Philadelphia 76ers: A dark horse for the 2021 NBA title

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The Philadelphia 76ers can be among the NBA’s title contenders in 2021 if they make the right offseason moves.

The Sixers have already made a step in the right direction by hiring experienced head coach Doc Rivers following his departure from the Los Angeles Clippers.

Rivers came under scrutiny, and rightly so, after the Clippers blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the Orlando bubble.

However, the former NBA coach of the year (2000) arrives with championship pedigree, winning an NBA title with the Boston Celtics in 2008.

Rivers inherits an excellent defensive team, that instead needs plenty of work on the offensive end.

The team is currently unbalanced with a clear lack of shooting surrounding the two young stars, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. 

Neither Simmons nor Embiid are considered an outside threat so the other players on the court need to excel from the perimeter.

The development of current role players Matisse Thybulle, Shake Milton, Furkan Korkmaz and Zhaire Smith could help to resolve the issue but that alone won’t be enough.

Philadelphia general manager Elton Brand needs to be active both in the trade market and bargain hunting in free agency.

Trade Options

Buddy Hield

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Buddy Hield is a legit three-point threat, shooting 41.1% from distance for his career.

The talented guard would fit perfectly in the backcourt alongside Ben Simmons.

Hield was demoted to the Sacramento Kings bench last season, hinting that he is now surplus to requirements.  

The Sixers would have to give up Al Horford, a player that the Kings were after last offseason, and draft compensation to get the deal over the line.

Victor Oladipo

Victor Oladipo
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Victor Oladipo spent most of last season recovering from a ruptured quad and never quite looked back to his best on return.

Oladipo has huge upside though, as a two-time all star that took Lebron James’ Cleveland Cavaliers to seven games in 2018 prior to his injury.

The combo guard could create in the half court when Simmons takes to the bench and provide a reliable third scoring option behind Joel Embiid and Tobias Harris.

Oladipo has one year left on his contract and could be acquired in a cut-price deal such as Josh Richardson, Mike Scott and one of the Sixers’ young players.

Free Agents

Alec Burks

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Alec Burks proved to be a valuable piece for the Sixers last season so resigning him would make a lot of sense.

Burks was one of few players on the roster that could create their own shot which remains a specific need for the team.

The 29-year-old also shot 41.6% from three-point range which is another area of weakness in Philadelphia.

The veteran guard will have options but his talents shouldn’t cost too much to secure.

DJ Augustin

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DJ Augustin would be a solid backup point guard for the Philadelphia 76ers.

Augustin spent a couple of seasons starting in Orlando, but recently got moved to the bench in place of Markelle Fultz.

The journeyman is a reliable playmaker and decent three-point shooter, meaning he can contribute on and off-ball.

With the Lakers reportedly interested, signing Augustin may present a challenge but not one that is impossible by any means.