As Jahlil Okafor crossed the stage as the Sixers No. 3 pick this past Thursday in New York, fans and media members alike began to criticize Sam Hinkie for his selection based on the current roster makeup. With Okafor, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel all standing 6-foot-11 or higher, many were quick to point out the position disparity that exists on the roster.
With just Tony Wroten, JaKarr Sampson (team option) and Isaiah Canaan (team option) as the only guards left standing under contract, the team will need to spend money in free agency to balance things out and add depth to the Sixers’ limited backcourt. Here are five reasonable free agent targets for the team at the guard positions.
Wesley Matthews, SG, Unrestricted:
At 6-foot-5, 220 pounds Matthews has the build of a prototypical NBA shooting guard. He’s a defense-first, three-point specialist that could really stretch the floor for the Sixers. He could’ve fetched a huge deal in free-agency this summer, but a torn Achilles back in February has limited his market value this summer considerably. Matthews averaged 15.9 points and 3.7 rebounds per game last season while shooting nearly 39 percent from the three-point line. The Sixers have plenty of money to offer him and his asking price is reportedly around $15 million per season.
Danny Green, SG, Unrestricted:
Brett Brown has long ties to the Spurs as well as Green. A coach of Green's as an assistant to the Spurs from 2010-2013, Brown’s teaching can be accredited for the development and success of Green in his young career. The 6-foot-6, 215 shooting guard seems to be the odd man out in San Antonio, who’re looking too lock both Kawhi Leonard and LaMarcus Aldridge to large contracts this summer, but he’d be a welcome addition to the Sixers roster. Green’s another “3-and-D” player who will draw a large offer this summer. Green averaged 11.7 points and 4.2 rebounds this past season on nearly 42 percent shooting from beyond the arc. His asking price may be higher than Matthews’, due to a clean bill of health, but don’t be surprised to see Hinkie make an offer here for the talented swingman when free agency begins.
Patrick Beverley, PG, Restricted:
Beverley is one of the most skilled defensive point guards in the NBA, but durability issues have saddled his playing time in the league and the verdict is still very much out on if he can be a team’s No. 1 option at the position. Beverly had surgery back in March to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist, which kept him out of the Rockets’ entire postseason run to the Western Conference finals. Before the wrist injury - right elbow, hamstring and knee issues had plagued the 6-foot-1, 185 pound point guard out of Arkansas. But Beverley’s 10.1 points, 4.2 rebounds and 3.4 assists per game was solid considering the injuries and everyone knows about his defense, which earned him NBA All-Defensive second-team honors in 2013-14. The Rockets can match any offer for Beverley, who is a restricted free agent, but Hinkie might just be able to steal him away from his good pal Daryl Morey at the right price.
Ish Smith, PG, Unrestricted:
Should the Sixers just keep the point guard position in-house? Smith made a valiant effort at playing the position last year for the team, averaging 12.0 points, 6.1 assists and 2.9 rebounds over the final 25 games of the season. Worth noting as well, he made Nerlens Noel noticeably better on the court. Noel averaged 14.2 points, 11.2 rebounds, 2.4 steals and 2.2 blocks in March, all of which that featured Smith getting the majority of the team’s minutes at point guard. If they can bring Smith back for cheap, there’s no reason for Hinkie not to bring him back next season.
Cory Joseph, PG, Unrestricted:
The Spurs are committed to point guard Tony Parker through 2017-18 at point guard, this might be the perfect time for Hinkie to strike for a value guard like Joseph. Joseph averaged just 6.8 points, 2.4 assists and 2.4 rebounds last season for the Spurs, but filled in admirably for Parker when he was sidelined with a hamstring injury to start the season. From Dec. 6 to Jan. 3, Joseph notched 12.8 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.6 assists, 1.0 steals and just 1.6 turnovers per game. He’s a solid rim finisher and shot creator that should come at an affordable price tag. Without a doubt, he’s worth a look for Hinkie in free agency.