76ers' Report Card for Most Impactful Offseason Decisions
The Philadelphia 76ers have been relatively quiet during the 2021 NBA offseason, which feels strangely disappointing for a team that had a .681 winning percentage and the Eastern Conference's No. 1 seed.
But given that the thud of Philadelphia's (and Ben Simmons') playoff collapse still echoes around the hoops world, it's fair to wonder whether the Sixers have done enough to keep themselves in the championship chase.
It's also tempting to reserve judgments on this team given the likelihood of a Simmons swap at some point, but we can only assess what Philadelphia has now. Which is what we're doing here by tacking letter grades on to the franchise's three most important moves of the summer.
Extending Joel Embiid
Considering Joel Embiid still hasn't played 65 games in a season, one can argue the Sixers have yet to see what he can do when fully healthy.
But even when's mostly healthy, he's awesome. He was arguably the most dominant player of last season, when he took silver medal in the MVP voting despite missing 21 games. When he did hit the hardwood, he managed to pack 28.5 points, 10.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists, 1.4 blocks, 1.1 threes and 1.0 steals into 31.3 minutes per night.
To truly capture his extraordinary impact, consider that his club crushed opponents by a whopping 12.0 points per 100 possessions with him on the court.
That's why, despite his myriad injury issues, the Sixers deemed him worthy of a four-year, $196 million supermax extension. It's a lot of money and a lot of term for someone with major health risks—especially when it won't kick in until he's 29—yet it all feels entirely worth it given his gargantuan two-way impact.
If Embiid is healthy, the Sixers are probably contending. There's a good chance that remains true for the life of this deal, so Philly made the right call to sign it.
Re-Signing Danny Green
He matched his career-high with 2.5 threes per game and converted them at a 40.5 percent clip. He was especially lethal from the corners, which paid obvious dividends as release valves on Embiid's post-ups and Simmons' drives. Green, now 34, isn't the dynamic on-ball defender he was in his past, but his veteran savvy surfaced in his ability to orchestrate team defensive schemes and feed Embiid on the post.
Any contract within reason for Green seemed like a smart bet for the Sixers, and the two-year, $20 million pact he did sign certainly qualifies. Philly also safeguarded its investment by making the second season non-guaranteed, so if age suddenly catches up to Green, the Sixers can get out of this arrangement with no long-term damage done.
Even if you were into nitpicking, there isn't much to complain about.
Drafting Jaden Springer
It's debatable whether drafting Jaden Springer should rank as the most impactful decision as opposed to the re-signing of Furkan Korkmaz or addition of Georges Niang.
But if Springer gets himself up to speed quickly, he has the greatest chance to change this team. Korkmaz has already been in this rotation the past few seasons and has a pretty solidified role, and Niang sort of fills the space the Sixers hoped Mike Scott would (and sometimes did) as a stretch 4.
Springer's path to playing time is murky, though, and his game needs refinement. He's not a great shot-creator or a consistent volume shooter from deep, and those skills could have fast-tracked him to the rotation. His strengths as a defender, secondary passer and decision-maker may not be enough to help him stand out.
The Sixers were never going to have an easy time pulling a rotation-caliber player from the 28th pick, but a more polished talent like Miles McBride or Jared Butler would have had a better chance than Springer.