(Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
Ball is one of the most coveted names ahead of the NBA trade deadline on March 25. The New Orleans Pelicans’ point guard will be a restricted free agent this summer. That, combined with his uptick in play this season, has teams around the league relishing the chance to acquire Ball.
On paper, the Sixers make a lot of sense as a destination for Ball. They actually had the opportunity to get him in the 2017 draft but selected Markelle Fultz with the first overall pick instead.
The idea back then is similar to now. Ball makes sense as a complement to Ben Simmons in the backcourt and should also fit in next to franchise center Joel Embiid.
Coming out of UCLA, Ball was seen as a point guard who could play in transition, didn’t need the ball in his hands too much because he could make quick reads, and was able to space the floor.
All of those attributes were logical next to Simmons, who is going to play with the ball in his hands most of the time but is also a definite non-shooter. Ball’s potential fit in Philadelphia was murkier after his first few years in the NBA, but his shooting improvements this season are legit and once again validate that opportunity.
The Sixers are once again one of the best teams in the NBA after a disappointing last season, topping the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia parted ways with head coach Brett Brown after a terrible postseason and hired Doc Rivers, in addition to retooling their ill-conceived roster by incorporating more shooters.
Perhaps the Sixers see Ball as the missing piece they need to make a real championship push.