A 5-Step Offseason Plan for the Philadelphia 76ers to Continue Rebuilding
After a season that ended in the opening round of the playoffs, the 76ers">Philadelphia 76ers are looking at a key offseason.
The list of needs includes a physical rebounder, a consistent scoring guard, a shot blocker and a true backup point guard.
With a relatively weak draft class as well as free-agency class, the Sixers are doubtful to land the superstar Philly fans have craved since the departure of Allen Iverson.
However, the Sixers can land a key player who could push them over the hump into a 50-game regular season winner, as well as making it past the first round of the playoffs.
The following article presents a blueprint that could perhaps push this 41-41 team into contenders.
Step 1: Re-Sign Restricted Free Agent Spencer Hawes
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Spencer Hawes was brought in after Samuel Dalembert's terrible contract was finally moved.
Hawes did not play as many minutes as the average starting center because Doug Collins appeared to favor the small lineup with Elton Brand at center.
Hawes showed potential, but if brought back should not start.
The playoffs exposed Hawes as an offensive-minded player with no physicality or interest to box out his matchup.
Also, the "00" really needs to go.
If retained, Hawes should still be an important role player in the rotation, but would not start, allowing him to be more versatile and perhaps getting some time as a power forward.
Step 2: Re-Sign Thaddeus Young
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Thaddeus Young had an impressive season finishing in the top five for the Sixth Man of the Year Award.
In a league that is so dependent on depth, finding key bench players like Young is key. So the market may be somewhat large for Young's services.
However, many expect Young to re-sign in Philly so any free-agency mumblings that surface about his name should not be taken too seriously.
Young was a huge contributor and played a large role in the Sixers strong second half of the season, and he will be a vital piece to the rebuilding.
Step 3: Draft Donatas Motiejunas
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If available, the Sixers should select Lithuanian prospect Donatas Motiejunas.
Barring a better prospect who falls such as Tristan Thompson, Motiejunas could be a key to the future of the Sixers.
Motiejunas stands at seven feet tall, but by no means is the dominate rebounder the team currently lacks.
Instead, an offensive skill set with a nice inside-outside shooting combination that would be valuable to any team.
Elton Brand's mammoth contract is set to expire in 2013. Even if he is brought back at a discount, his skills and athleticism are inevitably going to decline.
Motiejunas has the potential to be a great finesse forward who can shoot from anywhere in the offensive zone.
Step 4: Trade Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis
It seems apparent that Andre Iguodala will finally be traded.
After a great regular season, it appeared Iggy finally learned his role. Play defense, and play less selfishly.
However, as soon as the playoffs came around, it seemed almost as if Iggy decided he had to put the team on his back with a terrible shot selection especially in crunch time.
Monta Ellis, too, had teamwork issues, but also played more team oriented and accepted Steph Curry's role as the new face of the team.
However, the recent hiring of Jerry West could impact Ellis' status on the team.
If West feels the team would be better off with a perimeter defender like Iguodala at the 2-guard position, they may make this trade.
Both teams would benefit greatly from this deal.
Philly gets the first since Iverson to average over 20 points per contest, while allowing Evan Turner's role to expand in his sophomore season.
Golden State gets a legitimate defender they greatly need, and diminish any remaining conflict between Ellis and Curry.
Also, Philly would shed about $1 million in payroll for next season which gives them more flexibility in free agency.
Step 5: Sign Marc Gasol
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This will be the hardest transaction to pull off as Memphis will make a hard push to re-sign Marc Gasol.
However, payroll will factor with Mike Conley and Zack Randolph's recent extensions, and Memphis may ultimately be forced to let Gasol walk.
Gasol would be a perfect fit for the Sixers.
A physical rebounder who can score off second-chance buckets would allow Elton Brand to play his soft style of play.
Also, in the future if the Sixers were to bring in both Motiejunas and Gasol, they would have an excellent finesse-physical combination down low.
It will not be easy, and a trade to relieve more cap room could be made to make this signing work, but in Gasol Philly gets the exact player they need to make it over the hump.
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This would be about as ideal an offseason that Sixers fans could hope for, other than making a trade for Dwight Howard.
The aging Iguodala drama could finally be diminished for a cheaper player who would fit a rather large need.
Thaddeus Young may be the top priority this offseason as the sixth man was key to the relative success of the season.
Signing Marc Gasol would bring an actually physical big man, while Spencer Hawes could be brought back (hopefully with a new number) to provide depth.
2011-2012 Projected Starters and Key Bench Players
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Point Guard: Jrue Holliday
Shooting Guard: Monta Ellis
Small Forward: Evan Turner
Power Forward: Elton Brand
Center: Marc Gasol
Bench: Thaddeus Young, Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes, Jodie Meeks, Donatas Motiejunas
This lineup could be tweaked by Doug Collins' preferences, but this seems like the most logical lineup under these transactions.
Jrue Holliday will likely continue to progress and realistically has a chance of being an All-Star in the 2011-2012 season.
Monta Ellis should be a consistent scorer, and hopefully will not have any conflict with Holliday.
Evan Turner could be starting at the wing, and this would allow Philly to play the fast-paced offense they have become accustomed to over the last few seasons.
Elton Brand should hopefully continue to play at a higher rate then his first two seasons and build on last year's strong one.
Marc Gasol should be an immediate impact starter and Brand should benefit from having another true rebounder.