Muscala Trade Adds Frontcourt Depth
Central Pennsylvania is where Mike Muscala put himself on the path towards making the massive leap from mid-major standout to steady NBA rotation player.
Now, as part of a three-team trade finalized Wednesday that also involved the Oklahoma City Thunder and Atlanta Hawks, the former Bucknell star is headed to the southeastern corner of the Commonwealth, where he’ll join the 76ers.
To complete the swap, the Sixers dealt Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder, which had acquired Muscala via a separate trade with the Hawks. Justin Anderson will be going to Atlanta.
After the July free agency period got underway, the Sixers set sights on replenishing their stable of big men, specifically those with “stretch” capabilities. Wednesday’s transaction should help the club fulfill that objective.
A 27-year old native from suburban Minneapolis, the 6-foot-11, 240-pound Muscala has carved out a nice niche for himself in the NBA. This past season was his most productive yet, as the forward / center set career-best averages in minutes played (20.0), points (7.6), and rebounds (4.3) in 53 games for Atlanta.
Over the course of his five-year career, which, up until Wednesday’s deal, had been spent exclusively with the Hawks, Muscala has shown himself to be increasingly capable of playing inside and out on the offensive end of the floor.
This past season, he hit 62 3-pointers on 167 attempts, both of which were personal highs, and representative of the extent to which Muscala has expanded his range. For context, he shot only seven more threes during his first four seasons combined than he did all of last year.
Picked 44th overall by the Dallas Mavericks in the 2013 draft, Muscala was sent to Atlanta the same night. He was fresh off a memorable four-year stint at Bucknell, where he reached one NCAA Tournament and was twice named Patriot League Player of the year for the Lewisburg-based school.
Originally, Muscala landed his first pro gig overseas in the highly competitive Spanish ACB league. He started 20 games for his team, and posted stellar numbers (14.6 ppg, 7.8 rpg) before signing with the Hawks in February of 2014.
Landing with the Sixers, Muscalla figures to vie for minutes among a group of frontcourt players consisting of Joel Embiid, Dario Saric, Wilson Chandler, and Amir Johnson.