The Sixers begin their two-game road trip tonight in Minnesota against a much improved T-Wolves squad. Minny should be much, much better than their 10-11 record. They sport the #7 defense in the league, and they're #11 on the offensive end. This one shouldn't be close.
When you look at their roster, it's pretty amazing the T-Wolves are as good on the defensive end as they are. Kevin Martin is having an unbelievable year - getting to the line 7+ times/game, taking a bunch of threes and hitting at over 40%. Rubio still can't shoot, but he does everything else well. Pekovic is a beast on the offensive glass, and most of his game is generated from his bull in a china shop approach, very effective. And finally, Kevin Love.
Let's forget the game. The Sixers are probably going to lose. That's pretty much all that needs to be said. Let's talk about the future, or at least what I'd do with this roster. My starting point is MCW and Noel. No one else on the roster matters beyond the return they could bring in trades. Thad might factor in, but he'd have to be the sixth man if the plan falls into place.
With a foundation of MCW and Noel, I'm going to build on their strengths. I'm going to use the draft to put together a roster of long, athletic guys who can play disruptive defense. The ideal scenario in the draft for me is Wiggins with our pick and then Noah Vonleh with the Pelicans pick. With those four guys, you've got the foundation of a defensive dynamo. Length and athleticism at four positions, enough to allow for a swarming, switching, helping defense to pressure teams all over the floor, cover mistakes, take risks, cause turnovers and get the ball in the open floor for easy transition hoops.
The hope is Wiggins will turn into the lead dog on the offensive end, and the odds are in his favor I think, but there's still a missing ingredient. This fictional team will only be complete when Kevin Love opts out of his final year in Minnesota and signs a max deal to come to Philly in the summer of 2015. Add Love to the mix and you've got the best stretch four in the league, a guy who gets you 23 efficient points every night, gets to the line a ton, and absolutely dominates the glass on both ends of the floor. MCW at the point, Wiggins at the two, Vonleh at the three, Love at the four and Noel at the five. That's my lineup on opening night of the 2015-2016 season. Or that's the dream anyway. The nightmare involves the Sixers re-signing Turner.
The tip is at 8pm. I won't be around for the game, enjoy it if you are.