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Rebounds in season opener by Ben Simmons, who also scores 19 points

Sixers Notebook: Why make a trade?

Posted by Eric Fisher On February 6

The 76ers are reportedly in the mix for several players as they try to improve through trades before Thursday’s trade deadline (3 p.m.).

The names are familiar. Clippers guard Lou Williams started his career with the Sixers. Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans played high school basketball here.

But the question that needs to be asked is what is the Sixers’ goal this season. Do they think they could be contenders if they add a guard who can score? Or is the goal simply to make the playoffs? The answer affects what the Sixers should do.

The Sixers enter Tuesday night’s game against the Wizards with a .500 record (25-25). They are tied for the eighth and final playoff berth in the Eastern Conference with the Pistons (26-26), who acquired forward Blake Griffin from the Lakers and have won four straight games.

Williams and Evans should improve the Sixers’ chances of making the playoffs, but they both will become free agents after this season. It might be embarrassing to the organization to miss the playoffs, but would making the playoffs be worth trading for a “rental” player?

On the other hand, if the Sixers believe that adding either Williams or Evans could make them a contender for the Eastern Conference crown – let’s not get carried away by saying championship contender – it would certainly be worth making a trade for one of them.

The decision on whether to make a trade also depends on what the Sixers would have to give up. The Grizzlies reportedly want a first-round pick for Evans. Is it worth a first-round pick to improve the team’s chances of making the playoffs?

Although Evans, 28, is having a terrific season (19.5 points per game), he’s not a great shooter. He likes to drive with the basketball, which makes him a little too similar to Ben Simmons. Williams, a streaky shooter, seems like a better fit for the Sixers. But how much would the Sixers be willing to give up to have Williams for the final 30 games of the season? Would they trade center/forward Richaun Holmes or former first-round pick Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

The answer depends on what the Sixers think they’re capable of achieving this season. Or at least it should depend on what the Sixers think they’re capable of achieving.

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BACK TO BACK: Joel Embiid played in back-to-back games last weekend for the first time in his career. After helping the Sixers defeat the Heat, 103-97, on Friday with 17 points and 11 rebounds, Embiid scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds against the Pacers on Saturday in the second half of back-to-back games, but the Sixers lost to the Pacers, 100-92.

Now that Joel Embiid has played in consecutive games for the first time in his career, the question is how many times can he do it. The Sixers host the Pelicans and Clippers on Friday and Saturday, respectively. After the All-Star break, the Sixers have a pair of back-to-back games within their first six games.

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EMBIID FILE: In addition to playing in back-to-back games, Joel Embiid attended the Super Bowl (of course) and was added to the skill competition during All-Star weekend.

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ROLLER COASTER: After winning five out of six games, the Sixers have lost four of their past five. The Sixers seem to go through streaks like this, which is one consequence of being a young team.

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SHAKING OFF RUST: JJ Redick’s shooting hasn’t been up to par the last two games. After returning from a leg injury to score 20 points – making 4 of 10 shots, including 3 of 4 from 3-point range – during a loss to the Nets, Redick made just 6 of 23 shots from the field, including 1 of 10 from 3-point range, in his next two games, avoiding a shutout from the field during a loss to the Pacers with a 3-pointer late in the game.

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SOMETHING TO PROVE: Not being selected for the All-Star Game, not even as a replacement for injured players, seems to have lit a spark under rookie guard Ben Simmons. Until a 10-point outing against the Pacers on Saturday, Simmons had scored at least 16 points in his previous six games.

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NO SHOT: How does Robert Covington only take three shots in 32 minutes, as he did during last week’s loss to the Nets? But Covington made two of three shots, the only time in the past six games that Covington has made more than half of his shots. Maybe that’s why he’s only taking 3 shots.

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LOOKAHEAD: The Sixers have five straight home games to take them to the All-Star break. After Tuesday’s game (8 p.m.) against the Wizards, the Sixers host the Pelicans and Clippers on Friday (7 p.m.) and Saturday (7 p.m.), respectively. They will host the Knicks on Monday (7 p.m.) before hosting the Heat on Wednesday (7 p.m.) in their final game before the All-Star Game.

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