The Sixers are rolling right now, even without MVP candidate Joel Embiid, but the trade deadline is fast approaching and President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey needs to decide whether he wants to try and upgrade his team for a title run, or let the squad – which is playing some excellent basketball lately – keep pushing as-is.
One possibility: trying to split the difference.
Veteran sharpshooter and Philly-area native Wayne Ellington is reportedly being shopped around by the Pistons, and according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Detroit’s asking price for the journeyman isn’t very high:
“The Pistons have sought a second-round pick in conversations involving sharpshooter Wayne Ellington, sources said.”
A second-round pick for a guy who’s shooting 42.2% from deep on 6.4 attempts per game? Daryl needs to pick up the phone at once and make an offer.
Now, the Sixers aren’t as flush with second-round draft picks as they were during the Sam Hinkie days, but they have one in 2021, none in 2022, two in 2023, and two in 2024. That’s five in four years. It’s nice to have second-round picks – hello, Shake Milton! – but they’re decidedly more valuable when you’re trying to build and find complimentary long-term pieces than when you’re trying to compete for a title in the here and now – as in, this very season.
Sending a second-round pick in 2023 and a young player – maybe Terrance Ferguson, who is a restricted free agent this offseason? – to Detroit should do the job unless someone else ups the ante.
This seems like a solid, no-downside move for the Sixers. Trying not to disturb chemistry is definitely important, but adding a player to the rotation seems like it would have less of an effect on the overall vibe of a team than sending a rotation guy away.
Plus, ultimately, Ellington brings one of the most valuable skills in today’s NBA: a guy who can shoot lights out without dribbling it into oblivion. Ellington shoots more than half of his total shots on the catch-and-shoot, but also shoots 45% on pull-up threes.
He’s a versatile scorer who just shoots the ball really well. That is always a welcome addition, and one Morey should absolutely seek to add before the deadline for a bargain price.