Philadelphia 76ers in Need of a Veteran Point Guard This Offseason

Mar 27, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo (9) looks to pass against the Dallas Mavericks in the our quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings won 133-111. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY.
Mar 27, 2016; Sacramento, CA, USA; Sacramento Kings guard Rajon Rondo (9) looks to pass against the Dallas Mavericks in the our quarter at Sleep Train Arena. The Kings won 133-111. Mandatory Credit: John Hefti-USA TODAY. /

The Philadelphia 76ers are built around youth, but they are in need of veteran leadership on the floor. Could they be in the running for a point guard?

The Philadelphia 76ers are stacked with youth, interior presence, draft picks and cap space. While their rebuild process has been strenuous, each offseason should provide hope to all. The NBA is just a handful of days away from the lottery and the 76ers are in line for another pick that should be franchise defining, but this offseason the 76ers should focus on putting able-body veterans on the floor to help this young team learn how to win, most notably veteran guard players.

The deepest positon over the past decade in the NBA has been the point guard position. One of the highlights of the 2015-16 season was the emergence of Ish Smith. The six year journeyman found a home in Philadelphia, providing a spark with his crafty playmaking ability and streaky shooting.

In 50 games with the 76ers, Smith averaged 14. 7 points, 7 assist, 4.3 rebounds (all career highs) and played 32.3 minutes per game. While Smith had a breakout year individually and brought great energy, his abilities did not prove to be enough to close out many of the games Philadelphia was in down the stretch in the fourth quarter. The 76ers blew 12 fourth quarter leads this past season, second to the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 14 blown leads. Much of these collapses came from a lack of experience all across the board, especially at the guard position.

Outside of Smith’s six years of experience, Philadelphia’s guards have one to two years of experience. Isaiah Canaan proved to be effective averaging 11 points and shooting 36 percent from 3-point range, but also proved to be inconsistent in other areas of his game. An experienced starter at his position could stabilize games down the stretch and help establish a winning culture in Philadelphia.

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  • Much has been made about Bryan Colangelo’s ability to bring in quality free agents this summer. While it may be a stretch to pull in a Kevin Durant and LeBron James, there are quality players out there that could bring pedigree to an inexperienced locker room.

    The top point guard on the free agent market this summer will be Mike Conley. The All-Star caliber floor general has established himself as a winning point guard and will probably look to be put in a competitive situation right away so I don’t think Philadelphia could make a legitimate run at him, but the next point guard up for grabs would be Rajon Rondo.

    While many would read this and assume he would be a locker room cancer because of his past discretions, you might have a point, but what you also can’t deny is his playmaking ability at a prolific level (11.7 assist in 2015-16) and he has already shown with the Sacramento Kings that he is willing to go anywhere just to showcase his abilities for better opportunities.

    Sacramento’s organization was the epitome of dysfunction last season. In Philadelphia Rondo would be in unison with every level of the organization’s plan to rebuild and reshape the roster. His mercurial ways notwithstanding, Rondo is a All-Defense championship point guard who has maximized and extended the playing careers of many, including the big three of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. Also, his experience with DeMarcus Cousins yielded a career high 26.9 points per game for Cousins. Paired with the likes of second year power forward Jahlil Okafor, he would take his game to new heights.

    The upside to a Rondo deal for Philly is they don’t have to max out on his contract because of his past baggage. It is a high risk, but the reward would provide more victories in the short term and confidence for Okafor, Nerlens Noel, and the other young players on the roster in the long term.

    Another talented but challenging point guard who would provide some stability is Ty Lawson. His career is at crossroads considering how his tenure ended with the Denver Nuggets because of his issues with alcohol abuse, but he is also a point guard who was prolific at one time averaging 9.2 assists per game from 2013-2015. His 2015-16 campaign didn’t yield the results he wanted with the Houston Rockets and James Harden, but he did land on his feet in Indiana and provided quality minutes off the bench for the Indiana Pacers during their seven game series with the Toronto Raptors.

    As a 76er Lawson can provide veteran leadership on and off of the court. The adversity he has experienced can be a great teaching tool for this young 76ers squad and on the business side, Philadelphia doesn’t have to max out to get a quality player in the building. For Lawson, the 76ers will give him an opportunity to showcase his abilities once again.

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    Obviously the rebuild of the 76ers will be contingent upon youth, but it would go along way in their development if they were able to bring in a veteran point guard who has been around the block a few times.