Philadelphia 76ers should keep tabs on available stretch centers

Dwight Howard, Tony Bradley (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)
Dwight Howard, Tony Bradley (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers should keep an eye on available stretch-fives.

In terms of depth at the center position, it can be argued that the Philadelphia 76ers have one of the deeps depth charts in the NBA. With that being said, the team is lacking in 3-point shooting when it comes to that position.

All-Star Joel Embiid can stretch the floor at a decent rate. Last season he shot 3.4 3-pointers per game and converted 33.1 percent of them. Outside of Embiid, the Philly doesn’t have much. Future Hall of Famer Dwight Howard shot 60.0 percent from the 3-point line last season but only attempted five shots from downtown for the whole year.

Then there’s third-string center Tony Bradley who made all three of his 3-point attempts last season. While Bradley believes he can be a stretch-center, per Noah Levick of NBCSPhilly, the Sixers can’t bank on that. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand need to keep their eyes open for a proven stretch big.

Why the Sixers need to keep tabs on a 3-point shooting center.

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Christopher Kline of The Sixer Sense wrote about his concerns about having Howard and Ben Simmons (two none shooters) on the court at the same time. Having a big man who can stretch the floor when Embiid sits would be a big help to Simmons’ game.

Fans saw what Simmons could do when big man Al Horford or power forward Mike Scott was on the court at center when Embiid didn’t play and how it unlocked the point guard’s game. Having that as an option off the bench could be helpful in certain situations.

This isn’t to say Philly should give up on Howard. His defense is too important not to have available, especially when Embiid misses games. Instead, they could look to move on from Bradley or Scott to fill in that need of a traditional stretch five.

Sadly there aren’t that many available on the free agent market. There’s probably not going to be a Kyle O’Quinn reunion for Philly. That only leaves centers like Dewayne Dedmon and Skal Labissiere. Labissiere is a career 35.3 percent shooter from deep and Dedmon is a career 33.3 percent shooter from downtown.

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The Philadelphia 76ers don’t need to rush to get a stretch center. They should see how this group of bigs do to begin the season. However, keeping their tabs on the available ones in free agency isn’t a bad idea either.