I figured I'd give you a couple of stream-of-consciousness thoughts to kick off this beautiful Tuesday morning. After the jump, I'll lay out the blueprint for an ideal player for the Sixers to land, then hopefully find a guy who could fit the bill on the cheap, then we'll talk about some very, very bad rumors floating around.
We have to face facts. We've gone over the ideal situations, from trading up to sign-and-trade scenarios, to unloading Dalembert in a deal to land a shooting guard. The fact of the matter is, the Sixers have their offensive core. They have the three guys who will take the bulk of their shots and dominate the ball on offense. That's the role Brand, Iguodala and Thad will play on this team, no matter what positions they wind up playing. While it would be great to add Ben Gordon as a shooting guard, it's not vital to the success of the team. In fact, it may even be superfluous. What the Sixers really need is a guy who can hit the three and defend. That's it. They don't need a dynamic scorer. They don't need a point who can break down the defense at will. They need a guy who can stretch the floor and help space the floor so the big three can go to work. Preferably, they'll be able to find two of these guys. In a nutshell, they need Raja Bell, circa 2006. Bell did little more than lock down the opposing team's best guard and shoot 40% plus from beyond the arc.
The question becomes, how do you find a guy like Bell? He started out with the Sixers, if you can believe it, and when Larry Brown grew tired of him, he made stops in Dallas and Utah before finding himself in Phoenix. Ironically, Brown was able to make a controversial trade with the Suns this past season to obtain the services of Bell once again.
I'm not proposing the Sixers trade for Bell, although that's not a horrible idea, instead, I'd like to see them try to develop a Raja of their own. Instead of using the minimum to bring a guy like Rush, I'd like to see them take a shot on a young, hungry guy who has the ability to defend, and the disposition to thrive in a situation where he's going to be little more than a decoy for the most part on offense, until the defense forgets about him, then he's a dagger thrower from deep.
Looking at comps on Basketball-Reference.com I came up with a couple names, one we're very familiar with in Rodney Carney. When given the chance to play last season, Carney performed pretty well for Minnesota. Couple that with his strong finish here in Philly in '07-08 and well, I think he's worth a shot for the minimum. A potential trade target could be Arron Afflalo. Jordan Farmar and Shannon Brown are two guys on the Lakers who could fit the bill. Golden State has a number of players: Marco Belinelli, Kelenna Azubuike, C.J. Watson and Anthony Morrow. Kyle Weaver is a possibility as well.
If you dig through the rosters around the league, it shouldn't be hard to find young guys with the potential to excel in this role. I'm still firmly planted in the trade-up-for-Stephen-Curry camp, but I'm less enthused about the possibility that the team may use the full MLE to get another shooter. I say you dig through the bargain bin and find an able-bodied defender who has shown he can at least shoot in the mid-thirties from three, get him minutes, and high-quality looks from deep and maybe you catch lightning in a bottle. Worst-case, you've added a perimeter defender to the roster at a bargain price. Even if the Sixers strike gold in the draft, they're going to need depth at the guard positions.
Let me know if you guys can think of any other candidates to play the Raja role for the Sixers this season.
My IQ drops with every word I read: I'd like you guys to check out this "rumor" from Slam Online, and then the comment string which follows. Apparently this guy's "sources" have told him the Cavs are preparing a two-year offer to Rasheed Wallace for about $10M per year. If that falls through, then they may sign-and-trade for Zach Randolph. Only a few problems with this guy's sources: (1) Cleveland is over the cap, with no hopes of getting $10M under the cap to make such an offer to Rasheed. (2) Zach Randolph has three years remaining on his deal, so I'm not sure how you could sign-and-trade for him. If you want to give the writer the benefit of the doubt, possibly he's saying the Cavs will sign Wally and Varejao and then package them for Randolph...Oh forget it. This writer is a moron, but he's a perfect fit for his audience if you read the comments.