Philadelphia 76ers: Kyle Korver really could have helped on Christmas day

(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images)
(Photo by Chris Gardner/Getty Images) /

After watching Kyle Korver put up 11 points in Utah on Thursday, it’s clear the Philadelphia 76ers could have used the 37-year-old on Christmas day in Boston.

Kyle Korver is no longer a good basketball player. He’s slow, and simply can’t play defense anymore.’

This is the kind of quote many salty Philadelphia 76ers fans repeated like a mantra when news broke that the Utah Jazz had agreed to ship Alec Burks and a pair of future second-round picks to the Cleveland Cavaliers for the 37-year-old shooter.

However, it just isn’t true.

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Well, the ‘He’s slow and can’t play defense’ part is true, as Korver is among the least athletic player in the NBA, and currently ranks 346th overall in defensive Real Plus-Minus, but anyone who truly believes that the 15-year vet can’t still impact an NBA game is simply misguided.

Need proof? Look no further than the Sixers recent 114-97 win over the Jazz.

Sure, Franklin‘s team still won the game with ease, thanks in large part to a 33-point performance from Brett Brown‘s bench, but it’s hard to sit back and watch Korver put up 11 points in 20 minutes of action and not feel a little bit jealous.

I mean, could you imagine getting that kind of production off the bench with regularity? That’s like a Sixers’ fans dream when you look at the team’s current collection of mismatched bench pieces, rookie bright spot Landry Shamet notwithstanding.

Furthermore, could you imagine having a player like Korver available when the 76ers took the court against their heated rivals the Boston Celtics at the TD Garden in a 5:30 Christmas day shootout?

While he wouldn’t have helped to shut down Kyrie Irving‘s monstrous 40-point performance down the stretch, he could have served as a calming presence coming off the bench capable of knocking down 3s and keeping players minds at ease.

A regular 3-and-Ease wing if you will.

I mean Korver almost outscored the 76ers four-man bench by himself on Christmas day, putting up 10 in a 117-96 win over the Portland Trail Blazers, vs. 13 points from the combination of Mike Muscala, T.J. McConnell, Furkan Korkmaz, and Shamet.

Even when Wilson Chandler finds a way to score in double-digits, like he did with a 15-point performance in Boston, if the bench can’t pull their own weight, it’s going to be hard to win with any regularity.

Teams like Boston, Toronto, and even Indiana have risen to the top of the Eastern Conference power rankings not because of their big 3s, but because of their depth.

Each of these teams have at least six players who are averaging double digits points night-in and night-out this season, which means they can more easily stagger minutes and shuffle around lineups to optimize matchup, without forfeiting stretches of the game to an ineffective bench.

The 76ers, on the other hand, only have four, and all too often fall into offensive dry spells throughout any given game, forcing Coach Brown to overwork his stars to win against even average opponents.

If the 76ers are going to eventually take that next step forward and wrestle away the Eastern Conference’s reins once and for all, the front office is going to have to find another scorer capable of putting up double-digit points while meshing well with the team’s starting five. I know, I know, this is a pretty hot take but had the team opted to put in an offer for Korver when he was available, we’d probably be on to something else, like T.J. McConnell’s sudden offensive efficiency, or Markelle Fultz‘s shoulder (again).

Next. Wilson Chandler needs to take more shots. dark

But for now, the Philadelphia 76ers will have to continue to live or die by their current crop of players and pray that another move comes down the pipeline, either by trade or buyout, that can magically turn their fortunes around.