Heading into the 2022-23 NBA season, many thought Joel Embiid, James Harden and the Philadelphia 76ers would finally take the next step after years of post-season woes and establish themselves as legitimate NBA title contenders. . But fast forward to the present day, and it is clear that the Sixers fell far short of these expectations.
The Sixers tread water this season. They finished the regular season with an impressive 54–28 record, the third best record in the Eastern Conference and the entire NBA. But after defeating the Mikal Bridges-led Brooklyn Nets in the first round of the playoffs, the Sixers lost in seven games to the Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, and Boston Celtics in the second round. The Sixers were up 3–2 in the Celtics series, but failed to beat them in Games 6 and 7, thanks to Tatum’s masterclass in both games.
The Philadelphia 76ers’ 2022-23 season was certainly disappointing, but a productive free-agency period could help fans forget about that season. Unfortunately, though, Philadelphia has lost more in free agency than it has gained so far.
Jalen McDaniels (Toronto Raptors), Georges Niang (Cleveland Cavaliers), and Shaq Milton (Minnesota Timberwolves) have found new homes with other NBA franchises. And the Sixers’ only free agency acquisitions so far have been veteran floor general Patrick Beverley and center Mo Bamba.
The Sixers made a huge mistake by allowing one of the above players to walk in free agency this summer. Having said that, let’s take a look at the one big mistake the Philadelphia 76ers made in NBA free agency:
Sixers made 1 big mistake in 2023 NBA free agency
let jalen mcdaniels walk
The Sixers are sorely lacking in wing defenders at the moment. They lost their team’s best wing defender – Jalen McDaniels, whom the Sixers had traded in free agency in February to the Toronto Raptors for Matisse Thybulle and a second-round pick. While McDaniels barely saw the court during the playoffs, he was very productive defensively in limited minutes with the team during the regular season, as he averaged 0.9 combined steals and blocks in 24 regular-season appearances with the Sixers. – were done.
The best perimeter defender left on Philadelphia’s roster is PJ Tucker. Tucker is an above average defender on the wing position who uses his physical ability to contain the opposing wing. But he’s also very long in the tooth, as he’s 38 years old and thus probably doesn’t have much productive basketball left in the tank. Tucker is also a liability on the offensive end at this stage of his career, as teams often leave him open on the perimeter and challenge him to take shots after the season.
Therefore, it would be wise for the Sixers to add a wing defender to their roster at some point this summer. There aren’t too many quality wing defenders left on the free agent market, but the one who would be the best fit in Philadelphia is Chicago Bulls forward Derrick Jones Jr. He averaged 1.1 combined steals and blocks in just 14.0 minutes per game with Chicago during the 2022-23 NBA campaign.
Overall, the Philadelphia 76ers’ offseason hasn’t been a complete failure. The signings of Beverley and Bamba are solid steps and add to the team’s depth at the point guard and center positions. But the Sixers should have kept Jalen McDaniel instead of letting him walk in free agency for nothing in return.