Philadelphia 76ers PG Options: Ish Smith


I’m very adamant in my belief that the Philadelphia 76ers are a quality point guard away from being competitive. Not a look for a playoff spot, but competitive.

Ish Smith signed with the Philadelphia 76ers in February of 2015, and he ended up being one of the more pleasant surprises of Philadelphia’s loss-induced season.

Despite not getting a lot of attention outside of the Wells Fargo Center, Smith put together a more-than-respectable campaign.

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He’s an in-house option at point guard, and all the Sixers have to do is bring him back.

Although a tad undersized at 6’0″, Smith is a quick, crafty player who fit in well on the Sixers roster. With Philadelphia, the Wake Forrest product averaged 12 points, 6 assists, two rebounds and 1.3 steals per game.

You could make a strong case for Smith being Philadelphia’s best point guard last year. The word that probably describes him most accurately is ‘efficient.’

Unlike Isaiah Canaan, who is a shoot-first guard who struggles with decision making and consistency, Smith is not a great shooter, as he’s much more effective driving to the basket. Most of his scoring last year came inside or from mid-range, only attempting 55 3’s. However, the Sixers don’t need Smith to be a score-first point guard. There’s a chance “Swish” Smith develops his jump shot this summer, but he still won’t be a spot-up shooter.

That’s not what they need on their offense. Instead, the Sixers just need a player who can produce like Smith did last year.

Smith is, however, a very good passer, and it was marvelous watching him and Nerlens Noel play together last year.

Watching the two players run the pick-and-roll was like watching Arrested Development: Not everybody knows about it, or has even heard of it, but it’s enjoyable to say the least.

The Sixers big man spoke very highly of Smith, too.

“I love that kid,” Noel said, according to Dei Lynam of CSN Philly. “He finds me whenever I am open. He is the first true point guard I have every played with, and he says I am the first alley-oop big man. I think we compliment each other. He’s my favorite.”

Let’s not forget Noel played the first part of last year with Michael Carter-Williams, a player who was named Rookie of the Year in 2013-2014, so calling Smith the best PG he’s ever played with is lofty praise.

Noel isn’t lying either, as the two players certainly complement one another exceptionally well. It’s truly a beautiful thing to watch “Dish” Smith find Noel.

The caveat with Smith, however, is the price tag.

Sean O’Connor of Liberty Ballers made a good point, as he alluded to the fact that while the Sixers have a lot of cap space, they won’t necessarily overpay for a player, despite obvious talent (K.J. McDaniels).

“If you sign Smith for more than an NBA’s minimum salary, on a guaranteed contract, you might as well be wedded to him,” O’Connor said.

While “marrying” a 27-year-old, not great point guard is certainly a risk, the chemistry Smith has with Noel is something that might be priceless.

With Noel seemingly part of Philadelphia’s long-term plans, it would make sense to keep a player who gets the best offensively out of the defensive-minded big man.

A one-year deal would be ideal, but there’s a good chance Smith played well enough toward the end of last season to generate some out-of-town interest.

Despite the relationship Smith has with Noel, the sad truth is that if the price gets too high to retain him, Hinkie will let him go.

Perhaps there is a silver lining, though. Maybe Smith will consider his relationship with Noel and the way Sixers fans embraced him when making his decision. Hopefully he’ll be back to lob passes to Noel, as well as Jahlil Okafor.

Next: Philadelphia 76ers PG options: Norris Cole

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