The Sixers have a new ownership group, they sent Ed Stefanski packing, they've lowered ticket prices, put Hip Hop out to pasture and their new CEO is on Twitter talking to fans. Every indication points toward the new owners being a different animal entirely from the complacent Comcast group lead by Ed Snider, but for some reason, I'm just not sold. Not yet, anyway.
Let me be clear, since taking over as the Sixers GM, the only time I've disagreed with a decision Rod Thorn made was when Nikola Vucevic's name was called as the #16 pick in the draft last summer. The only other move of note he made was to trade away Willie Green and Jason Smith for a collection of slightly less dead weight. He's said all the right things, for the most part. He hasn't ruffled any feathers, and he hasn't made a move to weaken the roster. There's no reason to be anything less than neutral toward the job Thorn has done, at least not until Vucevic can be properly evaluated (and even if he's a bust, it's not like you should expect to hit a home run with the #16 pick).
It's the fact that Thorn hasn't done anything disagreeable to this point that leaves me somewhat baffled in my disappointment that he's still at the helm of the Sixers. It's not that I don't trust the guy. It's not that I don't like the guy. And it's not that he's done a bad job, it's just that he's, well, he's a holdover. He's receiving his marching orders from a different ownership group, so that could change things, but I think my distaste goes beyond what he's done or hasn't done since coming to Philly. It's more about what he represents. You don't get much more "old school" than Thorn. The guy has been in the game for so long, he's got "old boys' network" written all over his face. I can't look at Thorn, or listen to him talking about this team without thinking, "more of the same."
If there's anything I don't want, it's more of the same. This team needs a definitive direction and they need one part incisive planning for the future and two parts luck to reach the ultimate goal. When I think about Thorn, I think about a guy who's probably a good talker and a decent negotiator, but maybe he's a relic from a time long past. A time when he could take advantage of a league full of ex-player general managers. Today, the smart teams take a much more analytical approach to roster building, and Thorn just doesn't inspire confidence in that department. At least not with me.
I could be wrong. This isn't really about anything tangible, it's about a feeling I get in my gut. With new owners in place and a new CBA yet to be printed, this should be a time where we, as Sixers fans, feel anything can happen. We should feel like this is the start of a new journey with a new plan in place. For some reason when I see this video, with Thorn and Collins talking about their players, I just don't get that feeling.
Hopefully, I'll be proven wrong. Hopefully, Adam Aron and Jason Levien and Joshua Harris will bring fresh ideas, and a newfound approach to due diligence to this franchise. For now, though, I'm going to have to take an Missourian stance on this matter. Or maybe I'll just close my eyes and imagine everything really has changed. Who knows, maybe I'll be proven wrong (right?).
How are you guys feeling about the leadership of the franchise heading into this abbreviated free agency period?