Spencer Hawes Trade Necessary Step in Philadelphia 76ers Rebuild

Andy Bailey@@AndrewDBaileyFeatured ColumnistFebruary 20, 2014

DENVER, CO - JANUARY 1: Spencer Hawes #00 of the Philadelphia 76ers boxes out J.J. Hickson #7 of the Denver Nuggets during the game on January 1, 2014 at the Pepsi Center in Denver, Colorado. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2014 NBAE (Photo by Garrett W. Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images)
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The Philadelphia 76ers are working on a fresh start, and they took a big step toward that on Thursday when they dealt center Spencer Hawes to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

According to Yahoo!'s Adrian Wojnarowski, the 7-footer was had for two second-round picks:

CBS Sports' Ken Berger confirmed the report:

NBA.com's David Aldridge and The Plain Dealer's Mary Schmidt Boyer added the players in the mix (because Cleveland is over the cap and has no trade exceptions, they needed to send out some salary to match Hawes'):

In case you're counting, Cleveland has now dished out five draft picks in two trades this season:

Hopefully, Hawes pans out a little better than Luol Deng did.

As a legitimate stretch 5, Hawes is a unique asset. He's averaging 13 points and 8.5 rebounds while shooting 39.9 percent from three-point range.

His outside shooting will drag opposing big men away from the rim and open up driving lanes for Kyrie Irving and Dion Waiters.

So why don't the 76ers want him? Well, if it wasn't already obvious, this deal screams tanking.

Hawes is tied with Thaddeus Young for the team-lead in win shares at 2.8. So theoretically, without Hawes, the 76ers would be 12-43 instead of 15-40.

That's three games closer to the worst record in the league (currently owned by the 10-43 Milwaukee Bucks). The benefit of that of course is more ping-pong balls in the lottery.

NBA Lottery Odds
Chance to Land No. 1 Pick
Worst Record25%

And if there's a lottery in the last few years for which to tank, 2014 is it. Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins and Jabari Parker could all make an immediate impact for Philly.

Let's start with center Joel Embiid. There's obviously a need there, now that Hawes has been dealt. And Embiid is by all accounts the best big man in the field.

Bleacher Report's draft guru Jonathan Wasserman said, "Embiid looks like the best prospect on the planet." He later added:

With an array of post moves along with 7'0'' size, a 250-pound frame and a 7'5'' wingspan (half-inch shorter than Anthony Davis'), he's become unguardable one-on-one. Defenses have started double-teaming Embiid the second he gets a touch. But with incredible recognition and a confident command of the ball, he's learned to anticipate the double and find the open man. 

And that's just his offense. Prior to the last couple months, Embiid was considered a top prospect mostly for his defense. 

He leads Kansas in defensive rating, giving up just 91.5 points per 100 possessions, according to Sports-Reference.com. And he's second in the Big 12 to Isaiah Austin in block percentage at 11.5.

Jayhawks coach Bill Self recently told Bleacher Report's Jason King, "We need to play him all the time, but the more he plays, the less time he's going to spend in Lawrence."

He's got that right. If Embiid continues to play this way, he could be spending a lot more time in Philadelphia.

The second- and third-best prospects in the class would fit nicely with the 76ers as well.

With a more polished game and deeper scoring arsenal, Parker would provide an immediate benefit. He's averaging 19.2 points and 8.7 rebounds in just 30 minutes a game, shooting 47.7 percent from the field and 36.5 percent from three-point range along the way.

Wiggins would take more time to reach his full potential, but may have more upside. He has superior athleticism, but hasn't been as consistent offensively as Parker. That isn't to say his shooting percentage of 44.6 is bad though. It's only concerning because a lot of his points come at the rim. In the NBA, great scorers are more multifaceted.

Again, any of the three should help Philadelphia right away, and moving Spencer Hawes will help the 76ers get closer to the goal of landing one of them.

Andy Bailey covers the NBA for Bleacher Report.


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