Sixers 2017 offseason checklist: A lot of work to be done

Apr 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown talks with guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (20) during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center. The Brooklyn Nets won 141-118. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 4, 2017; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers head coach Brett Brown talks with guard Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot (20) during the second half against the Brooklyn Nets at Wells Fargo Center. The Brooklyn Nets won 141-118. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

The Sixers are not just one piece away from becoming competitive, but can start to build a foundation for success in the offseason.

The talk around Philadelphia is often that the young Sixers are just one more stud prospect away from becoming the team Sam Hinkie envisioned. The truth is, while another top prospect will form the makings of a terrifyingly talented young core, the team will still have to check the boxes elsewhere.

There was a lot to be happy about the 2016-17 Sixers. When Joel Embiid was on the court, the team was entertaining and winning games. It seemed like the loss of top prospect Ben Simmons was relieved to an extent, and there was excitement around the organization. Luck once again turned on Philadelphia when Embiid suffered yet another season-ending surgery, and the team was once again bland.

Staying healthy is obviously goal number one for the team. But there are a lot of issues with the roster and on-court deficiencies that can be somewhat resolved this offseason. This summer is important, just as every summer is. The team can be elevated by attacking these issues:


This is easily the team’s most important need. Not only was the team 25th in the league in three-point percentage last season, the return of Ben Simmons will just emphasize a need for shooting. The hope is Jerryd Bayless can create some of that relief. Beyond that, the most outside shooting the Sixers will get outside of Joel Embiid will be from the inconsistent Robert Covington and Nik Stauskas.

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The Sixers can go all in on this in the draft, taking Malik Monk with the third pick. Or, they can trade down as suggested in various reports for the Kings’ fifth and 10th picks. In that case, an all-shooting draft while taking value in consideration would be Dennis Smith, Jr. and Donovan Mitchell.

If Philadelphia is keen on selecting Josh Jackson, there are options in free agency the Sixers could explore. The connection to a J.J. Redick pursuit may not be the best option, but it shows the commitment to improving that aspect of the roster. Dion Waiters and Patty Mills are other options. To a larger scale, signing Jrue Holiday or a Danilo Gallinari would be huge risks, but would again be moves to improve the spacing of the team.

It’s imperative Philadelphia looks to add outside shooting if they would like to create a fluid offense that can be effective in the new era of basketball.

Find a high-energy big man

The Sixers have had front-court problems for two seasons now. And today, they still do. Dario Saric and Ben Simmons are high-potential forwards that have obvious weaknesses defensively. Joel Embiid is a certified star if he can stay healthy. But beyond those options, the only real effective bench big man is Richaun Holmes.

Holmes does a great job as a small-ball center, but has obvious issues on the glass. In fact, the Sixers were just 23rd in rebounds per game. The team has four second-round picks they can use to scour for a defensive big man, but all the cards must fall into place.

Dewayne Dedmon might be the best option if he opts out of his current contract with San Antonio. Funny enough, defensive-minded centers aren’t as readily available this summer, making the market for former Sixer Nerlens Noel a gold mine.

Either way, the Sixers should look hard into shipping once prized-prospect Jahlil Okafor. Okafor’s game is debatably outdated, but especially in Brett Brown’s scheme. Okafor may find his way to becoming an effective player, but it’ll be much more difficult to do so in Philadelphia.

Opening up that roster space could see the Sixers taking a shot on someone who is more defensively-focused.

Finding wing depth

This one gets interesting, especially with the upward progress of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and the possible arrival of Furkan Korkmaz. Let’s get down to the hot take; Robert Covington is far from the starting forward this team needs to move forward in the rebuild. But that’s not me backing a trade for the formidable wing defender.

But this does play into the decision on draft night. If the Sixers view Josh Jackson as the next effective small forward on both sides of the ball, then they should pull the trigger on June 22nd. And even if the Sixers don’t take Jackson, using one of their picks or some of their cap room on wing versatility can help in various ways.

Wings are becoming the most important players to successful modern teams. And that will continue as the league shifts to position-less basketball. So throwing money at Kentavious Caldwell-Pope or Otto Porter, Jr. isn’t the most damning move to make.

Clean up turnovers on offense

This one doesn’t necessarily mean finding an upgrade at the point guard position. Schematically, the Sixers are bound to have a pretty high turnover rate. The fast pace of the offense does have its negatives, although the positives outweigh them. Last season the Sixers had the fifth-highest pace, but also averaged the most turnovers in the league.

What’s interesting about watching the Sixers offense last season was that most of their turnovers actually came in half-court sets. Failures to find open shots quickly often led to desperate passing. In transition there were definitely examples in lack of talent when it came to faulty passing.

The hope will be Ben Simmons will tame the turnover rate, but in reality a more effective half-court offense is needed. The lack of off-ball movement in most cases will have to be fixed, and turnovers will go down. While the Sixers roster hasn’t been the best, Brett Brown must do his part in cleaning up this offense with more creative half-court sets.

Next: Should the Sixers consider Dennis Smith?

The Sixers are on their way to something special, but there is a lot that must be answered this summer. It might be years until Philadelphia sees the impact from moves made this summer, but Bryan Colangelo could make a huge impact in this rebuild.