Are the 76ers Legit?


(Image courtesy of nba.com)

Jimmy Butler has finally been traded.

What an absolutely seismic change this is to the NBA landscape. Take this in: Considering that Jimmy is back in the Eastern conference and on top of that, he’s now joined a young and hyped up team in the Philadelphia 76ers, we may have a legitimate Eastern Conference threat.

With that move out of the way, the question now shifts to this: Can the 76ers compete against the East’s best? (I.E. The Raptors and Celtics). With this being said, we have to look at some basic facts at play and I am going to come straight out with my personal opinion: The answer is no.

Let me tell you why the 76ers still don’t have enough fire power to compete against Boston & Toronto, but firstly, how they still have the potential to make some noise in the Eastern Conference.

Okay. First things first, the 76ers can definitely make some noise. Sure they traded forward, Dario Saric, and swingman, Robert Covington, (two of their starters) but they brought back Butler, who is a much better option than both of these players combined. Still, the trade only brought back one piece - the aforementioned Butler, meaning that a starter spot has now opened up.

Let’s take a closer look at the team and see how this trade shakes up the roster:

(Image courtesy of nba.com)

Immediately I noticed that there is no back up to Butler. Sixers Head Coach, Brett Brown, will need to get creative because there is no way Butler should be playing all 48 minutes for this squad. Chandler is supposed to be his backup, but since there is now a glaring gap at the four spot, Chandler seems to be the best starting option. This, of course, means there is now nobody to back up Jimmy.

Still, I do really like this move because Philly addressed one of their major roster flaws: their shooting ability. The 76ers shooting was one of the main reasons they were so good last year. They had veteran sharp shooters such as Ersan Ilyasova & Marco Belinelli, who were able to space the floor on drive and kicks from Ben Simmons, which was extremely impactful.

Bringing in Jimmy Butler will definitely help their shooting since he is most definitely a better shooter than both Covington and Saric. The only thing to note is that outside of Butler and JJ Redick, the team does not have any sharp shooters.

Going off of that point, we all know Markelle Fultz cannot shoot, period. Simmons still needs work on his shooting, and Joel Embiid may be a decently good shooter for his size, but that still does not make him a sharp shooter. This leaves TJ McConnell, Butler, and Redick as the main floor spacers on the team. It's not the deepest crop of candidates considering that the Raptors and Celtics have extremely deep benches. On paper, the starting five looks awesome, but Philly needs to make some additional moves to bolster their roster in order to compete with teams such as Toronto and Boston.

In terms of potential, if General Manager, Elton Brand, can make some moves or sign some shooters for the bench unit, the 76ers definitely have a chance to contend in the East. I still don’t think they will be as strong as Boston and Toronto, but they may be able to give teams a headache in a 7-game series come playoff time.

All in all, the 76ers needed a shakeup and getting Butler was definitely the play, especially if he stays. The main priority now is for management to make some moves to shore up the bench unit in order for the 76ers to be a force in the Eastern conference and to be considered legitimate contenders.