“A true king is neither husband nor father; he considers his throne and nothing else.” - Pierre Corneille
The 76ers are one of the best teams in the NBA but in order for them to truly shine they need a star. They need that assassin who can single-handily take over a series. As the season continues it has become evident the Sixers have a chance to compete for the Eastern Conference crown, but to compete for the title they need more.
Presently construed they are the champions of congeniality and are in dire need of a shot of attitude and nastiness. They give maximum effort on both sides of the court but just are not good enough. Fans from Conshohocken to South Philly can tell you the 76ers need a star to shine when things get dark. The problem is where is said bright light going to come from. Every general manager is scouring the league for an available difference makers, who they can simply add and deliver a championship.
While everyone with lips has an opinion about where Dwight Howard will end up, the Sixers need to have their focus elsewhere. The Broad Street crew cannot have delusions of grandeur when it comes to the seven-footer, but also have to remain steadfast in their desire of adding someone of consequence to this roster.
The focus should shift from an established star to a player with the potential to be a star. The addition of Howard would be glorious but may be to costly, and it alone does not guarantee the results we all so desperately desire. The goal has to shift from a big name to big potential.
In life what we need and what we want sometimes do not run in parallel. In this case we as fans want Dwight Howard, but all the Sixers need is an undefined talent that they can mold into a star that can shine brighter than the Orlando center.
Such a player does exist but it will take a keen eye to uncover him. This player would have to be someone young and unfulfilled. He would need to be special in the 76ers management’s eyes and possess a skill set that lends one to believe he can be the cornerstone of a championship team.
It is no easy task to find a stud in a league full of duds, but it can be done. In a league where scoring is confused for good basketball, it would be easy to find the next cat who can go for a sporadic 50 points but a legitimate basketball player is difficult.
However, difficult should never be mistaken for impossible. There are two players who are available that could change the fortunes of this once vivacious franchise. Both players require a squint and head tilt upon first glance, but both have tremendous upside if molded by the right mastermind. Where a player plays is just as important a role as talent does in being successful in the Association. The NBA game and real estate game are similar in location can rise or retard a player’s value.
Would Karl Malone have ever been the Mailman if he played for the Phoenix Suns or Los Angeles Clippers? Conversely, how would the world view Mitch Richmond if he teamed with Charles Barkley in Philadelphia instead of forming Run TMC in Golden State? Again, location location location, it can mean the difference between being an All-Star or just being alright.
These two players may not be the answer but they are a microcosm of what the Sixers should be looking for. A search that should have the following prerequisites; a player who can be dominant on both ends of the floor, a player whose short comings as to date are can be addressed, and most of all a player who has flashed but not shined.
Derrick Favors and DeMarcus Cousin both fit this criteria, and both have experienced vastly different obstacles in maximizing their potential. They are both supremely talented and possess the necessary skill sets to be special.
Favors is an athletic forward/center that can fly, but lacks in-game experience. The former Georgia Tech Yellow Jacket was the third overall selection in the 2010 draft by the New Jersey Nets and showed good footwork and a good touch around the basket in his brief appearances. The problem is Favors is rawer then a Spicy Tuna roll and needs a tremendous amount of coaching up. Confidence is certain to be an issue with this pup, since he has been traded so early in his career. It is going to take a few Jedi mind tricks and possibly an entire offseason to get Favors to perform at a high level.
The return on the Sixers investment would be monstrous and would give them a big that can run with this young team. Also Favors would be indebted to the franchise and Doug Collins for rescuing him from the black hole known as NBA journeymen. Favors is young and undeveloped, no doubt, but he is worth the risk mainly because of the high reward. A chance at obtaining a Clydesdale for what amounts to a few Mules is worthy of at least a look see from Sixers’ brass.
While the gist of Favors’ issues stem from on-the-court play DeMarcus Cousins’ issues are far more mental.
Cousins can be a beast for better or for worse. 45 double-doubles in 90 starts should garner the former University of Kentucky standout some attention on the court, but attitude has kept him from reaching that elite level. Cousins feuded with former Sacramento Kings head coach Paul Westphal and that feud led to Westphal now being known as former head coach of the Sacramento Kings.
The Kings center has the potential to be Bob Lanier or Benoit Benjamin. In short both could play but one had motivation and the other was just really really tall.
While Cousins is not a transition player he is more than capable of running the floor and igniting a fastbreak with his defensive rebounding. If placed in the right situation and coached properly Cousins could be a dominant force for the 76ers.
Imagine what Doug Collins could do with an inconsistent Cousins or an undeveloped Favors.
Both players would provide Philly with some much needed paint presence and give them a different dimension to combat teams who are able to stagnate the Sixers transition offense. Now it is not a necessity that Philly get one of these two players but it is necessary that they get someone.
The notion they will grab an already established star is delusional at best and tragically idiotic at worst. It is more likely that the 76ers find a diamond in the rough that if cleaned and polished correctly can light up an entire arena.