HomeBasketball TodaySwapping Skills: Evaluating Buddy Hield's Impact in Blockbuster 76ers-Pacers Trade!

Swapping Skills: Evaluating Buddy Hield’s Impact in Blockbuster 76ers-Pacers Trade!

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The 76ers have landed Buddy Hield in a trade with the Pacers. How did each team fare in the deal?

Buddy Hield is on the move as the 2024 NBA trade deadline rapidly approaches. The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed on a trade with the Indiana Pacers to acquire the sharpshooter amid a brutal losing skid.

The 76ers landed Hield in exchange for Marcus Morris Sr., Furkan Korkmaz and three second-round picks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. While the Sixers add a player who will be their best spot-up shooting threat, the Pacers add some draft capital for an impending free agent. Both sides did alright in this trade, so let’s dish out a grade for each squad.

76ers get much-needed shooting with Buddy Hield

Buddy Hield in action in 76ers jersey.

The noise about an impending 76ers trade grew in the hours heading into deadline day. Typically one to make his move(s) closer to the very last second, Daryl Morey made a solid acquisition to improve his roster. It’s not a home run of a trade but it’s certainly an extra-base hit to get one of the NBA’s premier three-point marksmen.

In 52 games this season, Hield is shooting 38.4 percent from downtown and makes 2.6 triples per game. He averages 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest and attempts almost 70 percent of his field goals from behind the arc. His volume and efficiency make him an ideal role player alongside two ball-dominant stars. Adding a player who has consistently hit around 40 percent of his catch-and-shoot threes is very solid business.

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What Hield possesses in shooting, he lacks in most other areas. He’s not a particularly strong defender, interior scorer or playmaker. He also has no playoff experience, a worrisome aspect for an addition to a team that’s desperate for a playoff run. Hield is far from the ideal addition — and he could be a half-season rental with his expiring contract — but he possesses an elite skill that Philly had an urgent need for.

The 76ers need three-point shooting like they need air. They’re knocking on the door of being dead last in the NBA in three-point attempt rate, per Basketball Reference, and shoot slightly below average from deep. Even with Joel Embiid, who commands attention from entire defenses that generate looks for perimeter shooters, this Philly team is a stark contrast to the past squads assembled by Morey and coached by Nick Nurse. Their lack of playmaking and three-point specialists has been exposed without the big man carrying a heavy burden of shot-creation.

Hield’s gravity should open up space for Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, making defenses guess twice before sending help their way. Embiid being sidelined for a while with the potential to return this season makes this trade all the more important right now, as Philly’s offense without him has been a trainwreck. The addition of Hield is a worthwhile swing that indicates Philly’s belief that Embiid will return with ample time ahead of the playoffs.

According to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, the 76ers are sending one 2024 second-rounder via the Toronto Raptors and two 2029 second-rounders. Those draft picks were bound to be used in trades anyway and two of them don’t convey until the somewhat distant future. Not giving up a first-round pick was good maneuvering, too.

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The two players the 76ers traded are about to be free agents. One of them has asked for a trade from the team several times. Philly added more talent to its roster and filled a key need while also leaving space for another addition. Opening up another roster spot by salary-dumping Danuel House Jr. affords space for even more moves or buyout-market additions on top of generating a trade exception.

The 76ers maintained offseason flexibility while bolstering the current roster at a reasonable price. Not bad.

76ers trade grade: B+

Pacers add draft capital, commit further to young guards

Pacers' Furkan Korkmaz and Marcus Morris Sr

Hield has been on the trade block for a while as Kevin Pritchard and the Pacers try to fortify the core around Tyrese Haliburton. Although it’s one of their fellow Eastern Conference playoff contenders receiving the benefit of Hield’s shooting, they do at least get some additional future assets to work with.

The Raptors’ draft pick currently sits at the 36th overall spot, a position where good players like Cody Martin, Mitchell Robinson and Malcolm Brogdon were recently drafted. It’s not a guarantee that the Pacers will add someone that sticks around but their recent track record of drafting in the late first and early second round suggests the pick has a good chance of paying off. It could also serve as a key asset in future trades.

The rest of the deal is icing on the cake. Adding those future second-rounders is nice but their value isn’t even close to being determined yet. The likelihood that Korkmaz or Morris will become genuine contributors for them is not high. Both veterans have expiring contracts, though, so the team’s future flexibility isn’t harmed.

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Morris is a slower, grind-you-down scorer who can shoot threes very well but is not built for the up-tempo style Indiana plays. Korkmaz, however, could be a solid fit. He’s a creative, smart playmaker and has been a very solid perimeter shooter over his career. He could fit in nicely as someone to lead the offense from the guard spot when Haliburton sits.

Indiana drafted an ideal Hield replacement, Ben Sheppard, in last year’s draft on top of having Andrew Nembhard, who has taken his spot in the starting lineup at various points over the last two seasons, including the last few games. Indiana now has more minutes to give them at the shooting-guard spot and keeps cap space open this offseason to re-sign Pascal Siakam. This trade may make them worse now but has the potential for a pretty good payoff in the future.

The Pacers didn’t have much leverage in this trade, as it would be the last chance to trade Hield before he tested free agency. It was now or never, so they settled for one solid draft pick, two others in the future and two players who may not be a part of their rotation. Still, because that pick is promising and they made a cleaner path to sign their marquee mid-season addition, it’s a fine trade.

Pacers trade grade: B-

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