With the Philadelphia 76ers potentially losing depth at the center spot this summer, are Anzejs Pasecniks and/or Jonah Bolden viable options?
With Jahlil Okafor finally off the books, the Philadelphia 76ers could be looking at some limited options this summer. Joel Embiid is obviously locked up long term, but both Amir Johnson and Trevor Booker will see their contracts expire. If neither is re-signed, Richaun Holmes would be the Sixers’ only backup center.
Holmes is obviously capable of handling the primary backup duties, but it’s necessary to have more depth. There’s still uncertainty surrounding Embiid’s workload long term, while injuries almost always require more than two players at any given position.
That’s where the Sixers’ draft-and-stash guys come into play.
I’m open to re-signing Booker for cheap or sifting through the low-end free agency market, but Philly has a couple of promising prospects waiting overseas — both of whom could contribute to an NBA team. Anzejs Pasecniks recently contributed to an upset victory over Barcelona with Sixers personnel in attendence, whereas Jonah Bolden has produced a steady 6.5 points in 19.3 minutes per game for Maccabi Tel Aviv.
RealGM‘s Keith Smith proposed adding one (or both) of them to the roster next season.
Which big holds more value is still undecided. At 7-foot-2 with a long frame and excellent mobility, Pasecniks likely has the higher ceiling. His ability to cover ground defensively and stretch the floor on offense has it’s perks in today’s NBA, while his ability to get on the floor in Euroleague — at his stage in development — is a promising sign.
With that said, the Latvian who once shared the floor with Kristaps Porzingis in national play is more of an upside play than a finished product. His lack of strength could hurt him against NBA athletes, both defensively and when venturing into the post on the other end.
Bolden has shown more polish at this stage in his career, with a 7-foot-3 wingspan and excellent athletic tools for either the four or five spot at the next level. He’s shooting 35.7 percent on a healthy 4.8 attempts from deep this season, while his ability to handle the ball in transition is a unique tool for a player of his size.
Summer League could also give Bolden an edge, as he showed some serious defensive chops while playing with the Sixers this summer. His versatility on that side of the ball, combined with some serious offensive potential, should allow him to produce well above a second round level once he’s acclimated to NBA ball.
The Sixers got a steal there.
Both players are capable of making their way to the NBA next season, and depending on the Sixers’ cap situation and roster setup, there’s reason to believe targeting both could be beneficial. They can decide on which player has more long-term upside while still leaning on Holmes as Embiid’s primary relief before the former Bowling Green standout leaves for more money in the future.