The Philadelphia 76ers have an urgency to remain competitive, and whether you like it or not, their moves this offseason will most likely lead to another run toward the postseason.
In just a few weeks into free agency, the Sixers have brought in Nick Young and Dorell Wright with low-risk one-year deals and signed Kwame Brown to a two-year contract.
For starters, Young is a lights-out shooter, Wright is also a great three-point shooter as well as a capable small forward and Brown provides a defensive presence down low.
Young and Wright are both clear starters in the league, as each of them has served as productive starters in the past. Wright led the league in three-pointers in the 2010-2011 season, and last year, Young averaged nearly 17 points per game while shooting 37 percent from three-point range.
From a basketball standpoint, this is definitely a good move in terms of surrounding the young guys (I'm looking at you, Evan Turner) with shooters and spreading the floor for them.
Despite what critics may say about these guys, especially Brown, they were certainly targeted in the effort to remain a playoff team.
For those who criticize Brown, I will leave you with these numbers:
7.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in 26.0 minutes per game.
5.1 points and 6.6 rebounds in 26.8 minutes per game.
The first set of stats belong to the infamous Kwame with the Charlotte Bobcats from the 2010-2011 season, while the next set of numbers were posted last season by, believe it or not, starting center Kendrick Perkins of the Oklahoma City Thunder. For those of you who think the signing is atrocious, think again.
Philadelphia brought in a guy who will most likely come off the bench and is more productive and efficient than a starting center for a championship-caliber team. No one is claiming or expecting him to live up to his No. 1-pick status, but if he was not drafted first overall, he would not receive half of the criticism he still receives today.
Brown is here to give the Sixers defense and rebounds, and to say the least, he is better than Tony Battie.
Anyway, their key losses from last season include Lou Williams and Elton Brand. Lou's shooting spark and Brand's defensive ability were filled—or in the case of Brand, at least attempted in a reasonable manner.
Taking a deeper look at the Eastern Conference (assuming Dwight Howard is dealt), you can count the Miami Heat, Chicago Bulls, Indiana Pacers, Boston Celtics, New York Knicks and the Brooklyn Nets all as locks for the playoffs. That leaves two more spots to fill.
Assuming the Sixers do not trade Andre Iguodala (sigh), it should be safe to conclude that Sixers fans are looking at another undesired low seed in the playoffs and most likely a first-round exit. It's that same stage of mediocrity that continues to haunt them.
However, Sixers CEO Adam Aron has made it clear on Twitter that the Sixers organization still wants to remain competitive despite being more capable in the future. Of course, he cannot say otherwise, but this really seems like the direction Philadelphia is taking: remaining competitive while still developing young assets like Turner and Jrue Holiday.
Whether or not you agree with the plan, it seems like the route they are deciding to take. Perhaps you wish they took a different path, but at least the front office has finally decided to do something and has followed through with their goals.
Sixers fans, brace yourself for another entertaining season. Unfortunately, it will only be entertaining enough to get you a little optimistic for playoff time. Then, you will vehemently cheer until you are heartbroken by a first-round exit and mid-first-round pick.
It's a sad scenario to continually picture, but it's true nonetheless. Still, with the additions made this offseason, the Sixers have improved and will make the playoffs whether it is for better or for worse.