Sixers GM: Kapono will help fix shooting woes

June 10, 2009 12:53:57 PM PDT
After the Philadelphia 76ers finished last in the league 3-point shooting, general manager Ed Stefanski had to do something. So he went out and got one of the best shooters in the NBA.

A day after trading for Jason Kapono, whose .454 career 3-point shooting percentage is tied for first in league history with Steve Kerr, Stefanski said the newest Sixer will immediately help his team.

"We've been sorely missing a player like this," Stefanski said Wednesday. "He gives us a threat out there and you have to respect him."

The 76ers acquired Kapono from Toronto for power forward Reggie Evans on Tuesday. Both players must pass physicals for the trade to be completed.

Stefanski said he had been trying to upgrade the 76ers' shooting since being eliminated in the first round of the playoffs by the Orlando Magic. Adding Kapono should give the Sixers the kind of shooter they have lacked since trading Kyle Korver in 2007.

Last year, the 76ers shot a miserable 31.8 percent from beyond the arc. Kapono made 42.8 percent of his 3-pointers last season while averaging 8.2 points and 2 rebounds per game for the Raptors.

"Elton (Brand) texted me," Stefanski said. "He's very happy to get him. Andre (Iguodala) is very happy. He feels it will clear lanes for him."

The 76ers, who have the 17th pick in the June 25 draft, will hold a pre-draft workout Thursday including two players with local ties, Temple's Dionte Christmas and North Carolina's Wayne Ellington, who played high school ball at Episcopal Academy, just down the street from the team's practice facility.

Also among the attendees will be UCLA point guard Darren Collison. With Andre Miller a free agent, the Sixers could be considering a point guard in the draft.

The Sixers also got some encouraging news Wednesday about center Jason Smith, who tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee in August. Smith has been cleared to return to the court without any limitations.

Smith appeared in 76 games as a rookie during the 2007-08 season, averaging 4.5 points and 3 rebounds in 14.6 minutes per game.

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