Philadelphia 76ers: Pros and Cons of Offseason Additions
After an offseason full of transition, the Philadelphia 76ers have accomplished their goal of remodeling a product that was turning stale.
The Sixers have had a reservation in basketball purgatory for much of the last 10 years, but once Josh Harris, Adam Aron and the rest of the new ownership took charge, a culture of change enveloped the franchise.
Gone are the days of a complacent front office, and after an exciting summer, the Sixers have assembled the necessary pieces to compete for a division title.
After a thrilling offseason, here are the pros and cons of each addition.
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All in all, the signing of backup point guard Royal Ivey is about as low-risk as they come. Ivey will bring a stable veteran presence to one of the NBA's youngest teams, and will hopefully develop into a guiding force in the locker room.
Without Elton Brand, Doug Collins will need the few vets he has to speak up, and Ivey should do so.
Ivey will be listed as the team's backup point guard, but you can expect Evan Turner to be Jrue Holiday's real backup at the position. Ivey will likely see limited action at best, but it will be his attitude that helps this team the most.
There really are none. Ivey signed a one-year deal, and his familiarity with the city and the franchise (having played for the Sixers once before) will be nothing but a benefit for a team that will be searching for an identity.
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Kwame Brown was originally brought in to be the team's starting center. Thanks to Rod Thorn and Doug Collins, that's no longer the case. Now the backup to Andrew Bynum, Brown will play in a much less scrutinized role, one that will see him patrol the floor as a defensive stopper.
Brown will be called upon to rebound and block shots while muscling up against some of the Eastern Conference's best centers when Bynum is in need of a rest.
The real plus here is that Brown isn't going to start for an NBA team, which is a win for everyone.
Although Brown's defensive performances figure to range anywhere from mediocre to embarrassing, his offensive skills will be a total liability, and figure to limit any minutes he will see.
Now with some actual depth in the frontcourt, expect Lavoy Allen and Spencer Hawes to trump Brown on the depth chart, leaving Brown in a very specialized role.
We should only see Brown extensively when Bynum gets in early foul trouble.
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Like the additions of Kwame Brown and Royal Ivey, trading for Dorell Wright is a fairly low-risk move for the 76ers. Wright is a proven scorer, and he's an above-average threat from beyond the three-point line.
Wright's best season came in 2010-11 with the Golden State Warriors, when he started and played in all 82 games, averaging 16.4 points and 5.3 rebounds per night, while shooting just over 42 percent from the field.
Wright isn't the most efficient player, and he figures to be used off of the bench for most of the season. As the backup small forward to Evan Turner, Wright should provide the Sixers with some quality shooting and instant offense, something the team has lacked for quite a while.
In addition to being a capable shooter, Wright is a versatile wing at 6'9'', and his length and athleticism figure to be key factors that earn him playing time.
The true negative that accompanies Wright are the expectations. Many speculated that Wright would come in and instantly nab the starting small forward job, which will now go to Evan Turner.
Coming off of a crowded bench, Wright's production may drop off a bit from where it was in Golden State, but his talent and size are enough to net him regular minutes.
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Nick Young, or Swaggy P, as many astute NBA observers call him, will assume Lou Williams' old role as the sixth man off of the Sixers' bench. Signed to a one-year deal, Young is looking to prove that he's worth big dollars from a team willing to overpay for his exceptionally streaky shooting.
Young offers the Sixers something they previously lacked, and that something is no hesitation. The Sixers have been incredibly reluctant to shoot the ball (especially the three) in recent years, and Young, quite frankly, thinks of himself as an offensive juggernaut.
For his career, Young is a 43 percent shooter from the field and a 37.8 percent shooter from beyond the arc. His lack of hesitation will be a positive for a team that struggled to put the ball in the basket, and his true value will likely be measured by his performances in the fourth quarter.
Young is a gunner, so the Sixers will have to take the good with the bad. His ability to create instant offense will be treasured at times and loathed at others, but then again, that's how things worked with Lou Williams.
Young's impact on the defensive end will presumably be negligible, but that comes as no surprise. At 6'7'', Young will be a more diverse defender than Williams was, but it remains to be seen if he will buy into Doug Collins' team-first philosophy.
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Jason Richardson ranks ninth among active players in three-point field goals made (1,520), and will presumably bring his experience and marksmanship to the starting lineup at shooting guard.
Alongside Jrue Holiday in the Sixers' backcourt, Richardson will be tasked with spreading the floor to create more space for Andrew Bynum, something he should have no problem doing.
Richardson also gives the Sixers' backcourt some size (listed at 6'6''), and figures to be a major upgrade over Jodie Meeks, who slotted in at starting shooting guard for the majority of last season.
Richardson will turn 32 years old before the 2012-13 seasons finishes, and he is coming off of the worst season of his career. While Richardson started all 54 games he played in a year ago, he averaged a career-low 11.6 points per game on a weak 40.8 percent shooting from the field.
The acquisition of Richardson feels a bit like that of Elton Brand, in that he's a starting-caliber player whose best days are clearly behind him, but still has something left to offer a contender.
While Richardson's contract is much easier to swallow than Brand's was, the Sixers are still making a commitment of nearly $20 million over the next three seasons to a guard on the wrong side of 30.
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The addition of Andrew Bynum has been discussed at length, and really, what else is there to say? Bynum's potential to rack up All-Star-caliber numbers in Philadelphia is massive, and he figures to be given every opportunity to be the team's offensive centerpiece.
Bynum is coming off of the best season of his career, having averaged 18.7 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in 2011-12. Now the first option on a team that lacks star power, Bynum will likely approach averages of 22 points and 12 rebounds per game.
There are two major drawbacks to adding Bynum. Neither is a definite, but both have the potential to wreak havoc on the franchise.
The first is Bynum's injury history. His knees are shoddy, and although he played in 60 games a year ago, there's always the chance the added wear and tear on his joints becomes too much.
The second is his maturity. Bynum was visibly upset several times during his tenure in Los Angeles, but many speculated that was because he wasn't being treated like a superstar. Now, all eyes are on Bynum, and he will need to calculate the pros and cons of each and every move he makes in one of the nation's most critical media markets.
Ideally, none of these issues will become a major distraction, but they're legitimate concerns that have fans anxious as the Bynum era begins.