With the Philadelphia 76ers selecting a small forward in the draft, it helps the team but they could still be in search for more depth in free agency.
There is some good news for the Philadelphia 76ers in regards to the small forward position. They came away with Matisse Thybulle from the 2019 NBA Draft. Despite adding a young player that can contribute, there’s still some major questions surrounding the future of the small forward position.
The biggest part of that question has be Jimmy Butler. The two-way star plans to be a free agent and his player option on his current contract won’t be exercised. Butler may not the be perfect fit when it comes to floor spacing with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, but he’s the leader and clutch performer that put the 76ers in position to almost beat the eventual NBA champions, the Toronto Raptors.
Retaining Butler should be the biggest priority of the front office this summer. The Sixers do have an advantage in the fact they can offer him the most money and contractually the most years. On top of that, there’s been a positive experience with Butler in Philly as well. After he was acquired from the Minnesota Timberwolves, Butler averaged 18.2 points, 5.3 rebounds, 4.0 assists and 1.8 steals, while shooting 33.8 percent from the 3-point line.
Currently, the Sixers only have Thybulle on the roster who will be under contract as a small forward. The senior was considered one of best defenders in the whole 2019 NBA Draft. In his last season at Washington, he averaged 9.1 points, 3.1 rebounds, 2.1 assists, 3.5 steals and 2.3 blocks. While he struggled from the 3-point line this past season, for his college career he shot 35.8 percent from downtown.
Last season, the Sixers also had wings James Ennis, Furkan Korkmaz and Jonathon Simmons man the position at the end the year. Simmons was a part of a draft trade that sent him to the Washington Wizards, so he’s not a factor in next year’s depth chart. Both Ennis and Korkmaz will be free agents this summer and it’s unclear if they return next season.
All three also filled depth at the shooting guard spot and I wrote about there contributions in the three free agent targets at shooting guard in the article. Other player that manned the position before being traded was Robert Covington. He’s regarded as one of the best defenders in the NBA and averaged 11.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.8 blocks, while shooting 39.0 percent from downtown with the Sixers before being traded to the Timberwolves.
Assuming the Sixers are able to get Butler to re-sign with the franchise, Philly will need to solidify the tale end of the bench. This list of free agents here is formed under the assumption that the 76ers can retain Butler.