PJ Tucker, Danuel Home Jr. Are Precisely What The 76ers Stars Say They Want

Turns out, the Philadelphia Sixers’ post-game press conferences after their Game 6 loss first Miami Heat has been revealed. The roadmap for much of their season was laid out shortly after the season ended in disappointing fashion.

James Harden talk about what you want to do”whatever“To build a championship-level squad around him. While the final terms of Harden’s contract are unofficial and still of much interest, he has certainly given the team some breathing space in 2022-23 by opt out of his $47.4 million player option.

After Harden said, Joel Embiid give an unprofitable explanation about the Miami Heat role-player PJ Tuckerwho just helped end Philly’s season.

“You look at someone like PJ Tucker, a great player,” said Embiid. “But it’s not about him taking shots. It’s about what he does, whether it’s last defense or bouncing the ball back. You look at him defensively, he plays with a lot of energy. He believes he can go from Point A to Point B, and he believes that no one can beat him and he is tough. Like, he’s just physical, and he’s tough.

“And they have a few people like that, whether it’s Bam (Adebayo) and all those people. And since I’m here, I’d be lying if I said we had that type of person. Nothing against what we have, it’s just the truth. We’ve never had PJ Tucker, that’s what I’m trying to say. I think physically, especially once you get to the playoffs or the later rounds, you need tough guys. “

Add in Harden’s willingness to work with Embiid’s management to increase his fitness, and you’ll get the total of all that happened for 76ers this week. First, Harden opted out of his $47.4 million player option for next season. With the added mobility provided to basketball executive chairman Daryl Morey and the front office, the Sixers will sign two players with the right fit for endurance and fitness: Tucker and Danuel House Jr. aforementioned, the most recent of Utah Jazz.

A source said The Athletic that the Sixers are finalizing deals with these players with two salary-limiting exceptions that Harden’s new pay cut allows them to use. They can now access the average tax-free exception for Tucker (three years, $33.2 million) and the biennial exception for House (two years, $8.5 million) . If Harden opts in, the Sixers’ total wages will exceed the luxury tax and reduce them to a smaller, mid-level exception salary that wouldn’t be in Tucker’s price range.

The team is also signing a contract with Trevelin Queen for two years, which is partially guaranteed. These moves go hand in hand with the acquisition of shooting protection De’Anthony Melton in an all-night deal with Grizzlies Related to Danny Green and choose number 23.

Two years ago, the Sixers went into the season with a game plan to encircle Embiid and Ben Simmons with shooters. Now with Embiid, Harden and at the core Tyrese Maxey, the goal was to increase depth in their flanks with a physical and defensive-oriented approach that would work in the knockout stages while maintaining enough catch and shot options around the key players. Did this philosophy work, and did they make the right choice? That remains to be seen. But as the Sixers did in the end, they failed to acquire ADC Danny Green and Seth currythey made their season plan.

With Green injured, the Sixers had a big need for a position on the wing. Matisse Thybulle and Tobias Harris were the only other players on the roster who could have played there last season. But need to play winger deeper than that. The Sixers are trying to win a title, and at some point in the knockout stages that means overcoming teams led by winger superstars. Those opponents can appear in the first, second or third round.

It may be Boston‘S Jayson Tatum or Jaylen Brown, the defending Eastern Conference champion. It may be Jimmy Butler, the leader of a Heat team that sent the Sixers packages last season. It may be Kevin Durant if he still attends the following conference Request a transaction from Nets. Giannis Antetokounmpo going nowhere, and he presents a challenge that requires a different kind of strength and discipline. If the Sixers are lucky enough to make it out of the Eastern Conference, their final test will also likely feature at least one of the big, playable, high-scoring sets that tend to shine in the early stages. after the season.

The Sixers weren’t equipped to deal with those players last season. Simmons was their best bet, but he refused to play for them. He was traded for Harden, who was not a viable defensive option against strong wings. There were times early in the season when the smaller Curry was picked to match Brown. Green is a valuable spinning gear but a step too slow for the league’s elite wings. Harris tried his best to take on that 3-and-D role but was overwhelmed compared to his former teammate, Butler. Thybulle has a strong reputation but defends better than the smaller players.

The Sixers won’t stop any of these opposing stars. But they need to offer some level of resistance to allow their elite players to play to their offensive advantage. That’s why they appreciate Tucker and House Jr. with two exceptions limit their wages. Harris, Melton and Thybulle (if he’s still on the roster) will feature, but those two players will be expected to provide the best defense.

As Embiid mentioned above, these are playoff-focused moves. The Sixers have learned the hard way that one-sided players are vulnerable in the post-season period. Georges Niang and Thybulle can contribute to winning in regular seasonal games, and both add extra depth to the play spin. But the teams won with two-way players in the knockout stages, not those who could be exposed defensively (Niang) or guilty (Thybulle). Tucker and House Jr are useful at both ends of the deck.

There will be plenty of jokes about how both new Sixers players have spent most of their careers in Houston alongside Morey and Harden. They are vital cogs in a team that turns to defence, attacking 3s on attack and relying heavily on Harden’s brilliant form. Now, Sixers coach Doc Rivers will combine the new signing’s skill sets around Embiid, Maxey and an older Harden.

Tucker and House Jr were both 3-pointers 36% of their careers, good enough to be honored by defenders. Since Tucker signed with Houston in 2017-18, he has three times led the league in the 3s corner try in a single season. He took the lead NBA in that category for three separate seasons. In his best season with Harden in 2018-19, House Jr averaged 1.25 points per possession with catch and shot attempts.

Signing a contract with Tucker in particular comes with some risks. If he performs like he did for Miami in the playoffs a season ago, that would be a wise move. But the Sixers are offering a three-year deal to a player who will turn 37 in next season’s knockout stages. There’s nothing certain about a multi-year commitment to a late 30s player, even if Tucker isn’t the type to be overly dependent on his sport.

Tucker will also help the Sixers overcome another weakness. Last season, the Sixers were the worst counter-attack team in the league. Tucker’s ability to rush in from the corner will help you.

Now the Sixers must sign Harden, in addition to any other moves they make at the bottom of the list. Currently, the Sixers are valued at around $36 million according to Apron, a hard cap set at $6 million on top of a luxury goods tax that they cannot exceed under any circumstances because they have fully utilized them. enough exceptions between the grant and biennial to sign Tucker and House Jr., unless any other action is taken (which may happen), Harden’s next contract must begin start at the number below that number.

The Sixers offseason is a bet on many things: playoff experience, familiarity, physicality, and Tucker going to battle Father Time in a few more seasons. But more than anything, it can be bet that these defensive, physical, catching and shooting wings are the right players to squeeze into the middle of the main line-up.

If only we listened to Embiid and Harden a little closer in May.

(PJ Tucker and Danuel House top photo: Erik Williams / USA Today)

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