The Sixers have a record of 4-4 through two weeks into the NBA season, which puts them at the same mark they had last season. However, they could also easily be 5-3 or 6-2, if they played better defense, cut down on turnovers and shot the ball better from distance.
The last point mentioned has been a thorn in the Sixers’ side through the early part of this season.
In Tuesday night’s 129-112 loss to the Toronto Raptors, the Sixers shot 35 percent from the three-point range on 40 attempts, which is a tad bit better than their season average (33.8 percent). But it could be drastically better, especially when you see that Dario Saric is shooting a career-worst 23 percent from distance, while Joel Embiid is also shooting 23 percent from three-point range.
There’s also Robert Covington, who is shooting 40 percent from deep but is very inconsistent. Therefore, the only consistent three-point specialist that Philly has is 34-year-old J.J. Redick, who is shooting 39 percent from three-point range.
If the Sixers want to be one of the top three teams in the East, they must find some way to improve their long distance shooting woes, either in-house or elsewhere. Embiid was asked about this very issue after Tuesday night’s game.
“Last year we had some really good shooters and this year we don’t have them,” he said to Dave Zarum of Sportsnet.ca.
It is true with what Embiid is saying. Last season, the Sixers were able to poach both Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli from the Atlanta Hawks after the trade deadline. Both players were able to provide that floor spacing the Sixers desperately lacked and it helped them down the stretch.
However, they do not have those two guys this season as Ilyasova signed a three-year deal with the Milwaukee Bucks in free agency, while Belinelli signed a two-year deal with the San Antonio Spurs.
But all hope is not lost for the Sixers as they still can upgrade their three-point shooting via trade. One player who they could possibly acquire for a reasonable price is Kyle Kotrt
Brian Windhorst and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on Tuesday that the Cavaliers have initiated testing the trade market for the veteran marksman in the past several days.
Earlier in the summer, it was reported by Sam Amico of Amico Hoops that the Sixers along with the Boston Celtics and Toronto Raptors were interested in trading for Korver.
However, those rumors quickly came to a complete halt as Cleveland reportedly wanted a first-round pick in return for the 37-year-old.
This season has not gone exactly to plan for the LeBron James-less Cavs as they are 1-6 and recently fired their head coach in Ty Lue.
That being said, one would have to think the Cavs will come down off their price tag for Korver, who is only averaging 5.5 minutes per game, despite shooting 33.3 percent from three-point range on 2.5 attempts per game.
What could the Sixers possibly offer the rebuilding Cavs? Philly could offer the Cavaliers a package of Jerryd Bayless, Furkan Korkmaz, and a second-round pick. Bayless, who is currently injured but when he is ready to play, will struggle to get playing time behind both Markelle Fultz and T.J. McConnell.
Korkmaz, on the other hand, is stuck on the bench and reportedly wants to be traded due to the lack of playing time.
This hypothetical trade could work out for both parties as the Sixers get Korver, who is a career 43.1 percent shooter three-point range. And they can afford to take on his salary for this season ($7.5 million) and next year ($7.5 million). Cleveland, however, will get a young player in Korkmaz, who wants to play and a draft pick to continue their rebuild.
It will be interesting to see how things develop both in Philly and Cleveland as they are on two polar opposites of the basketball spectrum.