Offseason Changes That Will Take Philadelphia 76ers to the Next Level

Michael FoglianoAnalyst IJune 7, 2012

Offseason Changes That Will Take Philadelphia 76ers to the Next Level

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    After finishing off their own season on a long stretch against the Boston Celtics, the Sixers really need to get organized and figure out what they are going to do with this team and its future.

    Although they did enter the postseason as the eighth seed, they did exceed expectations by nearly making the Eastern Conference Finals. Though as true as that is, there is no question that what they have now will not be able to reach heights any higher.

    The first thing to do when looking at how to improve for the future is to see what you have right now— Ask yourself, "What on this team right now will remain a piece to the puzzle?"

    Well, Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner and Thaddeus Young are all reliable options and keys to a bright future, so they seem like the only locks to keep (yet even they can be expendable in rare scenarios).

    Basically, everyone else is fair game.

    With many free agents on the team this year, it's hard to believe Philadelphia will bring most of them back, thus leaving a lot of open spots to fill. These spots need to be filled with acquisitions and changes the Sixers need to make. 

Amnesty Brand

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    Elton Brand is great veteran guy to have on a team to mentor younger players, but his contract is just not worth what he brings to the court. 

    This season, Brand averaged a serviceable 11 points and 7.2 rebounds per game—a step down from last season's 15 points and 8.3 rebounds. On top of his declining regular season averages, Brand was not as effective during the postseason as he should have been.

    Specifically, he averaged just 8.6 points and 4.8 rebounds per game. The playoffs really showed that Brand's last effective tool is his mid range jump shot.

    As good of a veteran presence Brand may be, his $17-plus million dollar contract just isn't close to equating his performance. With such a huge contract, using the amnesty clause on Brand would open up a lot of cap space that could be used on future key players.

Let Most Free Agents Walk

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    The Sixers have seven free agents this year: Lou Williams, Spencer Hawes, Jodie Meeks, Sam Young, Lavoy Allen, Xavier Silas and Tony Battie. 

    Of all those names listed there, Philadelphia should let them all walk except Lavoy and Silas.

    Now I know how important of a bench scorer Williams has been for the Sixers this season. However, the money he will be asking is not worth it. Meeks, on the other hand, has proved he is too one-dimensional of a player.

    Hawes started off the season with a huge spark, averaging 13.5 points and 11.8 rebounds per game in the first six games. Unfortunately, his injury came and it seemed to effect him; his regular season average dropped to 9.6 points and 7.3 rebounds per game.

    Allen and Silas, on the other hand, can serve as reliable bench players in the future.

    Allen proved his worthiness of a spot on this team during the playoff series in Boston where he did a great job on Kevin Garnett. Although many aren't familiar with Silas, he is a 24-year-old point guard with talent and potential.

    Williams will be asking for too much and Hawes has shown to be too soft to be the low-post presence the Sixers need.

Draft a Shooting Guard

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    If they let Williams and Meeks walk, they will be short a shooter, and this is where they address the problem.

    With the 15th pick, Philadelphia should have a good amount of options in such a deep draft class. Filling the gap of shooting guard could be shooters like Austin Rivers of Duke, Doron Lamb of Kentucky, Dion Waiters of Syracuse or even Terrence Ross of Washington—if he somehow falls.

    Recording a solid three-point percentage of .466, Lamb specifically is the best three-point shooter of the four and will most likely be available by the Sixers' pick.

    All of these players are reliable shooters and have a lot of potential in the league.

Trade Iguodala

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    I completely understand how valuable he was for the Sixers this postseason and truly see the upside in his game. He brings a lot to the table, and some goes unrecognized.

    However, for the sake of future and younger players, it would be best to trade Iguodala for a high quality, low-post player who could help the Sixers win in the future with their young core.

    This postseason, Iguodala averaged almost 13 points, 5.7 rebounds and 1.5 steals per game. Not the flashiest stats, I'll admit, but they do not show how clutch he was for the Sixers.

    Iguodala is commonly criticized by fans for his lack of the "clutch factor" and his inability to shoot free throws, but this postseason he overcame both.

    If the Sixers are to make a major trade, the most likely of them all would be Iguodala, and after a stellar postseason performance, this is the highest his value will ever be. There's no better time to pull the trigger than this offseason.

Sign a Free Agent

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    This year's free agent class isn't flashy, but there are a couple names that stick out—specifically Kris Humphries and Ersan Ilyasova.

    Humphries, who is 27, is coming off the best season of his career, averaging 13.8 points and 11 rebounds per game. Although only listed as 6'9", he is clearly a dominant force down low that the Sixers lack.

    Ilyasova, the less popular of the two, is just as effective under the basket and more efficient.

    At just 25 years old, Ilyasova is also coming off his best season averaging 13.0 and 8.8 rebounds per game. Also, keep in mind he only saw 27.6 minutes per game compared to Humphries' 34.9 and his PER is 20.55—a good amount higher than Humphries' 17.98.

    Basically, either of the two could serve as a reliable big man.

    With money saved from amnestying Brand and letting the expensive free agents walk, they should have enough money to bring in a quality free agent.