strong suit, but he does a lot of little things offensively — cutting, connective passing, screen setting — that can make him a plus on that end. He’s actually just a flat out good passer. He was in the 87th percentile in assist percentage among forwards, per Cleaning the Glass.
Like Tucker, Tate is an ideal role player to complement stars ... he just really hasn’t played with any. His contract could be a hindrance in an attempted trade, but him being signed beyond this year could also make him more valuable.
Holiday was a much more attractive trade target a couple years ago. but is having a down year in Atlanta. The brother of Jrue and Aaron, Justin has been more on the 3 end than the D one. There might not be one player on this list that shows the volatility of wing players more than Holiday. He jacks up a ton of threes, and when he gets hot, his shot-making can change games. When he’s cold ... well ....
He hit 39.2 percent of his threes during the 2019-20 and 2020-21 seasons. He’s hit 36.4 percent over the last two years. His $6.2 million cap hit makes him less attractive, but maybe you can swing a deal and hope Holiday’s shooting will be on the upswing.
It’s hard to know what to make of Reddish. To put it bluntly, he’s been bad as a New York Knick. It’s clear head coach Tom Thibodeau is not Reddish’s biggest fan which likely doesn’t help matters. It’s hard to forget the time Reddish came back from an injury and went on a four-game heater in the Eastern Conference Finals for the Hawks. At the same time, his tunnel vision and lack of feel are troubling when forecasting long-term success.
Reddish’s theoretical ability as a 3-and-D wing could be of use to the Sixers. The key will be unlocking those portions of his game. If you take a flier on Reddish maybe Doc Rivers or Sam Cassell can get through to him. He’s still just 23 years old. At worst you’re taking a shot on a more balanced wing than Thybulle.