Who is the best shooter in free agency?

During the 2021-22 NBA regular season, the Philadelphia 76ers took 2,608 shots from beyond the arc, or about 31.8 attempts per game.

Is this number good? In a word? Nope; 31.8 attempts per game actually ranks 27th overall in the conference, which, *spoiler alert* is pretty darn bad for a team that should theoretically have a ton of options open thanks to the presence of Joel Embiid in the painted area.

If the Sixers hadn’t hit a disproportionate percentage of their 3s, when their 36.1 hit rate ranks seventh most overall in the conference, that disparity might have seemed even more obvious, but what are the chances of it happening again? No, if the Sixers want to make sure they dump even more 3s next season and look more like the teams Daryl Morey put together in Houston, they need certified snipers who can get the job done at the times with volume and efficiency.

Luckily, with free agency right around the corner, the Philadelphia 76ers have a perfect opportunity to do just that.

The Philadelphia 76ers need to find a certified shooter this summer.

Alright, for the sake of discussion, let’s set some parameters for this free will discussion. 1. No restricted free agents, as this process is both tricky and unlikely to be how the Philadelphia 76ers attack the offseason, and 2. No players with team/player options, as they are also unpredictable. For this particular thought experiment, let’s just focus on unrestricted players who could be had for nothing more than their willing signature on a contract.

So with all of that in mind, let’s take a look at the players available in one of the “weakest” free agent classes in recent memory and try to find some diamonds in the rough.

Of the players slated for unrestricted free agency this year — which you can read about here via Spotrac — the top shooter by 3-point shooting percentage is longtime championship-winning San Antonio Spurs Bryn Forbes. with Milwaukee last season and most recently played for the Denver Nuggets. Forbes is a career 41.3% shooter from beyond the arc who can dribble a little, defend a little less and at 6-foot-2, is rather limited in how he can be used in terms of of alignment.

Still, after saying goodbye to Seth Curry in February, Forbes could play the same role in attacking Doc Rivers, but as an eight man instead of a starting fifth.

Speaking of Doc Rivers, two members of his extended family, Austin Rivers and Damian Lee, will also hit the open market this summer, and while the former will likely never play for his father again, the latter is an intriguing reserve who may thrive in a larger role without the dozens of shooters employed by the Golden State Warriors. While Lee, who played three years at Villanova before moving to Louisville, is technically not related to Rivers by blood, as he is married to Seth Curry’s sister Sydel, I’m sure the duo interacted more than a few times and wouldn’t. team spirit.

As for volume shooters, there are two UDFAs who attempted 400 3s or more in the 2021-22 NBA season, Malik Monk and Ben McLemore, who should be on the Sixers’ wishlist. A former Charlotte Hornets lottery pick, Monk bet on himself in 2021-22 by signing a veteran minimum contract with the Los Angeles Lakers and had a career-best season averaging 13.8 points in 28, 7 minutes while knocking down 47.3% of his shots from the field and 39.1 from beyond the arc. Unfortunately, Monk may have played himself outside the Sixers’ price range, as some teams in need of a talented young guard might be willing to pay more than the $6.339 million per season the Sixers can offer. using their mid-level exception.

What about McLemore? Well, if you’re a long-time Section 215 reader, you’ve probably read his name, because he not only played for Daryl Morey in Houston, but also has experience spacing the floor for James Harden. in the Rockets offense. Although McLemore isn’t the NBA’s most effective shooter, he’s taken at least 400 3s in two of the past three seasons and could provide the volume Philly desperately needs to move forward.

If Philly can leave free agency with one or more of these players, it will go a long way to solving their problems – more than a fourth reserve center at least.

Ideally, the Philadelphia 76ers will prioritize landing a bigger 3 and D forward with their limited assets. With Danny Green out indefinitely with a torn ACL and Matisse Thybulle arguably the team’s biggest trade option going forward, land a striker who can switch defense, hit open 3s and bounce at both ends of the pitch must be at the top of Daryl Morey’s wish list. Number two on this list, however, should be a knockdown shooter, especially one that won’t cost an arm and a leg. While that task is much easier said than done, as every team would love to secure such a player, it’s not impossible, and the Sixers need to make sure they’re the ones securing the steal of free agency.

Christy J. Olson