When the Philadelphia 76ers dropped their Game 6 matchup against the Miami Heat in the second round of the playoffs, Sixers center Joel Embiid practically begged the team’s front office to go out and find a “tough guy.”
As Embiid saw the impact that a veteran like P.J. Tucker had in the second-round series between the Sixers and the Heat, the superstar big man realized that an enforcer-type of player is something that his squad’s been missing since they’ve become playoff contenders.
“We had a few tough guys since I’ve been here," said Embiid last week. "I can recall [having] Mike Scott, but he didn’t play a lot of minutes. When you have size and toughness, you look at someone like P.J. Tucker. A great player, but it’s not about him knocking down shots. It’s about what he does, whether it’s on the defensive end or rebounding the ball. He plays with so much energy. He believes that he can get from point A to point B, and he believes that no one can beat him. And he’s tough. He’s physical and tough.”
Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley put together a pair of hypothetical trades the Sixers could and should explore in the offseason. In a mock trade with the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Sixers land an outspoken defensive-minded tough guy in Patrick Beverley.
What Does the Mock Trade Look Like?
In this scenario, the Sixers would receive Patrick Beverley and the 25-year-old guard Malik Beasley. In exchange, they would give up the veteran power forward, Tobias Harris.
“At the least, the Sixers would lengthen their rotation in this trade, as both Malik Beasley and Patrick Beverley have on-court contributions they can make. For Beasley, it's a quantity-plus-quality outside shot that has yielded 2.5 long-balls per night and a 38.9 percent splash rate since the start of 2018-19. For Beverley, it's his perpetually burning competitive fire, an impressive amount of defensive versatility for a 6'1", 180-pounder and a three-point shot that has found its mark 37.8 percent of the time over the course of his career.”
Harris is certainly the best player in this scenario as he’s consistently averaged close to 20 points per game on offense and improved defensively since locking into a long-term deal with the 76ers. But as Philly hasn’t gotten past the second-round with Harris as a focal point of their team, it might be time to shake things up.
Many reports leading up to the trade deadline this past season hinted that the Sixers might take less value in return for a Harris-centric deal to get off of his contract. If that’s truly the case, then perhaps the Sixers could give the Wolves a call to see if they could land themselves an enforcer, as Embiid suggested while getting off of Harris’ contract.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.
More Sixers News:
Lack of Mental Toughness: Philadelphia 76ers veterans Tobias Harris and Danny Green believed that Philadelphia’s playoff struggles in the second round could be attributed to a lack of mental toughness and maturity on the team. Following the Game 6 loss against the Miami Heat, the two veterans weighed in on the idea that the team wasn’t mentally ready to take the next step. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE
Need an Enforcer: Philadelphia 76ers superstar center Joel Embiid believed that a lack of physicality hurt his team in the second-round playoff series against the Miami Heat. After seeing the impact that a player like P.J. Tucker had on the Heat, Embiid publicly encourages the Sixers’ front office to find an enforcer in the offseason. CLICK HERE TO READ MORE.