Toronto Raptors free agency 2019: Who in East got better, who got worse

Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Kawhi Leonard (Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images) /
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Toronto Raptors
Toronto Raptors – Kyle Lowry (Photo by Brian Babineau/NBAE via Getty Images) /

Philadelphia 76ers

There was no offseason more surprising than the Philadelphia 76ers. There were a million different predictions of what was going to happen in Philly, none of them included signing Al Horford.

The 76ers lost Jimmy Butler in a sign-and-trade to the Miami Heat and JJ Redick to the New Orleans Pelicans. They managed to sign Al Horford, acquire Josh Richardson (via Butler trade), and re-sign Tobias Harris.

Receiving Richardson in the Butler deal is a huge addition to the team. There was a real possibility Jimmy would sign with the Los Angeles Clippers or another team who could sign him outright. Instead, the 76ers got back a high-end starter who can shoot and defend.

A starting lineup of Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford, and Joel Embiid is absolutely fascinating. They’re gigantic, they should be able to shoot it decent enough, and both big-men are relatively mobile.

If the Pacers were a slap in the face to small-ball. The 76ers are Captain Falcon-style punch. Josh Richardson is the team’s smallest starter at 6’6″. The rest of the starting lineup is 6’9″ or bigger.

Defensively, they should be dominant on the glass and at the rim. But will they be quick enough to keep up with a modern NBA offense with elite-level spacing? They have two top-end prospects on the wing in Zhaire Smith and Matisse Thybulle and will be relying on both players to contribute at least some next season.

Philly will need to use the remainder of their roster spots to find ball-handling and shooting. Having an identity is nice, but playing different styles is vital during the postseason. Right now, Philly can’t do that.

74 reasons why Kawhi Leonard is staying with the Toronto Raptors. dark. Next

If anyone claims to have a clear idea on how good the 76ers will be next season, they’re wrong. For better or worse, Philly is trying something different. They, more than anyone else, can’t be judged until we see the product on the court.

Sentence long review: I have no idea how to evaluate their offseason.