The Sixers beat the tanking Thunder last night in Oklahoma City, 115-103.
OKC is 0-3 and not putting an NBA-worthy product on the floor. They’re basically doing the same thing Sam Hinkie did in Philadelphia, but in a much more palatable way. They’re flying under the radar in a smaller market and not attracting the same kind of national vitriol the Sixers did for their rebuild.
The game was rather straightforward for Philadelphia, other than the fact that Seth Curry was on absolute fire. He was a combination of a flamethrower and B-52 bomber in a 23-point first quarter. He came out firing early and often and has now eclipsed double-digit field goal attempts in two straight games after a passive 5 FGA performance in the NOLA season opener:
Seth Curry just dropped 23 points in the first quarter
Man hit 6 threes 😳 pic.twitter.com/UWGCIBu2z3
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 24, 2021
Catch and shoot, running off staggers, pick and roll, etc – it’s good to see him be assertive and fire away. Looks like the guy we saw in the playoffs and definitely not the early-season/post-COVID Seth Curry of 2020. OKC had to make an adjustment and put Lu Dort on him after getting cooked early.
It’s only been three games this season, but at 10.7 field goal attempts and 5.7 three point attempts per game, both are career highs. That coincides with a career-high 32.7 minutes per game, so good on Daryl Morey for identifying Curry as a NBA starter and trading for him last year. He’s got the highest 3P% in the league dating back to the 2015-2016 season, so he always justified a bigger role.
That trade, Josh Richardson and a second round draft pick for Curry, might be the best Sixers trade of the last ten years. No joke. Not a hot take. That move, along with the Al Horford trade, helped Philly move up from 6th in the East to first in the East.
You could certainly make a case that the Hinkie trades that brought back X amount of assets were better macro-level deals (like the Sacramento pick swap), but if you wanted to parse it down to player-for-player trades, this is quite easily the best one in a long time. I’d say it’s the most impactful move the Sixers have made since trading for Dikembe Mutombo 20 years ago. Built from the same mold as Caldwell Jones and a draft pick for Moses Malone. The sheer one-sidedness of the trade, considering Richardson’s struggle in Dallas, shows just how shrewd of a move it was. That’s why I’d rank it above the Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris trades, because the Sixers gave up a lot to bring those guys in. This trade netted a huge return without losing much at all (sorry J Rich).
Trades like this one should make you feel confident in Daryl Morey RE: the Ben Simmons situation. The Sixers have their issues, like coaching and closing games, but the guy making the personnel moves knows what he’s doing.