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good post Brian

maybe you remember I am a huge fan of Miller, so I do hope he stays, for at least another season. But clearly, chances are pretty low.

Without Miller, I think it's gonna be an ugly, ugly season, especially with Lou and Holiday splitting time at starting PG. I came to the conclusion that LW can't (doesn't want to ??) play the point. I know he's young and can prove me wrong - and I do hope so - but this is my feeling after his last season.

And Sixers would be nuts to put all the pressure on a 19 y/o rookie PG to take Miller's spot full time. So the PG is the biggest question mark: we need a good, 'reliable' PG and as for now we don't have any. 82 games of LW + Holiday scare me to death.

The SG spot is the other ?. I think we will try again with the AI9 at the two experiment, because it's fair to give it another try (with another coach, another system, a healthy roster etc...), but again, I don't think he can play the two effectively. Limited stretches, with certain line ups, vs particular teams, yes, long term, full time, no.

Brand is the least concern to me. I think he will bounce back and have a good season. Good, not great. I am confident.

So basically we are at the same position of last season, minus Andre Miller & Evans, plus Holiday & Kapono (and Brand/Jason Smith back). We still lack outside shooting, we need a proven SG, and we don't know who will run the team on the floor. Not exactly an encouraging situation.

Don't want to play the negadelphian here, Stefanski pulled a rabbit out of his arse with the Evans/Kapono trade, so there is still time, and hope. But TODAY there is nothing to be particularly happy for.

I'd say this season will probably hinge on Eddie Jordan, and most importantly, his use of Iguodala. The PG position isn't a huge issue for me if Iguodala is the primary playmaker. I think you have to go into the season w/ Thad and AI on the wings, if one of them can improve his 3pt shooting (Thad's probably a better bet in this department), they should be able to spread the floor a little bit. Kapono will help in that regard as well.

I still think this team's personnel lends itself to being a top defensive team, I'm just hoping they won't sacrifice defense for offense. Use the PO to squeeze more production out of defensive players, rather than sacrificing defense to get the best offensive lineup out there to make the PO work better. That would be my advice, if anyone was asking.

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Real and Speightacular on Jul 15 at 8:04
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Nice post (nice rebound. heh).

I, for one, was hugely enthused about the Brand signing. I thought the Sixers were about to romp. But all is as you say. Blinded by the potential powerhouse, not being respectful of the very real possibility of a fizzle, nevermind another physical blowup/blowout of some kind.

In hindsight, it was too much money or at least for too long. We'd be in better shape if he wasn't signed and Iggy and Thad still easily young enough to hang tough during a bit of rebuilding phase.

If Brand did have a strong year, we'd have less problems getting top-drawer free agents (such as it was this season). No injury and a mediocre year? We'd probably be in the same position we're in now: treading water. Brand has to come back to near monster levels to justify the contract or it can be considered a GM's overreaching AI-style gamble.

There's nothing to do now but to sit on our hands and wait and see (and pray).

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Philadelphian_in_Texas on Jul 15 at 9:22
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Brian,
I enjoy your blogs; glad you've gone all-Sixers. This post is good and provocative. Say, what about this for an idea: sign-and-trade Andre Miller and Elton Brand for Ronnie Price and Carlos Boozer, who is looking to move on from Jazz? Would that be feasible/desirable in your opinion?
Philadelphian_in_Texas

Would do that in a second- but no way Brand has much value now until he re-establishes himself.

We're certainly in a tough spot. Even with Iguodala and Brand playing at an all-star level (a very real possibility in my mind) the team lacks not only another quality guard, but also depth at almost every position.

Best case scenario: Lou does a good job of spotting up and hitting open jumpers, Dala, Thad, and Brand play at an all-star level, Jrue has a Thad-like rookie year, Speights has a Thad-like sophomore year, and Dalembert averages 8/12/2. Even with all these things going are way, our ceiling is the 4th seed for next year.

My hope lies in the coming years when Boston gets too old, the Cavs get dumped by Lebron, and Orlando's crazy spending catches up with them. Our core will only get better during that time, hopefully racking meaningful playoff minutes.

This is probably a future post, but let's scratch the surface a little bit now. Which team in the Eastern conference can even come close to the Sixers as far as having a core of players under 25?

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john reply to Brian on Jul 15 at 12:39
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Off the top of my head without even looking at their roster - the bulls?

Rose, Noah, Tyrus, Deng (Noah and Deng will turn 25 this season), plus their picks this season

vs.

Iguodala, Thad, Speights, Lou, Jrue

Close, most people would probably give the edge to the Bulls simply because they have Rose.

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john reply to Brian on Jul 15 at 13:20
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Both teams have a lot a few 'potential' guys who haven't starting fully panning out yet - for whatever reason - plus under appreciated guys as well - like noah and Iguodala. Dengs injury history doesn't help but then Louis Williams being (to me) a 6/7 man doesn't help either.

Not sure of the age of the hawks kids but smith, williams (say childress since they control him and he was in the same draft as iguodala but don't know age) and horford?

If all of the young players pan out they could find themselves just one vet superstar away from being a legit contender in 2-3 years.

Ignoring Brand the team could be in a golden position to make a move in 2 years with lots of cheap/traceable young talent and huge expiring contracts as well as a core entering its prime. That is a perfect recipe for trading for that needed final star piece.

I'd like to think that player was Brand, but i doubt it. I think he will be a good but not super player at that point (think David Robinson in his later years.) My biggest concern is that the final years of Brand's contract at 16M/17M/18M will prevent the team from being able to make that final move. On the other hand, that last year he'll be a huge expiring, and the Comcast in the past has been willing to go way over the tax to finish off a contender.

Good analysis here. Two important points, the young core maturing and the bad contracts turning into assets.

e Andre Miller and Elton Brand for Ronnie Price and Carlos Boozer, who is looking to move on from Jazz?

Why would the Jazz do that. Why would they pay Andre Miller a rather large some of money to back up Deron Williams. The Jazz are looking to try and figure out a way to save some money in a trade of boozer so they can not feel the pain when they (reportedly) match on Paul Milsap.

Isn't Price a free agent, why don't the sixers just sign him?

As for last year versus this year...I thought people were overly excited for the Brand signing and I was never a huge Miller fan. I think this year I predicted the sixers to be around 500 and lose in the first round. It seemed like people were doing the overly positive everything is going to go right thing.

My big concern now is that at this point in free agency, I have lost some faith in Stefanski and his ability and plan to build a contending team.

That being said, Andre Miller isn't going to find his 30 million years in my opinion, not in this economy, not with so few teams looking to add big money AND needing a point guard, so I'm not sure it's a fait accompli he's not back in philly. Where else can he go right now? (I don't buy the knicks BS, it doesn't make sense)

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Cake reply to John on Jul 15 at 11:14
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john reply to Cake on Jul 15 at 11:33
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Interesting - missed that one - haven't had a chance to check hoopshype summaries this morning.

I still don't see the Jazz having any interest in a long term deal to brand AND miller while giving away the expiring of boozer. They are looking to shed salary sooner to afford keeping Milsap not the other way around.

I really can't get a feel for what the Jazz want to do. I don't see Brand/Miller going there, Miller doesn't fit any kind of need and Brand's deal is too long.

But, I mean, the only kind of deal that really gives them any financial flexibility would be a deal with OKC or Portland, or a three-way deal with either team, that would save them some cash this season. But trades like Rip Hamilton for Boozer would be the opposite of a frugal move, they'd be taking on a huge contract in exchange for an expiring.

If I was Utah, I'd probably bite the bullet, match the offer for Millsap and then take my time moving Boozer. There are teams out there with trade exceptions (Orlando), there may be a way to dump some salary before the trade deadline, when the lux. tax is calculated, or maybe they have a really good year and it's worth paying the tax for one season, knowing Boozer is walking next Summer.

I just don't think it's a good idea at all for Utah to trade Boozer for a long contract, especially not for Rip.

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john reply to Brian on Jul 15 at 11:46
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I agree, and they have time to move boozer, reportedly, the luxury tax isn't assigned at the beginning of the season so they might find a take for boozer during the season that helps them get under the tax, or they just bite the bullet for one season.

interesting, I read yesterday that because of the 'immediacy' of the big up front payment of the milsap contract, Portlands attempt to poison pill maybe, the Jazz will have to take a short term loan out to pay Milsap.

Yeah, I saw that somewhere as well. Apparently the NBA has a line of credit available to all teams for situations like this. The good news for Utah is that if they can stomach that initial financial hit, Millsap's deal is pretty fair after this season. At least, that's what I read.

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john reply to Brian on Jul 15 at 11:58
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Yeah, I'm not even sure what Portland was thinking, they didn't grossly over pay and it's not that hard to swallow the 'pill' up front. Almost like last year - the token offer to josh smith all knew would be matched

By the way, anyone see the Anthony Randolph highlights from the summer league? Holy crap!

I would give up Brand for that guy in a heart beat!

I really would have liked to see Brand playing with Miller, Iggy and Young. I think that had the potential to be something really good.

I still feel that the Brand signing was the right move at the time, you couldn't legislate for the fact that he would have a season-ending injury. Josh Smith wouldn't have made us much better and it appears he has serious attitude issues.

Brand will be, if not all-star quality, at least a very solid 18/9 guy. Fingers crossed he stays fit this time around.

If we can get a decent point guard to start I think we could compete with Atlanta for #4 in the East and maybe win a series.

Brand has been eerily quiet since he went down for good in Feb. I have a feeling he's been working his ass off and he's determined to prove he isn't done. The shoulder injury isn't hard to come back from, hopefully two years out from the Achilles injury will be enough for him to regain his lift. If the P.O. can get him some room to move in either post, and some one-on-one situations (which it should), he could be back to his 20/10 days. Honestly, though, I'll be happy if he can just rebound and defend like a beast.

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john reply to Brian on Jul 15 at 12:07
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Is Brand historically known as a 'public' player, he always struck me a s pretty quiet guy - like Miller almost

Not sure about how public he is. He really faded into the background after he was hurt though. I mean, he didn't do one interview that I can remember during the playoffs, usually you'll see injured guys in front of the camera talking about how the team is really pulling together in his absence or whatever. Brand stepped completely out of the picture. I'm taking it as a good thing (and crossing my fingers).

Read this on ESPN rumors:

ROSTER MOVES: 76ers shopping in Las Vegas
The 76ers have a bunch of open roster spots and president and general manager Ed Stefanski is in Las Vegas this week looking to fill out the roster.
"I'm watching players and staying in communications with other teams and agents," Stefanski told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "We need to add depth. ... We need a guard, a swingman, and two bigs."


Any thoughts on who the 4 guys they are considering??

Probably nothing too exciting for any of the spots. Maybe they make an offer to CJ Watson (I don't see a ton of minutes available for him in GS now, so they may not match).

Right, I said by the 09-10 season we'd be a contender. And predicted a 6th seed, as I recall, for the 08-09. I no longer think we'll be a contender this year because (a) the point situation will be a mess, (b) Thad hasn't quite developed like I'd hoped, and (c) I don't really see Brand bouncing back.

Define bouncing back for Brand. You don't think he'll return to the level he was, or you don't think he'll be an impact player at all?

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Tray reply to Brian on Jul 15 at 22:52
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I think he'll make an impact on the glass and a positive impact on defense overall. I think his days of being an efficient scorer are very likely over. To the extent that he does score, he'll be siphoning off shots and touches from more efficient players like Thad and Iguodala. And he certainly won't command many double-teams. So I believe we'll be a worse team offensively with him on the court than without, and expect the plus-minus stats to reflect that. (As they did last year; we scored 9 more points per 100 possessions with him off the court.) Ultimately, if we eventually get away from the idea that he's still a good offensive player, he should make the team a little better, though he certainly won't be good enough to offset Miller's departure. But if we force-feed him, he's going to miss a lot of shots in the paint and cancel out what he brings to the team defensively.

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Joe reply to Tray on Jul 15 at 23:01
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I like taking one 30 game sample with a player injured a lot of it and using that for all my decision making.

The other 600... meh. Let's just throw them out the window.

Anyone see Jameer in the finals? What a bum! They should trade him for Will Bynum.

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Tray reply to Joe on Jul 16 at 11:53
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It isn't so much his numbers from last year as the fact that physically he was plainly a shell of himself. Very little lift, and as a result, he struggled against any defender larger than him, which basically covers everybody. Now he's missed another season with another injury. At the least, you'd have to think he'll be pretty rusty for the first quarter of the season. Maybe after that he'll start to get some life back in his legs, but I just think the history of banged-up big men, and the fact that he clearly hadn't recovered last year, makes it look pretty unlikely.

I thought his legs looked a lot better when he came back later in the season. Of course he couldn't extend his shooting arm at the time, so the overall effectiveness wasn't there. I'm anticipating a river of anti-Brand comments and posts at the beginning of the season during the knocking off the rust phase. Crossing my fingers that it'll only be a phase at this point.

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Joe reply to Tray on Jul 17 at 12:19
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Tray,

I think you are clearly overvaluing a small sample size.

I also don't understand how you think Brand is undersized at the 4. I think he would be, likely the 3rd biggest 4 in the East, assuming you call the 4 the smaller of the 4/5 on a given team. I might be missing some team out there, but not much more than that. And when you look to the entire NBA, I don't see Brand not being above the 15 man mark meaning he is not undersized.

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Tom Moore on Jul 15 at 22:51
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As long as there's no sign-and-trade with Miller for a point guard, the veteran backup 1 could be one of these unrestricted free agents:

Anthony Carter
Jason Hart
Bobby Jackson
Jacque Vaughn

I like C.J. Watson, but the Warriors owner said he thinks Watson will compete for the starting job, so sounds like he plans on bringing Watson back.

Jason Williams, anyone? He plans in playing after taking a year off. He's 34 and could sign for the 10-year minimum of $1.3 mill.

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Tom Moore on Jul 15 at 22:53
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As for Brand, the Sixers have to hope his Achilles is fully recovered and allows him to be more athletic than he was in 2008-09. This is a big year for him.

Don't forget they traded a protected 2010 first-rounder to the Wolves for Minnesota to take on the salaries of Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth, allowing enough room to sign Brand.

That protected first rounder is Utah's, correct? The Sixers own their pick and they have a conditional 2nd rounder from Minny as well.

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deepsixersuede on Jul 19 at 10:39
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Brian, I am glad they are looking at young guys rather than retreads to fill out their roster, if we add 4 young players and at least one ends up being a part of the rotation in 2 years it would be like having another pick in the draft and our front offices! strength has been in this department.


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