At one p.m. the Nets/Sixers will try to avoid leaving Orlando with an 0-5 record and their tail between their legs. Honestly, I don't see it happening. They're a sad, ragtag collection of players with no coach, no cohesion and really no common goal. Now that the week has been wasted, what's next for this team?
If you follow Iguodala (AI9
) or Thad (yungsmoov21
) on Twitter, you already know they're in Georgia with Lou Williams and Jason Smith, working out with Mark Price. Excellent team-building exercise. Obviously, the more work this squad does on their jumpers, the better.
I don't know how long they'll be down there, but I hope Jrue and Speights join them directly from Orlando. Tom Moore mentioned on RealGM
last night that Sam Dalembert stopped by the Summer League game in Orlando to lend support to Speights and Holiday. He said he also plans to meet with Eddie Jordan while he's in town. This has to be a positive sign, right? I honestly wasn't expecting to hear from or about Dalembert at all this Summer. I figured he'd be off pouting somewhere about the trade rumors and the talk of him being benched. Perhaps he's seeking Jordan out to tell him he's going to buy in to the new system and be a positive member of the team (one can dream). I highly doubt he showed up in Orlando to demand 10 shots a game, but I guess you never can tell.
While we wring our hands and scour the wires for roster moves, it's easy to lose sight of the players already in the locker room. Iguodala, Thad, Lou and Jason Smith are setting an example right now. They're working out, they're doing everything they can to get better, to move this team forward. I assume the other guys are doing their part as well, or at least I hope they are.
At this point, a drastic move to improve the roster is an extreme long shot. I expect them to add some nominal depth at PG, C and on the wing. That's pretty much it. If we're looking for this team to improve, it's going to have to happen in the guys who are on the roster. That's disappointing on one level, but there's reason for optimism as well. The core of this team has yet to reach its prime and the one player who isn't on the upside of his career hardly played at all last season.
Replacing Andre Miller's 8.6 win shares won't be easy, but consider this. Over the three seasons prior to his Achilles injury, Brand averaged 12.3 win shares. His career low was 6.0. A healthy Brand should even things out for the loss of Miller, from a statistical standpoint. Whether the team improves or backslides is going to depend on the development of the young core, and that improvement begins now, with hard work during the dog days. I only hope we'll continue to hear about steps they're all taking to improve their games and move this franchise forward for the rest of the Summer.