To Win, Philadelphia 76ers Must Land Brand

Ian ThomasCorrespondent IJune 14, 2008

Mr. Stefanski, you seem like a swell guy and a competent GM, but you need a little help.

So, I am going to tell you this once, and only once. It's probably the only way your Sixers will be able to compete for a title in the next decade or so.

Sign Elton Brand. It's that simple.

When your only inside threats are Sammy "String bean" Dalembert and Reggie "dead weight" Evans, you simply can't compete. I don't care how fast, agile and youthful the rest of the core is, winning teams have to bang a little.

Well, Sir Elton bangs a lot. In the paint, around the paint, and probably in the parking lot. He'll mean a lot to the franchise (ticket sales) in general. He's 6'8", 255 pounds of pure revenue.

Not to mention he can score. The Los Angeles Clippers career 20.3 ppg average is astounding for any player, let alone a meaty power forward. He can also clean the glass, averageing 10.2 rebounds per game career wise. That double-double would look awfully pretty next to the freak potential of Thad Young and Andre Iguodala, wouldn't it?

Elton can also be the face of a franchise that absolutely needs one since the departure of Allen Iverson. Yes, Young and Iguodala are nice players, and will continue to get better and better, but neither are bona-fide All-Stars or number one guys for a good team. Brand is both. The former first overall selection in 1999 knows how to operate with the weight of the world on his back.

Sure, there's the achilles injury that limited Brand to eight games last season. Big-time leg injuries to basketball players can simply never be overlooked, and it's definitely a factor in his sign ability. But in those eight games, Brand averaged 17.6 points and 8 boards, proving that he still remembers how to play.

Remember, you can't teach big, and you also can't teach tough.

He has the resume that will satisfy the most rabid Philly fan: a two-time All Star, the 2000 co-Rookie of the Year, a member of the 2006 All-NBA 2nd Team. The former Duke Blue Devil also received the Naismith College Player of the Year award in 1999 as a sophomore, and, in 2006, was given the NBA Sportsmanship Award. Not exactly the next Iverson in Philadelphia.

Imagine this scenario: It's late May, and the 76ers are facing the Boston Celtics for the East chamionship (Hello, late '60s-'70s!). The score is close in the 4th quarter of game 7, but the Sixers have the ball. Andre Miller drives, finding an open Iguodala on the wing. He fakes the shot, drives in, and dishes the ball to--who else--league MVP Elton Brand (hey, it could happen). Brand slams it home, the Sixers win the game, and the stunned Boston crowd watches Philly's finest celebrate their first Eastern Conference Championship since 2001.

It might not happen that way, but signing Brand makes it a whole lot more likely.

Of course, this article is rendered moot if Elton doesn't opt out of his 6-year, $82 million deal he signed with the Clippers in 2003. And he might not.

There's plenty to do in L.A. Cruise Sunset Boulevard, surf, enjoy the fine dining, admire all the beautiful bikini-clad women--that would keep any sane man from leaving. But there are things for Elton to do in Philly too, like...oh, I don't know, MAKE THE PLAYOFFS ONCE IN A WHILE.

Big Brand, you can't pass that up, can you? And Sixers, you can't possibly let him sign elsewhere. It might take a lot of money to ink him, but signing the big, tough, dependable Power Forward is our only sure shot at true contention.

So, Mr. Stefanski, as you see, it's a match made in heaven. Or at least South Philly.