Philadelphia 76ers: Steps the Team Must Take to Build on 2011-12 Season
Some would find it hard to believe that the Philadelphia 76ers made the playoffs this season, let alone defeating the number one team in the conference, the Chicago Bulls, in only six games to win the first round. The 76ers are only the fifth No. 8 seed to win a first-round series against a No. 1 seed.
Unfortunately, the Boston Celtics were too much for Philadelphia and defeated them in seven games.
The 76ers come fully loaded with a talented team and here are a few steps the team must take in order to be ready for another playoff run in the 2012-2013 season.
Trust Doug Collins
Doug Collins fits perfectly in Philadelphia. A former 76er and four-time NBA All-Star himself, Collins knows the dynamic of the way things work on the basketball court.
The 76ers should be expected to keep Collins. He came into the 2010-2011 season and revamped a young team that went 27-55 under one-year head coach Eddie Jordan.
The Philadelphia 76ers' managing owner Josh Harris told Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Enquirer that he plans on extending his head coach's contract.
“We haven’t sat down and had that discussion yet, but we want Doug to be here a long, long time,” Harris said. “We consider Doug a real asset of the organization.”
Signing Collins would be the first step in ensuring that the 76ers would continue their success from the progress they made in the postseason.
Build Around Jrue Holiday
Jrue Holiday may just be a 21-year-old who recently graduated from UCLA, but don't let his age fool you. Holiday can hang with the big boys in the postseason and he showed true dedication and leadership for Philadelphia down the stretch. He averaged 15.8 points per game and 5.2 assists per game.
Holiday is a great scorer and passer. His ability to get the ball to his teammates during the postseason was a strength against the Bulls in the first round.
Holiday may be younger than most of his opponents in the league, but his talents will continue to grow and the 76ers should make sure that they build around him.
Trade Andre Iguodala
Iguodala is undeniably a great player and an influential player in the 76ers' game, but if he has the option to be traded, he should take it. Philadelphia has another great guard/forward in Evan Turner, who's a young player who continues to improve.
With the right trade, the 76ers could land themselves a big man, which should be a priority in the offseason.
Spencer Hawes will be a free agent and the 76ers could put an amnesty clause on Elton Brand, so there's possible space open for another big man on the roster.
Alex Kennedy of Hoops World says that the Lakers are possibly interested in Iguodala, but the question is how the 76ers would benefit in return. They'd have to land a big name and add depth to their roster that would be missing without Iguodala's leadership.
However, history might mean a lot to the 28-year-old, who has spent all of his nine-year NBA career in Philadelphia. It might not be so easy to leave the team he's given his entire career to thus far.
Amnesty Elton Brand
If the 76ers don't amnesty Elton Brand, they can pretty much say goodbye to adding free agents in the offseason. They'll need to decide if his play has earned him the $18 million that he is due next season.
If they amnesty Brand, the 76ers can release him without being affected by the salary cap. Not owing Brand as much money would considerably help the 76ers and lead to them signing players that are necessary to build on a young, up-and-coming team.
Brand is s currently the 12th highest paid player in the league. However, the 33-year-old averaged only 11 points and seven rebounds per game last season. The 76ers must amnesty the starting power forward in order to improve their team.
Put Some Trust in the Young Ones
The Philadelphia 76ers are a young team, and that is part of the reason for their success this season and in the playoffs. Their fight, dedication and craving to win gave them a surge in the playoffs.
The average player age on the 76ers is 25, and they have energy and powerful defense that tends to throw opponents off. Jrue Holiday, Spencer Hawes and Levoy Allen are all under 25 years old and should continue to succeed on Philadelphia's roster.
One of the key goals for the 76ers' success and one step they must take in the 2012-2013 season is to continue relying on the young talent that has proven they can get things done.