As we prepare to feast on the drama of the NBA Finals and love the fest for Dwight Howard or Kobe Bryant sure to ensue, it’s time to look at my beloved 76ers. They have predictably broken my heart yet again by exiting into obscurity during the first round of the playoffs this season.
Looking at the past several seasons, I realize that patience is going to be necessary as this franchise is rebuilt. I’m starting to become increasingly concerned with the organization’s decision making.
What, if any, is the plan for the franchise as we proceed into next season and beyond? Does the organization really know what to do to make this franchise a contender? Here are a few areas of concern:
Head coaching. Where are they going? The 76ers are beginning to look like fools with their rate of coaching changes (even by NBA standards). Why fire Mo Cheeks only to install a non—permanent interim head coach who didn’t really make much of a difference anyway?
I reI realize that Cheeks really appeared to get his team into a slump, but I have a feeling that Stefanski had been slowly greasing the skid for Cheek’s exit and Eddie Jordan’s hiring since the beginning.
This is fine with me, my only demand is that Jordan better darn well know what he’s doing. The last thing we need is a buddy hiring job by Stefanski, who is familiar with Jordan from his New Jersey days. I hope this doesn't sink this franchise further into the mud.
Why did they trade away Kyle Korver? The 76ers are the NBA’s worse three—point shooting team and they traded away a young, proven 6’7" shooter? Sure, Korver wasn’t the best defender nor was he adept at many things other than shooting.
Every good contender needs solid, unflappable shooters though. This current season’s playoffs should be evidence enough of how important good shooting is! Was it that necessary to get rid of Korver?
Critics of Korver’s lack of defense and one dimensionalism should note how well he’s fit into Jerry Sloan’s system in Utah, where defensive awareness and intensity is a must. Now the 76ers must find ways to fit better shooting threats into a roster filled with talented players all with inherently weak shooting touches. Good luck.
Am I the only one that is concerned about the point guard position with the 76ers? Other than Andre Miller, the Sixers depth at point guard is disturbingly non—existent. I’m not going to give up on Lou Williams as a good NBA player, but a true franchise point guard he is not.
Arguably the team’s MVP for the past two seasons, Andre Miller is also mysteriously mum when it comes to expressing his views on whether he wants to stay with the team after his contract is up.
The feeling is, Miller is being diplomatic about his desires to spend his last seasons with a new contract somewhere other than Philly. Without him running the offense, the 76ers will be lost. It’s a little late in the game to be drafting young point guards unless they can find a true stud.
Derrick Roses and Chris Pauls don’t grow on trees. It's going to be a major problem if Andre Miller can’t be convinced to resign with the 76ers for a few more seasons.
Where did the 76ers expect to go in terms of team identity with Elton Brand? Ok, I admit, at the time I was excited.
Actually, I was more jacked up about the hype and publicity that my long neglected 76ers were receiving from the national media. It felt like at last a true “star” was coming to the team instead of leaving. It was a new day for the franchise.
In retrospect, I’m starting to question how deeply the 76ers management had done their homework on such a move. Prior to Brand’s shoulder injury, he did NOT look anything like the “franchise player” the 76ers had signed.
Achilles injury aside, Brand didn’t even seem to play with the type of awareness, heart and grit that made him once an MVP type player.
The one thing the Sixers roster has plenty of are guys who can fill up the mid range to rim game. That is, Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Dalembert, even Andre Miller are adept at working within the three—point line and either shooting mid range jumpers or going directly to the rim for a fast finish.
What the franchise needs is a dynamic three—point shooter and playmaker OR a true low post threat who can break individual defenders down.
Elton Brand must not have gotten the memo because upon arriving in Philly he became yet another 6’9” player who exerted little impact on the game. I realize Brand has a nice shooting touch, but heck, the truth is, if the 76ers need a warm body to go in there and jack up some random 15—foot jumpers I can do that for you for a lot cheaper.
I’m hoping that after yet another long rehab stint, Brand will be ready to return fully healthy and ready to work with Eddie Jordan to regain his true MVP form.
The 76ers have a lot of great young talent on the team. I have a lot of faith in the young talent that 76ers have quietly amassed, yet sometimes I wonder if we’ll ever see them succeed. And those worries start with the inability of the 76ers to find direction and identity recently.