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Philadelphia 76ers: Why Elton Brand's Void Will Be Harder to Fill Than You Think

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 23: Elton Brand #42 of the Philadelphia 76ers dunks during the game against the Boston Celtics in Game Six of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in the 2012 NBA Playoffs at the Wells Fargo Center on May 23, 2012 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The 76ers won 82-75. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Drew Hallowell/Getty Images)
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Michael FoglianoAnalyst IJuly 20, 2012

The Philadelphia 76ers' offseason has been filled with moves (whether good or bad is up for debate), and one of them was using the amnesty clause on power forward Elton Brand just a week ago.

Regardless of whether you like the transaction or not, Brand's void will be hard to fill.

Brand averaged just 11 points and 7.2 rebounds. Not the flashiest numbers, so the hole should be easy to fill, right? Well, not so fast.

Brand finished last season with the sixth-best defensive rating in the league (96.2), 12th in defensive win shares (3.6) and ranked 13th in blocks per game (1.6), all stats per basketball-reference.com.

Despite the ugly contract, there is no doubt Brand served as a strong defensive presence down low. The Sixers were scarce with big men as it were. Losing him didn't help the situation.

Oh yeah, and let's not forget the veteran presence he brought to the court every night.

Now faced with the question of who to start at power forward, it was reported by Tom Moore of phillyburbs.com via Twitter that Doug Collins came out and said Spencer Hawes would move to the 4 slot while newly acquired Kwame Brown will start at center.

Yes, Brown was brought here to add a big man, but is not expected to produce the same or better than what Brand did. Instead, he is an attempt to serve as a serviceable big man for the time being.

All I can say to the new duo is this: brace yourself for the experiment.

That being said, the Sixers do also have other options to play power forward, like Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, and recently drafted Arnett Moultrie.

We know what they have in Young—a quick, athletic player who can get to the hoop, but is undersized to play the position for an entire game. As for Allen and Moultrie, they have potential, but as we can conclude from Collins' statement, they will not start.

However necessary the Sixers deemed the amnesty to be, this new front-court is not better without Brand. Unfortunately, it was part of the price to pay.

Now, by no means am I saying it was bad thing they amnestied Brand. It could turn out to be a smart move if they use the money wisely and he was evidently overpaid.

However, it must be understood that Philadelphia is losing a quality player in Brand and his former contributions will be a difficult void to fill.

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