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This is the final chapter of our conversation on the Sixers and the Knicks, check out Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

SML had some issues with part 3 of the conversation, so I'll address them, in no particular order:

1: Dalembert is older than Curry (by a year), and though a better rebounder and defender, he is definitely inferior overall to Curry, right? Curry was almost an All-Star this season, right? So how is Dalembert a "building block", but not Curry?

There are a couple of differences between Curry and Dalembert, and there is a reason I consider Dalembert part of the solution in Philly, and Curry part of the problem in NY. First of all, and this relates to another section of part 3 you took issue with, yes Curry is only 24, but he's overweight and he has a potentially deadly heart condition which he refuses to get diagnosed. That is not a good combination. You made the argument that every player is risking his life in every sport, and all Isiah did was give him a chance to earn a living, but there's a difference between letting a healthy guy go out on the court and risking him breaking his neck and letting a guy that you know has heart problems pack on 30 pounds, then go out there and play the most physically demanding sport for 34 minutes a night. One is an acceptable risk, the other is not, in my opinion.

Beyond the health factors, look at the type of players these guys are. Curry is never going to be a guy that's productive without getting the ball fed to him in the post with great regularity. He needs to be option #1 in the post for him to put up the type of numbers he'll need to make up for all of the things he doesn't do. He doesn't crash the boards, he doesn't play good D. He scores, in the post, that's pretty much it. When teams double-team him, he doesn't distribute (0.7 assists per game this year, 0.5 for his career). So, if he's going to be a "building block" then that means you're going to fill in the players around him, but he's still going to be the go-to-guy on offense, if he isn't why is he on the court? I don't see how that's a formula for success.

Dalembert is a piece of the puzzle, not the solution. He doesn't need the ball fed to him. He plays good help D, crashes the boards, and once in a while you can run offense through him, but basically he's going to play the Dennis Rodman role. All good teams have guys like this. This is why I consider him a building block.

2. And Korver, only a year younger than Q-Rich, is an inferior defender than Richardson. Q-Rich is considered the Knicks best defender, and is known through the league for his ability to lock up other team's best player, especially LeBron... he's a big reason why the Knicks have done well against James and the Cavs recently. Quentin is also a better rebounder, passer, and more complete offensively, though Korver is a better long distance shooter (though not much better). So, again, most teams would prefer Q-Rich to Korver.

I'm not sure I agree with that statement. Richardson is a better rebounder, and a better defender, but the ability to really stretch a defense, which Korver has, is something every team needs. Again, I think we're comparing apples to oranges here. Korver is not now, nor should he ever be, a starter. His defense, while improving, is still suspect at best. His value comes on the offensive side of the ball exclusively, and it's much higher than anything Richardson can offer on that end. Korver is a better shooter than Richardson (Korver's numbers this year: 45% from the field, 43% from three, 91% from the line. Richardson: 42% from the field, 39% from three, 66% from the line), and actually has some versatility to his offensive game, especially when teams try to play a smaller man on him. His post game is surprisingly effective.

It's the same argument I made with Curry. Richardson is a volume shooter, who needs a ton of shots to have any value on the offensive end. If he could adjust and become a defender and rebounder first, only taking the open shots that come to him, a Bruce Bowen type, then yes, he could be a building block for a great team. But he doesn't have that makeup. Korver is a sixth man who comes in, hustles and stretches the floor. Whenever trade talks start with Philadelphia, Korver's is always the first name brought up by the other team. How many teams are beating down the Knicks' door for Q?

A recurring theme in this conversation has been who is a worse GM, Isiah or Billy King? We're really splitting hairs here to be honest with you. They're both horrible, but if you're giving the edge to Isiah for his success in the draft, the argument can be made that King has fared better in the draft and evaluating young talent. Korver was a 2nd round selection for the Nets, King sent cash to N.J. for him. He's now averaging 14.2 points and playing 32 minutes per game. King drafted Dalembert with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2001 draft. He's averaging 10.7 points, 8.4 rebounds and 2.4 blocks. This past year, the Sixers made a draft-day deal with the Bulls to bring Rodney Carney in, he's been more productive than Renaldo Balkman in similar minutes. Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying King is a good GM, or has an eye for young talent, what I'm saying is that even the worst get lucky sometimes. That's all you're seeing with Isiah, and he hasn't even been as lucky as King.

3. I think that even if you do get Oden or Durant (and I hope you do, because the fans of Philly deserve it), it doesn't make you an instant .500 team. When the Cavs got LBJ, they only went 35-47 in his rookie year, despite it being one of the greatest rookie years ever. And Oden or Durant, as good as their upside may seem, the reality is they will probably both perform akin to Chris Bosh in Toronto, not a Wade, Melo or James.

First of all, I said the Sixers could make the playoffs next year if everything breaks right (they get Oden or Durant, Brown comes back, one of the other two first round picks pans out for them, etc.), making the playoffs doesn't necessarily mean a .500 record. That being said, I don't think .500 is out of the realm of possibility. Since the Iverson trade, the Sixers are 8-14, and they've been playing much better ball (hopefully, it won't last much longer). If you put Durant on this team their lineup, assuming nothing else changes, would be Miller, Iguodala, Durant, Hunter and Dalembert. A solid point guard who sets his teammates up to be successful. One of the most versatile players in the league at shooting guard. A pure scorer at the three. And two guys who play tough interior defense and run the floor very well for big men. You'd have Korver as the 6th man, the rotation would probably be filled out by Louis Williams, who's looked really good in his increased minutes recently and Rodney Carney (they're going to have to go out and get another big to come off the bench, Joe Smith is history).

The learning curve with Oden would be steeper, but the Sixers would probably go from being one of the worst defensive teams in the league to one of the best. Having Dalembert and Oden down low would be imposing for any team to face. I just don't know where the offense would come from.

Either of these lineups would be more than competitive in the Atlantic. I'd definitely take them over the lineup the Knicks are trotting out there. The Knicks have too many guys that NEED the ball, even if it hurts the team that they have it. The Sixers have, for the most part, rid themselves of that type of player (I'm looking at you Willie Green). All they need now is the go-to-guy on offense. Granted, that's not always easy to come by, but if Oden or Durant turns out to be that guy, they're going to be fun to watch for the next 8 years (IF the Sixers get one of them, of course).

by Brian on Feb 3 2007
Tags: Basketball | Sixers |