The Philadelphia 76ers are getting to work early after a season filled with promise ended in disappointment with a first round elimination by the Orlando Magic. On Tuesday, the 76ers traded forward Reggie Evans to the Toronto Raptors for three point shooter Jason Kapono.
The addition of Jason Kapono finally addresses the 76ers league worse three point shooting, at least on paper.
It also gives Philadelphia’s new incoming coach, Eddie Jordan, one of the league’s most accurate and prolific three point specialists, something that Mo Cheeks had been denied since 76ers President and GM, Ed Stefanski traded away an ironically similar player, Kyle Korver to Utah prior to this season.
Saying Goodbye Is Hard To Do
Perhaps, overlooked will be the impact of the departure of Reggie Evans who has become somewhat of a fan favorite in Philadelphia where hard working “blue collar” type players often endear themselves to fans.
Without Reggie Evans, the 76ers will be without one of their best rebounders, especially on the offensive glass. It is the opinion of this writer that Reggie Evans played a significant impact on changing the culture of the 76ers team.
Prior to Evans’ arrival, the 76ers were horrendously soft with the likes of Chris Webber and Samuel Dalembert down low.
Reggie Evans, despite his quirks, is a player who changed the flow of the game off the bench. He would grab rebounds where nobody else wanted to go. He’d play full court defense, help trap opposing guards, and never complain about his lack of touches.
In many respects he was a poor man’s Ben Wallace, able to affect games without scoring (although not as dramatically as Ben Wallace mind you).
Without Evans, it remains to be seen if Dalembert, whose game is temperamental at best, will regress or grow. It also means that Ed Stefanski, is in effect upping his ante by placing the onus squarely on Elton Brand to return to his MVP caliber form this season after a disappointing first season in Philadelphia.
Furthermore, it also means that the Sixers are confident moving forward essentially with second year big man Marreese Speights as the first big man off the bench. Jason Smith coming off injury and Thaddeus Young are also viable power forward/center options.
Looking To the Future
While it remains to be seen what changes new coach Eddie Jordan will bring to the 76ers, Kapono’s playing position and the makeup of the current roster makes it inconceivable that a one dimensional player like Kapono will crack the starting lineup even on a shooting starved team such as this.
Iguodala, Young, and Brand are locked in starters for the two,three, and four positions.
Look for Kapono to be one of the first off the bench the 76ers who now feature a second unit heavy on shooters and light on defense with players like Louis Williams, Willie Green, Jason Smith and Donyell Marshall.
More likely Kapono will play strategic stretches with the starting lineup as a “zone defense buster” or to spell Iguodala or Young for small stretches. No doubt the 76ers hope that having an actual three point shooting threat on the team again will help to spread the floor for Elton Brand and Iguodala to work in Eddie Jordan’s new offensive principles.
While this trade is by no means a blockbuster, both the Raptors and 76ers hope small moves like this will somehow help move both of them further into contention in the Atlantic Division which is still wide open behind the Celtics.