Through Iguodala's injuries, Jrue's ups and downs, Hawes' futility and Turner's disappointments, the Sixers had one constant this season to rely on. Mr. Philly Max himself, Elton Brand. The big man is up in our prediction vs. performance series today.
Check out my preseason prediction for Brand here. And now, the numbers:
I expected a resurgence of sorts from Brand this season, but I thought the uptick in performance would be a result of Collins scaling back his role and his minutes. Instead, Brand came into the season in great shape, Collins found a perfect niche for him, and he turned in a solid season.
Brand was Mr. Consistency for the Sixers on the offensive end and really the only semblance of a defensive presence they had in the front court. When Ed Stefanski signed him for five years, this was probably the level of production we should've expected from Brand in year three of the deal, of course, the first two years were basically worthless, but this is where the natural progression probably should've left him.
Looking forward, the hope has to be that Brand can keep up this level of production for another couple of years, or maybe not even that long. We're nearing the point where Brand's contract will change from an albatross to an asset, of sorts. If he can keep the production up, he'll be movable by the trade deadline next February. With only one year left on his contract, he'll have legitimate value, depending on the new CBA, of course.
In 2010-2011, Brand didn't earn his hefty contract, it would take All Star level play to justify that number, but he was definitely an asset on both ends of the floor, and his resurgence was a big reason for the dramatic turnaround. All told, a good year for EB in which he exceeded everyone's expectations.