Present-day basketball fans have the pleasure of watching a dynasty approach from the horizon.
The Sixers have a nice young nucleus, a foundation on which to build. It includes Louis Williams, Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Maureese Speights, and Jason Smith.
These five pieces are youthful and athletic: their ages are, respectively, 22, 25, 21, 20, and 23 years. I am looking ahead two years from now for an NBA Finals win.
Yes, just two full years from now. They will each be just two years older, but they will have additional support via two drafts to come.
By 2011, Iguodala will be one of the best all-around players in the game. Young will be averaging 20 PPG with 10 RPG and will be making regular appearances on the All-Star Team.
Speights, if his progression continues as planned, could be averaging 35 minutes, 20 points, 10 boards, and 3 blocks. These numbers, coupled with his supreme athleticism and high basketball IQ, could be a nightmare for opposing defenders.
Williams will be the starting shooting guard if he stays on his current development curve, and could be in the 18 PPG range, averaging 35 minutes a game.
The point here is that if all goes according to plan, the Sixers should, two years from now, have four guys averaging between 18 and 20 points per game. And this is just the nucleus, the core of the team.
What does this mean? It means if I am Ed Stefanski, the first priority is to work out a trade to rid the team of Elton Brand, who just does not fit.
Then, I will try to acquire two to three players who bring intangibles, or "lunch pail" players (like Reggie Evans and RoyAl Ivey, both currently on the roster). That will free this young nucleus to achieve the numbers I have outlined above.
Lastly, I will have also acquire at least two draft picks over the 2009 and 2010 NBA Drafts; this will add to the rotation and provide additional depth, but more importantly, will fit my style of basketball.
Now, if we take all of this with DiLeo, a true genius, leading us, we could be looking at a world championship. It actually isn't that hard.
It hinges on the development of the core and jettisoning Brand, but with this plan I have outlined, the Sixers could be hunting down the 'chip in just two years.