The Sixers needed a dependable, solid floor general and that is exactly what they get in guard Jerryd Bayless.
Last week, when it was announced that the Sixers had signed 27-year old Jerryd Bayless to a three-year, $27 million contract, some fans were a bit disappointed. With free agency kicking off and the 76ers with a ton of money to spend, most were hoping for a big, splashy signing. Maybe not Kevin Durant but a significant playmaker that could accelerate the three year old rebuild and help give the Sixers some wins.
That didn’t happen. Instead what the Sixers get in Bayless is more or less exactly what a team at this point in a massive rebuild needs.
Bayless is a eight year veteran of the league having been drafted 11th overall by the Portland Trail Blazers (via the Pacers) in 2008. Last season he averaged 10.4 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 52 games for the Bucks with a PER of 12.43. He shot 44 percent from three-point range last season and has a reputation for toughness and being a great locker room guy.
Will Bayless be going to the All-Star Game to represent the Philadelphia 76ers anytime soon? No. But he is more than capable of running the floor and more importantly helping a Sixers roster filled with young players possessing little to no experience learn the NBA game.
For the upcoming season the Sixers have not only No.1 pick Ben Simmons taking the floor, but also Jahlil Okafor going into his second season and both Dario Saric and Joel Embiid taking their first steps on a real NBA court.
That is a whole lot of inexperience on one roster at the same time.
And while the now departed Ish Smith was a fine point guard for a team that was in full tank mode, he wasn’t going to cut it for a franchise that is trying to turn the corner.
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The Sixers needed a point guard with real NBA experience that knows the league and the game. Bayless has played for six teams in his career and has pretty much seen it all. While that might not be considered a plus to most teams, for the Sixers at this precise point in time, it fits the bill perfectly.
Many have said that the Sixers not having a real point guard to start the 2014-15 season did irreparable damage to Okafor’s game. The thinking is that if he had a quality PG from day one instead of having to wait until Jerry Colangelo brought back Smith, some feel he would have had a much more productive rookie season.
The last thing we want is for the same situation to occur with Simmons or Embiid during their respective rookie campaigns.
While Bayless is more of a combo guard than a true point guard, he should be just what the Sixers need to avoid any chance of that happening again.
The 76ers are still going to need a franchise point guard down the road. Whether that will be through the draft or free agency is anyone’s guess, but Bayless isn’t the long-tern answer.
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Instead, Bayless will spend next season as a starter and then go back to being a backup once the team finds Michael Carter-Williams 2.0. In the meantime he will give the team stability, toughness and reliability at the point, something they haven’t had since the MCW trade.
No, the Sixers didn’t do anything flashy or spectacular at the start of free agency despite what the fans wanted. But what they did do is probably the best thing for the long-term health of the franchise.
That makes Bayless a key acquisition in my book.