6 Replacements for Spencer Hawes
Counting on Hawes for the rest of the season is a risky proposition at best. In the interim, the team is likely working the phone lines in an attempt to land a big man prior to the March 15 trade deadline.
Now that Philadelphia has parted ways with backup center Francisco Elson, the team needs to acquire an interior presence sooner rather than later. That said, it will be hard for anyone to replicate what Hawes has given the team when healthy.
With Hawes in the lineup, Philadelphia is 12-2—without him, the 76ers are 9-13.
There are a number of players out there who might meet the 76ers needs at the 4 and 5 positions—here's a look at six possible replacements for Spencer Hawes.
Paul Millsap, Utah Jazz
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It seems almost inevitable that the Utah Jazz will trade one of its starting big men to free up space in the rotation for Enes Kanter and Derrick Favors.
Paul Millsap seems like the most likely candidate since his cap figure this season ($6.7 million) is roughly half that of center Al Jefferson ($14 million).
In the absence of Spencer Hawes, not only would the 27-year-old Millsap would be a perfect fit for Philadelphia this season, but he would give the team a potential option at power forward once Elton Brand's contract expires.
With averages of 15.7 PPG and 9.1 RPG, Millsap is far too productive for the Jazz to just give away. But if the 76ers were to package a future first-round pick along with the expiring contract of Andres Nocioni, Utah might be willing to pull the trigger.
J.J. Hickson, Sacramento Kings
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Just last season, J.J. Hickson averaged 13.8 points and 8.7 rebounds per game for the Cleveland Cavaliers, recording 28 double-doubles in the process.
This year, he's struggling to crack the Sacramento Kings' rotation, stuck in a holding pattern behind Jason Thompson and DeMarcus Cousins.
Hickson hasn't forgotten to how to play basketball: this is just the latest case of a good player trapped in a bad situation.
With little future for him in Sacramento, the Kings may be willing to deal the 6'9" Hickson—the type of player who would have a marked impact for Philadelphia. The former Cavalier is a low-risk, high-reward possibility for the 76ers, especially considering his age (23) and his reasonable cap figure ($2.35 million).
Jeff Adrien, Free Agent
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Nearly three years after graduating from the University of Connecticut, Jeff Adrien has yet to find a home in the NBA.
The 76ers would be well-served to take a look at Adrien, a hard-nosed forward who was named the NBA Development League's Impact Player of the Year in 2011.
While the 6'7" Adrien is too small to play center, his exceptional rebounding ability would be an instant boost to a Philadelphia front line that routinely gets beaten on the glass.
Despite limited NBA action, Adrien's per-36 minute averages (10.8 points, 11.1 rebounds) are rather impressive.
Jamaal Magloire, Toronto Raptors
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If a solid, playoff-tested big man is what the Sixers are in the market for, then they may want to call the Toronto Raptors to inquire about the availability of Jamaal Magloire. While far removed from his All-Star season of 2003-04, Magloire could be a valuable component of the 76ers stretch run.
Magloire won't provide much offense, but at 6'11", he would add both height and veteran savvy to an undersized, inexperienced frontcourt.
Andris Biedrins, Golden State Warriors
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Golden State's Andris Biedrins averaged a double-double (11.9 points, 11.2 rebounds) for the Warriors three seasons ago. But due to a lack of minutes—and perhaps even a lack of confidence—his production has fallen off dramatically.
Even so, he is still a consistent rebounder (9.4 rebounds per-36 minutes), and at 7'0", would bring size and length to the 76ers at the center position. The red flag with Biedrins is his contract: he's due $9 million in each of the next two seasons.
At that number, it would be hard for the Sixers to justify any deal for the Warriors center, but with the uncertainty surrounding Hawes, they may be willing to roll the dice.
Javale McGee, Washington Wizards
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Javale McGee is the ultimate exercise in cost-benefit analysis.
From a purely statistical standpoint, McGee has been a very productive player this season (11.6 PPG, 8.7 RPG, 2.6 BPG). But the story of the Wizards' center can't be told without discussing his...unorthodox behavior at times.
On a team filled with selfish athletes who have questionable decision-making skills, McGee is in a class of his own.
Then again, he's only making $2.46 million this season, and the lack of a long-term commitment—McGee is eligible for a $3.5 million qualifying offer this offseason—makes him a reasonable option, at least financially.
Furthermore, McGee's combination of rebounding and shot-blocking is something the 76ers have lacked since they parted ways with Samuel Dalembert after the 2009-10 season.
Maybe a change of scenery would do wonders for McGee. Or maybe he would come to Philadelphia and completely destroy the chemistry of the 76ers young locker room.
It's up to Doug Collins and the 76ers' front office to decide if that's a risk worth taking.