Philadelphia 76ers: Jerryd Bayless should start at shooting guard

Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jerryd Bayless (0) in action against the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
Nov 21, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Jerryd Bayless (0) in action against the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 101-94. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports /

After missing all but three games in the 2016-17 season due to a wrist injury, Jerryd Bayless provides a skillset that should earn him a starting spot in the Philadelphia 76ers lineup.

Due to all of the injuries experienced by Jerryd Bayless, the Philadelphia 76ers guard has become one of the most under-the-radar players on the entire roster.  He only played three games with the team last year, so it is understandable for the fans to forget about him, but he is expected to return next season healthy.

Philadelphia 76ers
Philadelphia 76ers /

Philadelphia 76ers

To briefly remind everyone of who Bayless is and what he brings to the table, in his last season in Milwaukee he shot 43.7 percent from three and scored 10.4 points per game.  He is a serviceable defender who posted a 112 defensive rating in his last healthy season while forcing his opponents to shoot 0.4 percent worse from the field.

Basically, Bayless is a solid “3 and D” guy who knows his role and contributes on both ends of the court.

With Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid locking up four of the five starting spots, the shooting guard position is up for grabs.  I believe that Jerryd Bayless is the best current option to put into that spot.

Fultz, Simmons, and Embiid will most likely dominate the offensive touches, so the wing players need to be able to stretch the floor to create space.  If the defense is incapable of sagging off of their man to help double down on Embiid or to stop Simmons and Fultz from taking it to the basket, the offense becomes even more lethal.

To prevent the defenses from doing that, the team needs a guy that can spot up from behind the arc and make catch and shoot threes.  In his last season with the Bucks, Jerryd Bayless shot an incredible 47.2 percent from three in catch and shoot opportunities.  With Simmons and Fultz facilitating the ball, Bayless should find himself open a lot more often, allowing him to continue to thrive in these situations.

The good thing about Bayless’s offensive game is that its not one dimensional.  Not only can he knock down threes at a high rate, but he also moves off the ball and cuts to the basket very well.  Using his sneaky-good athleticism, Bayless found himself on the receiving end of numerous alley-oops while in Milwaukee.

Assuming the 76ers stay quiet in free agency, which may not be very likely, the other options for the starting shooting guard position are Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Nik Stauskas.  Gerald Henderson could be an option too, but there is a possibility that the team waives him this summer for salary cap purposes.

Luwawu-Cabarrot is a promising young player for this team, and showed massive improvement as the season progressed last year.  In his final ten games of the season, he averaged 15.9 points, 4.4 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.3 steals per game.

He showed flashes last year that he could develop into a very good role player in the future, but at the moment he is still a work in progress.  His efficiency was sub-par, as he shot 40.2 percent from the field and 31.1 percent from three.  He needs to improve the consistency of his jump shot to be considered for the starting job at shooting guard.

Stauskas has been in the league for three years now after being taken in the lottery of the 2014 NBA Draft and has yet to prove that he deserved to be picked that high.

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He has yet to shoot above 40 percent from the field for a season, is a liability on the defensive end, and isn’t consistent enough from three.  He was drafted because he was seen as an elite jump shooter, yet his career three point percentage is a sub-par 34.3 percent.

The staple of the Sixers during their rebuild has been their focus on the defensive end, and Stauskas’s inability to play consistently good defense will see him more than likely at the end of the bench this season.

The addition of a free agent shooting guard would change the dynamic of the depth chart, but for now, Bayless is the best option.  Personally, I do not think the Sixers should spend much in free agency.  The roster is already close to being full, and with Golden State and Cleveland being as good as they are, it is better to focus on the future instead of the present.

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Overall, the shooting guard position is on the weaker side for the Philadelphia 76ers.  They have a project for the future in Luwawu-Cabarrot coming off the bench and a player who has disappointed through his first three seasons in Stauskas.  It would be in the best interest of the team to start the veteran three point specialist, Bayless, at shooting guard because his skills would seemingly mesh very well with the rest of the lineup.