The Philadelphia 76ers are in a unique position…..they’re good enough to beat most teams (as they sit 1st in the Atlantic Division) but not good enough to be considered serious title contenders.
This is a team that doesn’t have much growth left in them. Sure, young guard Jrue Holiday and rookie center Nikola Vucevic have room for improvement…but is that enough to put them over the top in the coming years? They won’t be getting another lottery pick anytime soon with the record they have.
The franchise has a tough decision…do they try and make a big splash before the trade deadline (March 15th) in order to make a serious run this year or just wait and see how this group does in the playoffs (again)?
I think the time is now.
Elton Brand, despite his max contract, is having a very respectable year. But he’s no longer the low post threat he used to be. This team needs a ‘bigman’ that can draw the defense’s attention away from Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, and Lou Williams on the perimeter. It may be time to give up one of the team’s perimeter studs in order to improve interior scoring. Second-year guard Evan Turner is the first name that comes to mind.
The Chicago Bulls game this past Sunday showed us something. The Bulls trailed most of the game but then wore the 76ers down in the 2nd half, defensively. The Sixers couldn’t score in the 4th quarter once Chicago stopped turning the ball over and started to take good shots (i.e.- playoff basketball). If they aren’t getting out in the open court, the Philly offense makes Mike Brown‘s Lakers look like Pat Riley‘s.
The 76ers expressed interest in Amar’e Stoudemire earlier this year, whose stock is down this season. But what about the Utah Jazz? they have a bunch of young ‘bigs’, behind star Al Jefferson…..Paul Millsap is an All-Star caliber player that could be had for a reasonable price (making $6.7 million this season and $7.2M the next). He would really fit the blue collar attitude in Philadelphia. Besides, the Jazz don’t appear headed to the playoffs anyways so they’d be better off freeing up some playing time for Derrick Favors and Enes Kanter in the second half of the season.
I know…Elton Brand makes way too much money to be a reserve player, but he wouldn’t mind the demotion if it meant more wins and team success. Plus, it’s no secret how banged up he is these days. His hands look like Shrek‘s.
Whether it’s the power forward or the center position, Philly needs to do whatever it can to get a serious scoring threat down low in the starting lineup this season.
‘Bigmen’ don’t go on trees, but they are out there…..GM Rod Thorn, hit the phones.
UPDATE: The 76ers acquired swingman Sam Young from the Memphis Grizzlies for a future 2nd rd pick.
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