On Monday the 76ers announced that Sam Hinkie had decided to waive shooting guard James Anderson bringing an end to his predictable time in a Sixers uniform. The Sixers claimed Anderson off of waivers on July 16, 2013 and at the time he was hailed as an undervalued talent who owned a lethal jumper from deep. Most of that turned out to be false.
Anderson appeared in 80 games last year for the Sixers, starting in 62 of those games, and averaged 10 points, 4 rebounds and shot a paltry 32.8% from three. Anderson did show an ability to drive the ball to the cup, but his lackluster performance from behind the arc, the fact that he was a liability on defense and salary cap factors led to his release by Hinkie.
The release of Anderson saves the 76ers about $1million dollars, but more importantly the move now opens up a wing spot in the 76ers’ first five. So once again this year, the 76ers will head to training camp wondering who will be the starting shooting guard on opening night
After the jump we’ll examine the candidates to fill that spot.
To be honest with you, the 76ers have not had a legit scoring threat at the shooting guard position since Allen Iverson. If you don’t consider Iverson a true shooting guard, then you have to go back even further to the Hersey Hawkins era to remember the last time the Sixers’ starting five boasted an elite player at that position.
Hinkie chose not to address this glaring hole at the 2014 NBA Draft, so now a solution will have to come from the current roster or the free agent market. Below is a look at a number of players (Admittedly none of them all that exciting.) who could be plugged into the 2-guard spot on opening night.
Hollis Thompson: The 6-8 Thompson started 41 games for Brett Brown in 2013-14 and showed flashes of being able to compete in this League. Thompson is an amazing athlete who shot 40% from deep and 46% from the field with a TS% of 57 and an eFG% of 55. He can also defend a little, but doesn’t score off the bounce all that well. On the stat sheet, #31 was one of the better rookies in the NBA last season, but he lacks the offensive skills to be a major offensive threat for the Sixers over the long haul.
Elliott Williams: Williams will enter his third season in the Association with a shot at winning the Sixers starting 2-guard job and that scares the nuts out of me. During 2013-14 Williams appeared in 67 games for the 76ers and was good for 6 ppg. while shooting 29% from behind the arc. Williams is extremely athletic and long, but he owns D-League basketball abilities and has no right starting in the League. Even in the season of the “double tank” Williams is not the answer at the two for coach Brown.
KJ McDaniels: The 6-6 McDaniels (6-11 ¼ wingspan) played SF at Clemson and he’ll most likely end up at that spot in the League, but I am willing to bet he is given a chance to win the starting SG spot at training camp this fall. He averaged 17 & 7 in his final collegiate season, but shot an unimpressive 30% from behind the NCAA three point line. His profile on draftexpress.com includes the following line, “McDaniels ranks as a below average perimeter scorer”, so he’ll have a lot of work to put in if he wants to earn the Sixers starting two guard next season and beyond.
The Rumor Mill:
Avery Bradley: A four year veteran, Bradley (6-2; 180) started 58 games for the Celtics last season and averaged 14.9 & 4 per night. Bradley shot 43.8% from the field and 39.5% from three while carrying a 51.0 TS% and a 48.5 EFg%. He’s undersized for Hinkie’s tastes, but Bradley is very quick, can score in a variety of ways and is coming off his best season in the NBA. The Sixers reportedly have interest in Bradley, as do I, but a report just broke claiming that he has resigned with Boston so he may be out of the mix.
Kent Bazemore: According to Alex Kennedy of basketballinsiders.com, the Sixers have jumped into the mix on the journeyman who played 67 games in the Association last season with the GSW and LAL. Bazemore started 15 games for the Lakers in 2013-14 (23 gms total) and averaged 13, 3 and 3 per night. Bazemore showed a decent shooting stroke in his brief stint with the Lakers — hitting 45% of his FGs and 37% of his threes. His advanced stats look solid as well — TS% 54.3 and 51.8 eFG%. Additionally, at 6-5 and 200 pounds, he fits the long and athletic profile that Hinkie loves so much.
Xavier Henry: In 2013-14 Henry played a host of games in the D-League as well as 43 games for the Lakers. As a Laker he averaged 10 points per night on 41% shooting from the field and 34.6% from deep. At 6-6 and 220 pounds, he fits the body type that Hinkie admires in a wing player. However, I would be interested to see if the seemingly overweight Henry even comes close to meeting coach Brown’s fitness standards. He remains an intriguing solution, but he’s a career 41% shooter from the field so that raises a few red flags.
The Long Shots:
Jeremy Lin (combo-guard)
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