Darryl Morey Sixers Savior? Analyzing his Offseason Moves So Far



The Philadelphia 76ers new offseason look to push them over the top, but how impactful can the acquired talent be?

The lights of the 2019-20 NBA season did not cast brightly for the Sixers. Ending with empty arenas, distraught emotions, and uncertainty surrounding what the next step is, they are the most lost team in the NBA. Sadness and disappointment penetrated through the air during the season. Mental lapses were found at all levels, made by all coaches and players. The next step for this franchise is lost in limbo. 

The Philadelphia 76ers, however, have a new hope in the midst of all of this.

Coaching changes are going to make a major shift in the locker room, but their part of the process starts with one more person; Daryl Morey. The new president of basketball operations made a lot of draft day moves, and his goal is clear; he wants to establish this team as contenders.

Due to the COVID outbreak this year, the NBA had to finish the season later than normal. This allowed for many players to showcase their abilities in the toughest times mentally and physically. For the Sixers, this means there are plenty of goals they need to complete in this short offseason. But a few key things have already happened.


The Al Horford Trade

Reported by Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, the official trade is an agreement between the Philadelphia 76ers and the Oklahoma City Thunder. The 76ers sent Al Horford, the rights to the 34th overall pick, a top-6 protected 2025 first-round pick, and the draft rights to Vasilije Micic, who currently competes for Anadolu Efes of the Turkish Basketball Super League. This is in exchange for Danny Green, and Terrance Ferguson

Moving Al Horford was the Sixers’ biggest priority, and it was done in a graceful fashion. Morey’s trading skills resulted in an amazing trade that could have long term benefits.

Before the start of the 2019-20 NBA season, the Sixers locked up Horford to a large contract. There was hope that he and Embiid could dominate the frontcourt and lead Philly to a higher plane than before, yet Horford did not reach his expectations at all. 

The trade not only clears about $9.5 million dollars in cap space, but adds two players who are much needed depth for the Sixers. Last season indicated that the Sixers lacked major components of an NBA offense. There were floor spacing issues that resulted in the lack of offensive efficiency, which affected Joel Embiid in particular. Defenses focused on him, almost solely, and his production decreased a lot compared to the previous season. Danny’s spacing is provided by his swift off-ball movement and his sniper accurate 3-point ability. While many may look to the playoffs to disprove this, Green is still a great shooter. In the regular season he shot slightly above average, at 36.7%, his career average is 40.0%. Shooters can be streaky throughout their career, and with a new team Green can find his own again.

Terrance Ferguson might be seen as a throw-in piece, as the Thunder get rid of this young asset, but he might yield more than we expect. His minutes went down towards the end of the season, going from 28.1 minutes per game in December to 14.6 minutes per game, but he was regarded as coming into his own as a defensive player. Under Doc Rivers, this can be really expanded. A potential defensive lineup can be completely formed by Ferguson’s addition, with the likes of Ben Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Joel Embiid leading the charge on that side of the court. 

Overall, Green and Ferguson are going to expand the Sixers struggling offensive game, giving Ben Simmons more passing outlets, being able to run more plays, and lets him become a better ball handler, and also allows Joel Embiid will be able to create more mismatches in the post and run more efficient pick-and-roll.


The Josh Richardson Trade

Seeing Josh Richardson depart from this team is bittersweet. Even if he did not always play the best, he always brought out the energy and hustled for everything. He was the model for heart and soul, and his spirit will definitely be missed. But his departure brings in Seth Curry, who was 3rd in 3-point percent last season, making shots from beyond the arc at a rate of 45.2%. 

While there is a loss at perimeter defensive, previous trades address that. With that being said, Curry might be the best acquisition this team will make this off season. The 3-point marksman adds guard depth that the Sixers desperately need. Backcourts have been the enemy of the bench for years ever since they have been able to make the playoffs, with those players not being able to compete with other benches in the playoffs. Curry is a quick decision maker, and not only gives Ben a great shooter, but also can give him more time to rest. 

His fit alongside Ben and Joel both will raise this team to being better than before. If you recall, the JJ Reddick-Joel Embiid pick-and-roll was one of the plays that pushed Philly over the top, but we lost that last season. With Curry, that play has the chance to shine once again. This adds even more to the aforementioned floor spacing. 


Drafting Tyrese Maxey

With the 21st overall pick in the NBA Draft, Tyrese Maxey fell into the hands of the sixers. The 6’3” guard from Kentucky brings defensive tenacity to this team. Maxey is a high octane player who’s motor drives his skill. 

Maxey will make you reminiscent of Jimmy Butler. As bold as that statement may seem, Maxey was recognized as one of the hardest workers in this class; he claims to arrive at the court at 6:00 AM and attempts to make 800 shots, then lifts from 8-10, and is back on the court for a couple more hours.  

He has a very high IQ on both sides of the ball, can defend when it matters most, and is graceful at the rim. Free throws and driving in the paint is the main scoring option for Maxey, something our current guards can not do. Maxey will astonish you in the pick-and-roll, and will be Embiid’s new best friend with his fluid mid-range jumper. 

While his shooting is not good, it can be easily fixed. His release angle is low, and our training staff will surely address it. Maxey might not be the best player of the class, but he has signs of a solid starting guard, and fits in very well with Embiid and Simmons.


Why These Move are Significant

This trade is a commitment to the future of Ben and Joel. Morey has made it clear that they are the future, with no signs of giving up on them. The time to compete is now. The Sixers are either going to disappoint or exceed expectations. The Sixers now have 3 of the top 20 3-point shooters of the last three seasons. A lot of issues still remain, but overall this team is much better and far more ready for the playoffs this year. Embiid looks to become even more dominant than he previously was, Simmons looks to run the offense more efficiently, and the team is built to win.