Philadelphia 76ers: Losing Kyle Korver is a blessing in disguise

(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

While reuniting Kyle Korver with the Philadelphia 76ers would have been nice, losing him to the Bucks may actually be a blessing in disguise.

Yesterday, I broke down the Philadelphia 76ers‘ need for an outside shooter and why it shouldn’t be J.R. Smith, but unfortunately, the player fans in the 215 have been pining over has made his choice in free agency and it’s not with the team we’d initially hoped.

That’s right, after being traded from the Utah Jazz to the Memphis Grizzlies and then being flipped once more to the Phoenix Suns, Korver has officially announced that he will be playing his 17th season in the league with the Milwaukee Bucks – bypassing a return to his original NBA team for another reunion of sorts with Mike Budenholzer, his head coach from 2013-17.

Runners up yet again.

Now as ESPN’s NBA Insider Adrian Wojnarowski pointed out in his follow-up tweet on the subject, Korever’s decision between rejoining Brett Brown‘s squad and reuniting with Coach Bud – the only coach to deliver him an All-Star berth –  was not an easy one, but what if I were to tell you that missing out on the 38-year-old could actually be a blessing in disguise for the Sixers?

Why? Well, for one, Korver is like really, really old.

Since entering the NBA in 2003, Korver has logged 33,475 minutes – 30,223 and 3,252 in the playoffs. While those minutes haven’t been as rough on Korver as they would have been on hyper-athletic point guards Russell Westbrook or Chris Paul, the compounded stress of competing night-in, and night-out for almost 20 years will still breakdown even the least involved players.

Which is bad news for a player like Korver, because he didn’t have that much athleticism to begin with.

While you don’t have to be an incredible athlete to knock down 3 pointers at a 42.9 career clip, you do have to be at least competent to be a two-way player in the modern NBA, and unfortunately for Korver, his usefulness as a defender has declined steadily over the past few seasons.

Last season, Korver finished out the season as the 341st ranked defender in the league according to ESPN’s Defensive Real Plus-Minus (-.60). Though it probably wasn’t too advantageous for his case splitting time between the post-LeBron James Cleveland Cavaliers and a mildly disappointing Jazz squad, it’s hard to look at Korver and see a player who is not totally washed athletically.

Sure, the 76ers need an additional shooter to keep pace in the Eastern Conference, but why kick the tires on a player who doesn’t fit into the team’s (switchable) defense focused front?

For my money, and presumably Elton Brand‘s, it may simply be wiser for the Philadelphia 76ers to hold onto their mid-level exception and hope that a knockdown outside shooter becomes available after the 2020 trade deadline. After having great luck with the mid-season additions of Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli in 2018, why not roll the dice and see how the next six months work out?

The Philadelphia 76ers should avoid J.R. Smith at all costs. dark. Next

While it’s not the ideal situation, NBA teams don’t have to be fully formed in July. Sometimes being selective is better than settling for a lesser product.