Each week, we'll ask questions about the Sixers to our resident basketball analysts and see what they have to say.
Running the Give and Go this week are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Dei Lynam, CSNPhilly.com columnist John Gonzalez and CSNPhilly.com producer/reporter Matt Haughton.
What individual matchup will be most intriguing on the Sixers' West Coast swing?
When the Sixers play in Denver on New Year’s Day, I will be anxious to see Michael Carter-Williams match up with Nuggets starting point guard Ty Lawson. Neither player took part in Denver’s 103-92 win over the Sixers on Dec. 7. Lawson has since returned from a hamstring injury and MCW is no longer dealing with a sore right knee.
These two players have similar numbers. Lawson averages 17.4 points and 7.9 assists. Carter-Williams averages 17.6 points and 7.8 assists. Lawson has 90 total rebounds and Carter-Williams has 93, but the rookie has played nine fewer games. The one significant difference is in height with Lawson measuring in at 5-11 and Carter-Williams at a lanky 6-foot-6.
Looking forward to watching MCW play against Damian Lillard. Lillard was the Rookie of the Year last season. Carter-Williams could earn that honor this season. Should be an excellent individual matchup.
It might not be the best matchup since it may not take place that often throughout the game, but things certainly should be interesting when Evan Turner finds himself across from former Sixer Nick Young. Turner is having his best season as a pro by far and "Swaggy P" is in the early conversation for Sixth Man of the Year in his first season playing for his hometown Lakers. With both players having an aggressive mentality on offense, things definitely have the potential to turn into a one-on-one event when they cross paths.
The Sixers have been in need of a veteran point guard, and it looks like they have found one on the first day of free agency.
A league source confirmed the Sixers have reached a deal to sign guard Jerryd Bayless. According to the Associated Press, the deal is worth $27 million over three years.
Bayless, 27, is entering his ninth NBA season. Last season he played for the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 10.4 points, 3.1 assists and 2.7 rebounds in 28.9 minutes per game. Bayless shot 42.3 percent from the field and a career-high 43.7 percent from three. He ranked fifth in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage last season.
The point guard role is unique for the Sixers. First overall pick Ben Simmons can play point-forward. While the Sixers will start him out at the four spot, eventually he will assume some point guard responsibilities as he develops in the NBA. Bayless is a good fit for this situation because he doesn't need to dominate the ball. He also gives the Sixers versatility in the backcourt with his ability to shoot.
The Sixers have struggled to find consistency at this position. Last season they went through a pool of point guards before trading for Ish Smith in December. That acquisition wasn’t meant as a long-term solution, and Smith reportedly agreed to a three-year deal with the Pistons on Friday.
The Sixers will be Bayless' seventh team. He previously played for the Trail Blazers, Pelicans, Raptors, Grizzlies, Celtics and Bucks. Bayless was the 11th overall pick in the 2008 draft.
When Bayless played in Toronto in 2010-11 and 2011-12, Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo was the Raptors' president and general manager. This is Colangelo's first free agent signing with the Sixers.
The Sixers are going to hire former head coach Jim O'Brien as an assistant coach on Brett Brown's staff, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Jessica Camerato.
FOX29's Howard Eskin was the first to report the hire.
O'Brien, 64, was the Sixers' head coach back in 2004-05, when he led the team to a 43-39 record. He was the Celtics' head coach from 2000-2004 and the Pacers' head coach from 2007-2011. In his nine years as an NBA head coach, he has a 303-327 record.
O'Brien, who is from Philadelphia and went to Roman Catholic, last coached in the NBA as an assistant with the Dallas Mavericks in 2012-13.
It seemed like Ish Smith had more value to the Sixers than to another team, but the Detroit Pistons thought otherwise, reaching a three-year deal with the free-agent point guard early Friday morning, according to the Detroit Free Press.
Smith, 28, will be Reggie Jackson's backup with the Pistons.
Smith averaged 14.7 points, 4.3 rebounds and 7.0 assists in 50 games for the Sixers last season. He shot 41 percent from the field, 34 percent from three and 67 percent from the line.
The Pistons will be the 10th NBA team in seven seasons for the well-traveled Smith.
The Sixers have an obvious need for guards. They exercised their option to keep shooting guard Hollis Thompson, but lost Smith and chose not to extend an offer to Isaiah Cannan, who became an unrestricted free agent.