What Pathway Should the Philadelphia 76ers Take?

Doug DonofrioCorrespondent IJune 20, 2009

PHILADELPHIA - APRIL 26:  Thaddeus Young #21 of the Philadelphia 76ers reacts against the Orlando Magic during Game Four of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the 2009 NBA Playoffs at the Wachovia Center on April 26, 2009 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Orlando defeated Philadelphia 84-81 to even the series at 2 games each. 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 Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)

The 2009-2010 version of the Philadelphia 76ers and beyond. That is the mystery each and every fan of this basketball team is asking themselves. What will this team look like this year and several years to come? What should this team look like this year and several years to come?

As a professional team sports theorist I will share my views on many topics in this editorial as it relates to the 76ers. I will look at as many aspects as I can, so you the reader may have a better understanding of how this basketball team may get to the next level.

We will look at team chemistry, synergy, the upcoming draft, pending free agency, possible trades and deals worth exploring, as well as Eddie Jordan's Princeton offense.

Sit back and enjoy, crack open your favorite beverage and put your feet up.

THE INCUMBENT ROSTER: 2009-2010-June 20, 2009

As I sit here in my living room and look at the Philadelphia 76ers roster I cringe with fear and trepidation, and at the same time I see a very bright light in the distance. I see a talent-laden young nucleus with Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Marreesse Speights, and Jason Smith. Each of these core players is team oriented with an eye to the future.

Isn't that what all championship caliber teams begin with; a young core with which to build around, adding complementary pieces along the way until just the right ingredients have been established along with just the right chemistry, coaching, and role clarity. Well Isn't it?

Yes, that's an accurate assessment. You build with a strong young core which is  based on your philosophy, principles, and rudimentary ideals. I believe the 76ers are on the right track here with those four players I mentioned above.

The rest of the roster is where I cringe. I see Elton Brand trying to adjust and adapt too much instead of just playing to his strengths; of course he has to stay healthy. His contract is not favorable to move right now, so he has to fit at least in the short term.

Willie Green is a fine young man; but does not blend well here. I think the front office should look to move him at some point soon, and reevaluate the depth at this position. Royal Ivey opted out doing the Sixers a favor in the process. Dalembert must be moved; he does not fit the Princeton offense, he and the Sixers both know this.

Kareem Rush, Theo Ratliff, and Donyell, Marshall are all unrestricted and should part ways; although Marshall would be a nice fit here as a spot shooter. Andre Miller should not be resigned, but allowed to go elsewhere where he may have a more immediate chance to win a championship. The Sixers need a fresh face with which to work.

Kapono is good piece; the Sixers did well to acquire him as long as he is utilized to maximize his strengths and contribute to the greater whole of the team. Louis Williams is the enigma I am not certain of. I believe that he is talented, but there are too many flaws in his game right now to pencil him as one of my core guys.

With a new contract last year the Sixers may again be in a unenviable position of trying to trade Lou. So, here we are with seven players that I would be comfortable with going into the 2009 NBA draft with. That would be: Iguodala, Young, Speights, Smith, Brand, Kapono, and Williams.

2009 NBA Draft:

We are less than a week away from the draft and I am awfully excited. I have researched many of the players available for countless hours, and have some thoughts as it pertains to the 76ers. Given what I have stated above and where they select, there are some options I would consider.

If I was in the war room Thursday evening June 25, I am doing everything in my power to trade the pick and move down so I can acquire two pieces instead of the alotted one at 17.

With many of the players ranked between 13-27 there is very little difference in talent from the bigs to the guards.

Of the guards whom I like in Maynor, Teague, Lawson, Williams, Henderson, Flynn, Holiday, Taylor, Ellington, Thornton and Collison, I am trading down to 25, and picking up an additional pick at 34 or 35 in the process. What does this mean?

It means I can get Ellington at 25, and possibly Marcus Thornton, Jermaine Taylor, Stefon Jackson, Dionte Christmas, Patrick Mills, or Toney Douglas at 34 or 35.

Given the Sixers needs I am penciling in Ellington and Douglas. In Jordan's system a true point guard may not be a presumed requirement. The ball moves quickly and there is less in the way of one on one isolation's, and true point guard pounding at the top of the key.

Ellington is a supreme athlete with a high basketball IQ that can shoot the basketball from anywhere, Douglas is a mature 23, extremely versatile, and with leadership cababilities. I will take it.

Free Agency and Trades

Okay, we are moving a little closer to a championship right? Let's see now. We have just added Kapono, Ellington, and Douglas to a group of incumbents named Iguodala, Young, Speights, Smith, Brand, Williams, Green, and Dalembert. With Miller, Evans, Ratliff, Rush, and Marshall gone the clarity is getting quite clear.

You tell me. It is pretty easy what we should do now. Dalembert is the odd guy out. He does not mix, and so we do everything we can to move him. The proposed trade with Charlotte would provide Radmanovich and Mohammed with either an additional second round pick or an exchange from 17 to 12 in the first round.

I am okay with this; but maybe there is something else out there.

If this trade is finalized on draft night we add another shooter in Radmanovich and an additional second to draft either Christmas, Mills, or Jackson, depending on where we might be in the draft.

I will take Christmas, the local swingman from Temple University. Now I am feeling really good...I have acquired Kapono, Ellington, Douglas, Christmas, Radmanovich, and Mohammed to the existing core minus Dalembert.

If I can now trade Willie Green for an expiring contract or two I may be on my way to something very special; accelerating my chances to get to the next level.

Eddie Jordan

I like the system Eddie is installing. It is a motion offense that would suit the Sixers given the moves stated above. The Princeton offense is predicated on ball movement with intelligent basketball players who are unselfish.

The floor is spread, there are natural lanes open for cuts and rolls to the rim. When the defense collapses to prevent drives to the rim from Iguodala, Brand, Smith, Young, Douglas, and Williams, guess who is standing on the perimeter? You got it.

How about Kapono, Radmanovich, Ellington, Williams, and Christmas. That's not bad huh? Jordan's system will fit the Sixers like a glove.

Chemistry and Synergy

Unselfishness, ball movement, confidence, flow to the offense, supreme athletes, and up and coming leaders will play a role in a developing the chemistry and synergistic role clarity this team has not had for several years.

The players will fit well together; there will be a balance among shooters and a fast break style of play that Eddie wants to play. The Sixers should become very difficult to contain with as many as nine guys who will be able to shoot from the perimeter.

If everyone buys in they will be able to maximize their strengths and minimize apparent weaknesses at the same time. A young, versatile, intelligent and talented team would be upon us. The key however is trading down in the draft and trading Dalembert. Those two moves collectively are critical for all of this to happen.

If Jordan has the respect of his players and each player to the whole elevates the games of their teammates, a special and enlightening process will happen. This process although, several years away is called a world championship. I am not saying we are close; what I am saying is that if the right moves and the right pieces are acquired we can all look back at a theorist who told us so.

Final Denoument

As we know it to be as we move into 2009 and beyond-

G-Williams, Douglas, Ellington, and Christmas. (Iguodala)

F-Iguodala, Young, Speights, Kapono, Radmanovich, and Brand

C-Smith and Mohammed

This leaves several holes to fill either through the Willie Green trade, a mid-level exception, or an acquisition via the minimum NBA contract(s).

As you can see the future is now; the core is here, the complementary pieces are here. It' up to the players now to believe it.


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