The Philadelphia Spurs

Bart Miadich's steroid-enhanced signatureNow that I have come to terms with Josias Manzanillo’s and Bart Miadich’s rampant steroid use as revealed in the Mitchell Report, I can get back to what I love most –writing in blogs that nobody reads.

Like Dannie, and many Philadelphia basketball fans, the ousting of Billy King and subsequent hiring of Ed Stefanski, gives hope to a fan base starving for a championship anyway they can get it. Remember, this is city that was ready to parade Barbaro down Broad Street because he was raised and trained in the general area of the city. Of course, Barbaro subsequently died.The Sixers represent the Philadelphia team likely the furthest away from a championship, but they play in a league where a couple lucky ping-pong balls, smart cap maneuvering, and inventive trades can turn things around quickly (see: Boston Celtics, 20-2).

Since Dannie has already outlined the offseason options for the Sixers – I’ll give my semi-educated opinion on the state of the current team, and my fool-proof blueprint for the future. With the exception of Ryan Bowen, everyone in the NBA is good, that’s why they are in the NBA, and there are 40-50 players not in the NBA that could thrive if put in the right situation. As a result, it’s hard to evaluate non-superstar players on an individual basis. The best way to do this, in my opinion, is to see if you could picture them being a productive member of a championship caliber team – in this year’s case, the San Antonio Spurs. Let’s look at where the current Sixers players would fit on a team like this… 

Starters 

Andre IguodalaGood defender, decent scorer, great energy guy and someone you want on your team and can fill up a box score. However, could never, ever, be the #1 guy on a championship team. Think Michael Finley with an uglier shot.

Andre Miller – Borderline. Would never start over Tony Parker, but can run the show and throw the best one-handed back-door pass in the business. Can’t score enough (see: Snow, Eric). Also, looks like Richard Pryor and provides team with comic relief when he tries to go with cornrows.

Rotation 

Samuel Dalembert – I have been impressed with Sammy the last couple weeks. 9 blocks (and some emotion, for god’s sake!) against Minnesota and 19 boards against the Cavs. However, no one with his lack of basketball intelligence would start in an NBA Finals. His shot-blocking and defense would make him a key reserve – and he’s probably be good for one big game a playoff series.

Reggie Evans – Exactly the kind of guy you see coming off the bench for championship-caliber teams. Hustles, rebounds, plays D and has a fire for the game. As is the case with most players with those attributes, he is a comically bad free throw shooter. I could do without him trying a guard the PG in the back court.

Kyle Korver – Brent Barry, Derek Fisher, John Paxton, Mario Elie, etc, etc. All championship teams have great 3-point shooters. Korver might have been the best pure shooter in the NBA last year. He doesn’t do much else, but that’s just fine coming off the bench.

Louis Williams – I love Louis Williams. I have yet to see anyone able to stay in front of him, and he is the only guy on the team who can create his own shot at will. He’s only 21, leads the team in points per 48 minutes (24.1) and is fearless in the lane. Next year, I imagine he would switch places with Andre Miller on this list.

Jason Smith – Very pleasant surprise this year. Not sure what his ceiling is though. Good at just about everything (shooting, blocking shots, rebounding, post moves), but not great at anything. Already the greatest Colorado State basketball player in NBA history.

 

Buried On The Bench 

Thaddeus Young – He certainly has the potential, but right now, he looks lost at times. He’s 19, and appears to be a hard working kid, so I’ll reserve judgment.

Louis Amundson – Looks too much like a vampire to be a successful pro, but hustles too hard to be cut by a team like the Spurs.

Kevin Ollie – You laugh, but Jacque frickin’ Vaughn logs time for the Spurs. Old, crafty PG’s who don’t turn the ball over are always good to have on the deep bench.

 

Never Signed, Drafted or Traded for, ever 

Willie Green – Has the skill to be a Devin Brown-type flash off the bench, but will occasionally (frequently) take horrible, momentum killing shots. He drives me absolutely crazy.

Shavlik Randolph – A whiter version of Josh McRoberts

Rodney Carney – No.

Calvin Booth – Billy King’s last move – and what a move it was.

For The Future: 

Obviously, I feel we should trade/release anyone at the bottom of this list. You also will have to assume that Andre Miller will be traded, lets say to a decent team for a late first round pick.

It’s easy to see that we are more than a couple players away from being a true contender. Luckily, we have some money and a potentially high draft pick. If we use the money to sign Elton Brand (if healthy) and use our two first round picks (ours and Andre Miller’s new team) to trade up in the draft, like we didn’t last year, to pick a SG (Eric Gordon, if there is a god) the Sixers would trot out, if nothing else, a very exciting starting 5 next year.

PG- Lou Williams

SG- Eric Gordon

SF- Andre Iguodala

PF- Elton Brand

C- Samuel Dalembert

Bench: Evans, Korver, J. Smith, T. Young, lesser FA Signing (Chris Duhon?)

That looks like a playoff team to me, and with a few more good draft picks and creative trades during the season, could be a contender in the East. This will not be a one-year fix, but the right moves could get us on the right track. I hope that our readers (Dannie’s girlfriend and mom) enjoyed my first post.  

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7 Responses

  1. […] be the defining time for this franchise given the circumstances explained in the previous posts (1, 2).  It will either be the changing of the tide for the Sixers or the continued agony of their […]

  2. Do you really want to waste Elton Brand’s prime (and the contract that goes with it) on these guys? Blow this team up. Trade Miller and a bad contract to a team like Boston or Cleveland. This summer, draft a true point guard (like Rose or Lawson) and re-sign Iguodala. Build around this core:

    1 – Rose/Lawson
    2 – Williams
    3 – Iguodala
    4 – Young
    5 – Smith

  3. On that team who is the #1 guy? Where is your shooter and who scores inside? I understand your thinking about not having Brand waste away on a bad team. And I am sure he and his agent are thinking the same thing, and wouldn’t take a deal from the Sixers purely on money alone. Stefanski would have to present the plan he has for making the Sixers a contenter quickly.

    Also, the strategy for this franchise needs to change and start building from the INSIDE-out, not the other way around. With your top 5 the impact players are still perimeter guys. When was the last time a team won a championship with that philosophy – MJ – Bulls maybe? Every championship team since 1999 has had a impact player either at the PF or C position.

    Jacob, if you think you can build a championship team around those guys, even in the East, your sadly mistaken.

  4. I’m assuming the team will still be terrible in 2008-09 and get another high draft pick. Maybe even drafting a guy like Koufos woud make more sense, and then drafting a PG in the 2009 draft would be possible. There’s enough athleticism on this team to copy the Suns model. I’d do what the Sonics have done: trade off all your older assets and build around high-ceiling guys. There are still a lot of questions on that Sonics team, as well, but time and circumstance have a way of sorting that stuff out.

  5. Oh if they don’t bring in a stud this summer they will be horrible – I agree with that.

    I would take Beasley if he is available in either of the next 2 drafts over any player on the board (if we nix the Elton Brand idea). I think he is the best player in college to build an NBA team around right now. Then worry about a PG if we trade Miller – Lou can fill that spot for now. I don’t think the Sixers have enough good shooters to follow the Suns model and Nash is a special type of PG to execute that model effectively. Not to mention that system hasn’t won anything yet.

    The difference between the Sonics and Sixers right now is Durant, he is a clear superstar and has no ceiling where Iggy is not and his ceiling ends at a #2 guy at best. No matter how we look at it if they don’t bring in a legit #1 superstar(draft or FA) preferably a big man they won’t go far at all anytime soon.

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  7. […] my FIRST post on the blog (found here), it appeared as though the Sixers were headed to the lottery, and the man I wanted us to get was […]

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