SHOOTING GUARDS: NBA OPTIONS

There are a couple of keys to making 2012-13 even better than the run our Philadelphia 76ers put on during this crazy, lockout shortened season. 

Adding a power forward who can rebound and shoot would be nice.  Signing or trading for a shot blocking center would also be great.  But right now Philadunkia is focused on one glaring need — signing a shooting guard that can accomplish a few things:

1.)    Start

2.)    Shoot the basketball

3.)    Make the shots

4.)    Play ADEQUATE defense (enough for Doug to have confidence playing him starters minutes)

5.)    BE A GAMER

Look, I understand finding a shooting guard in today’s NBA that can do all of those things is a difficult task, especially in the open market.  I understand that most guys that can do the above either get locked up before they can test the Free Agent waters or get overpaid when they do.  I know it may be difficult this off season as the Sixers are cap strapped, but the 7-6 have two options — either they can trade for one of these types of guys or they sign one this off season.  One of the two needs to happen this summer.  Today I will look at the players the Sixers can sign to fill this hole (We’ll address the PF and shot blocking center issues soon).

Before we get to the available options, lets break down where the Sixers are right now at the position.

 

For those of you that believe Evan Turner is a starter in this league and should get those starter minutes, I understand your thoughts.  I don’t agree with them, yet.  But I understand them.  Evan Turner COULD be 3-4 of those key things I mentioned above but right now, he hasn’t put it all together yet.  Don’t believe me? In the regular season, ET shot 22% from above the break-3, 24% from the corner-3, 42% from mid-range and only 39% in the paint.  The post season was worse with ET shooting 0% from above the break, 0% from the corner, 36% from mid-range and 29% in the paint.

I know he’s still young and extremely raw as far as NBA standards go, but to push him into the starting line-up without a significantly better/confident jump shot, he is better suited as the next Lou Williams of the Sixers future.

Speaking of Lou Williams, check these abysmal playoff numbers out (you know, just in case you think sweet sweet Lou is the answer): Williams was a killer in the playoffs, because he murdered the Sixers offensive game plan.  He shot 16%, yes 16% on 7-43 shooting from above the break 3-pointers.  He also shot 20% on 1-5 shooting from the corner-3. He completed 39% of his shots in the paint while putting up a slightly lower number in the restricted area at 38%. This may be a stretch, but I would bet LeBron could hit seven half court shots in 43 attempts.  Not the best of performances while holding the “I WANT TO GET PAID AND GET PAID NOW” stance with his upcoming option.

As for Jodie Meeks…I’ll take the high road here and just say that it’s time to move on.

So who is out there that the Sixers can attract with heaps and heaps of dollar bills? 

I’m glad you asked. 

But before we get there, it would be beneficial to know how I am going to break it down.  I will have four categories, each containing a shooting guard or two that could fit the Sixers mold and team needs: The first group consisting of guys that are “Legit Targets” for management this off season. The second group is a list of my personal hopefuls that I think can come in and make a contribution based on their strengths. The third group consists of those players that the Sixers will probably never get because of certain stipulations.  The last group is comprised of my personal “pipe dream” players that I would love to see flying around in a Sixers uni this coming year but management would likely take a pass on.

There was only one technicality for the candidates that made this post.  The player had to be an upcoming Free Agent of Restricted Free Agent so that he could be added simply by signing on with the Sixers. 

So without further ado, I give you:

Oh the Possibilities

DeShawn Stevenson (Unrestricted Free Agent)  – Lets start of slow and cheap. For some strange reason the unique mixture of his throat Abraham Lincoln tattoo, the fact that he has an actual ATM in his house, his defensive prowess is that of legend after last year’s Finals and his loose cannon personality really attracts me to him. What can I say, I’m a sucker for girls with Dragon Tattoos; but that’s beside the point. Stevenson is an unrestricted free agent this summer and though he comes with some baggage, he is a shooting guard that could fill a few roles for Doug Collins.  Before you start commenting, “Hey, idiot, you gave five categories that you want to fill and this guy wouldn’t do any of them,” let me explain. This is a bench signing that I think the Sixers should make regardless of what happens this off season. Stevenson defends.  That’s all he really does and having a guy that can shut down scorers that can come off the bench in a deep East is essential.  Though he’s a little “Metta World Peace-y” at times, Stevenson would add depth, energy and a “I’ve been here before” mind set to an otherwise young team.  There is something to be said for that.

Nick Young (Unrestricted Free Agent) – Nick Young is 27 years old and is arguably entering the prime of his career. Since joining the league, when he has had the opportunity to play more than 22 minutes a game, Young has averaged 14.1 points. When playing more than 30, his points per contest average jumps to 17.  Not bad for a guy who has been on a perennially bad Wizard teams.  What impressed me most recently was his shooting from “Ray Allen” range in the playoffs. He was 8-17, good for 47% from above the break-3 point land and 9-16 for 56% from the corner.  Do the math, that’s 51.5% from three. IN. THE. PLAYOFFS.  Throw money at this kid. Do it, DO IT!

Lock them DOWN

Leandro Barbosa (Unrestricted Free Agent)  –  The Brazilian Avatar has had an extremely consistent career in the NBA and coaches now know exactly how to use him. Predicting 12-15 points per game, 2-3 assists, a rebound here and there, good shooting efficiency, a quality free throw percentages and strong defense is like predicting the sky will be blue tomorrow; it’s as much of a guarantee as anything.  I like to call that a “Doug Collins Deluxe” or a “DCD”.  He shot a respectable 38.2% from three in the regular season as well as notching a 50% field goal percentage in the clutch (player performance in the last 5 minutes of games when the score margin is within 5 points) as well.  Good shooting, better defense, can start but doesn’t have too, tremendous glue guy while converting under pressure? Sign me up for a little Captain Barbosa.

O.J. Mayo (Restricted Free Agent)  –  You are going to have to throw money at this 24-year old as he’s sure to be a target to any team not namedMemphis. With the summer focus on signing Eric Gordon away from New Orleans, O.J. is the next best option at two-position. So what do we know about O.J. Mayo after four years in the league?  We know that he’s one of those “need to start to get in a rhythm” kind of guys. Take a look at this, when averaging 38 minutes per game in his first two seasons as a starter, Mayo was good for around 18 points on 44.8 FG%, 3.1-assists and 3.7-rebounds.  AfterMemphis decreased his minutes dramatically (about 12 per game) and took away his starting spot in the lineup, he averaged 11.9 a game on 40.7 FG%, 2.3-assists, and 2.8-rebounds.  That is a significant drop off. Mayo needs a change of scenery andPhiladelphia should be that place. He fits in with the mantra of the team with his young, athletic, dynamic and extremely gifted offensive capabilities. Imagine the options that could happen around Jrue, Turner and Mayo! Give him the farm and give him the minutes. But most importantly, give him confidence that you, as a franchise, believe in him as a future All-Star and he will rise to the occasion. He’s too good not to. 

Maybe in an alternative world:

Chauncey Billups (Unrestricted Free Agent)  –  He will probably be shelved for the first two months of next year’s season with the Achilles injury but that doesn’t mean the old timer can’t help the Sixers out in some capacity on and off the court.  His veteran presence, big shot/big moment ability, the ring on his finger and willingness to still prove he’s got something left in the tank is intriguing. Intriguing doesn’t mean smart, but for the right price my ears would be open.

Eric Gordon (Restricted Free Agent) –  Before the injury, this is what Gordon was doing: 21% from Above the Break-3, 100% from the corner-3, 41% from mid-range, 43% in the paint and 63% in the restricted area. That was good for 20.6 PPG with a 45 FG% (good for 7th among all shooting guards had he kept that percentage up).  He looked like he was ready to join LeBron James and Kevin Durant (and forcibly Kobe Bryant) in the competition for the scoring title as he was the only real threat to score inNew Orleans and was ready to make everyone in LA regret ever trading him. Eric Gordon can be an elite talent and will get paid like one this summer… by the Hornets.  I have a hard time thinking he will leaveNew Orleans now that they have won the “David Stern Lottery” twice. I think the picks and the addition of a new owner and a bunch of cap space makes Eric stay.  If it doesn’t, I’m not sure the Sixers have enough to get him to sign that sheet of paper anyways.

I Have a Dream

Jason Terry (Unrestricted Free Agent) –  When you think of instant offense in the League, The Jet has to be at the top of that list. He averaged 15.1 points this year making 138 three-pointers for the Dallas Mavericks; shooting his highest 3P% since the 06-07 season. At 34, Terry has seen brighter, less tiresome days but what he can still do undoubtedly is shoot. The one time 6th Man of the Year may be leavingDallas a bench player but could easily step into the right team and start. Could it be Philly? It surely wouldn’t be the worst move in the world.

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