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I wouldn't start Mike Miller. I would start Iggy at the 2, Thad at the 3 and Smith/Reggie at the 4. I am fine with Jason Smith and Reggie Evans platooning at the 4 assuming Jason puts some work in over the off season. I think Jason can be a starting PF in this league if given a year or 2.

Miller has won 6th man of the year before... I think. I would use him similar to how the Spurs use Ginobli off the bench. He could still get 30 minutes off the bench and put up 13+ a game, which would compete with Thad for 3rd most on the team.

I have to add up the numbers to see what is up with regards to how this would work out cap wise in a couple years, so I can't say this move should be option 1.

Smith has the potential to be a weapon for them, absolutely. I'm just not sure we're going to see enough growth over the Summer for him to hold down the starting job. Evans just is not a starter, plain and simple. He's a guy to send out there for a spark and some toughness in short bursts.

I'd prefer Thad at the 4, I think. Give him the Summer to add some bulk and he's got the potential to be a viable threat in the post with his quickness and that baby hook. If he develops the right hand, he might be a better low post option than just about everyone we've been talking about but Brand.

The cap space is going to depend greatly on how much they give Iguodala. The good thing is that Dalembert is the only other long-term deal they have. Green and Evans account for roughly $7M-$9M per year for the next three. The rest are just rookie contracts, and no one significant hits restricted free agency until Carney in the Summer of '11.

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Joe reply to Brian on Apr 8 at 1:31
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The more I think about the team with one more shooter, the less I think it will matter that much.

The Sixers have 4 unknown quantities in Lou, Carney, Jason Smith, and Herbert Hill. (yes I still like Herbert Hill) I say you evaluate the unknowns next season and then make your personnel decisions. If Andre Miller is willing to stay, he is willing to stay. If he isn't he isn't, so no reason to get all these pieces like Mike Miller or Elton Brand.

I guess... why rush it? Can't you wait another year? The team is young and you don't have any major extensions except Iggy and Lou coming up...

I can live with this team + a 1st round SG and Herb Hill.

I would take Calderon though. Brand too probably since both are rare talents and would be easy to trade.

Staying the course is an option. Once you get down the list of available players a few slots, I think it's the best option.

I guess the question is then:

Can this team be an elite team the way it is?

I don't think they can be with what they currently have. However, if just making the playoffs for the next 5 or 6 seasons is the main goal, then they have the talent to do so. Just a matter of how far they want to go.

Brian -
Regarding your question about Calderon maybe being a backup for a year. How much would that hinder Lou's development and do you think that he would want to stay to backup Calderon? Is Lou a viable option as a starting PG in the NBA?

That's a really tough question with Lou. On most nights I'd say no, there's no way he's ever going to be the starting PG on a playoff team. On most nights he has blinders on and refuses to run the offense, he uses the pg position to basically isolate himself and go one on one and get his own shot off.

But then once in a while he really plays the point, sometimes when Miller is on the floor with him. He distributes, doesn't look for his own shot, and he's actually a good passer and good on-the-ball defender.

I think he has the skills needed to be a starting PG, but he needs more maturity, and probably another year or two of backing up behind a guy like Miller.

I think bringing in Calderon might involve moving Lou out.

Now you are talking. I still think Josh Smith would be a terrible fit for this team - a bad, bad shooter, and a good defender on a team that already has enough defense, but needs more offense, to make the leap into a top-4 Eastern Conference team. Brand would be the best fit, of course.

Osh Smith, I should add, is also a player who lacks basketball IQ, whatever that is. The Hawks in general are - they looked terrible until Bibby settled in a bit, yet they still make no sense way too often for my tastes. I think Smith in particular has a hard time giving the ball up to the point in fast break situations, which is dumb, and part of the reason he averages too many turnovers. Teaming him up with Iggy is redundant.

Mike Miller is a good idea, though. He's a high% shooter (50% for the season, 40% from downtown) who can also do a decent job of rebound and pass. He keeps the turnovers down. He's a bit weak in the defense, but that's what guys like Dalembert and Iggy are for. Iggy can guard the better wing man on the opposition.

And I think Miller isn't too expensive, either, which makes him an ideal target.

Miller is signed for 2 years after this one, $9M in '08-'09 and $9.7M in '09-'10. It's a nice contract for the Sixers because then they have $10M coming off the books after the next two seasons, and probably some cap space to make more moves if he doesn't pan out.

I don't really see Smith and Iguodala as being redundant, I see them as more complementary on defense. Iguodala is a great on-the-ball defender, Smith is a great help defender. Having he and Dalembert on the back line could make the perimeter guys more aggressive on the outside.

You're right, though. Signing him is going to put a lot of pressure on Thad Young and Iguodala to improve their outside shot greatly. He'll add 15ppg, but they aren't going to come from jumpers. Spreading the floor would still be an issue.

I also kind of doubt Atlanta is going to let him walk. Especially after making the playoffs.

Mike Miller would be a pretty good upgrade to the roster. However as much as I don't want to admit it - sometimes staying the course is the most sensible thing to do. Aside from acquiring rare talents mentioned above; I'd rather the sixers kept cap flexibility while developing their current talent. That way they are always prepared to acquire "rare" talent should they become available. If good talent isn't in the cards this summer - fine. See what plays out during the trading deadline next year and then summer 09 etc. Signing high priced bums and being married to them is not what I want to see.

In some ways, the NBA is about luck. Take some of the playoff teams from this year and look at their rosters. A brief look and you can see some teams had that one year where they drafted high in the draft (mostly because they were amazingly horrid the year before) and acquired top point guards (deron, cp3), top forwards (dwight howard, carmelo), generational talents (lebron, duncan) and so on. What's interesting about the sixers is they haven't been historically bad in some time - since AI's rookie season. They've been really good to mediocre. Hence, they've never really had a shot to draft high. Obviously, this hasn't stopped the sixers from improving the roster - albeit slowly. But the draft isn't the only way to acquire good talent. Trades and signings can get you there. Look at Utah after Karl Malone and Stockton left. They bided their time until Carlos Boozer and Okur happened to be available. But it wasn't necessarily luck - they were responsible and had the cap space to make it happen. Somebody might have to look it up but I think the deron draft pick was acquired from another team? If so, for them, Deron was icing on the cake. Detroit's improved in many of the same ways.

I don't want the quick fix. I want the sixers to be ready for these types of opportunities just like Utah and Detriot were so that they can compete every year. If you have to develop the young guys because Calderon or Brand are not available so be it.

Agreed. I think Miller is a good example of a way to improve while still giving yourself the flexibility to acquire someone who may become available.

I don't know that luck has as much to do with it as the being responsible and frugal with the teams money.

Look at Portland, they had a slew of talented players on that roster. What did it get them? Nothing. After the organization decided that they couldn't win with what they had, they were stuck with a TON of bad contracts.

Now, look at the Knicks. Same situation. Some people say the team is only as good as the coach. To me, the team is only as good as the front office is. Look at how Philly has thrived under Stefansky. He gave them a different outlook and they have been a completely different team in his short time in the front office.

The more I think about it, the more I am convinced that Mike Miller isn't as valuable to this team as just growing and developing the squad and then acquiring their picks. If Elton Brand isn't available, I wouldn't go after anyone else.

To an extent, the cap space is really use it or lose it this season. They have anywhere from $10M to $14M in space, but that's before they sign Iguodala and Lou Williams to extensions. Every dollar over their cap hold numbers will come out of that total. Depending on how much they pay those guys, they may or may not have the same amount next season when Miller comes off the books.

Agree with Brian: The two rules I've come up with in salary cap management: one, you aren't getting under the cap until you get rid of your worst contract. Two, the 40 Year Old Virgin rule: if you don't use your cap space, you lose it. Therefore, Philly almost has to use it this year, and if signing Brand (or Osh) doesn't work out, then a trade for Miller makes sense. The Grizzlies are in cut salary mode, right?

I'm watching the Hawks game right now - I've seen Josh Smith let a pass from Bibby go through his hands (a routine pass on the arc, with no defensive pressure), then traveled on the very next play. I think Smith is a solid player, but he's a terrible fit for the 76ers.

Love watching the Hawks... Josh Childress just fouled Dunleavy while he was shooting a three. This team is absolutely the sloppiest team in the NBA - they are the only team that operates almost exclusive on talent, with little thought to organization or common sense (both on defense and offense). In fact, they kinda remind me of the Knicks, if they had an interest in blocking shots...

Bibby to a wide open Osh Smith in the corner... for three... air ball. I've watch Smith all year long - not an anomaly. Good player, great on help defense. Worst outside shooter in the NBA? After Earl Watson (the worst), possibly...

Earl Watson's been a decent shooter since 2005. Andre Iguodala is the seventh worst qualifier in the league, but they seem to raise the qualifying bar awfully high. Some real bad ones this year though are Smush Parker (20.6%, 13 of 63), Andre Miller (9.1%, 3 of 33), Ronnie Brewer (10 of 47, 21.3%), Kyle Lowry (24%, 30 of 125), and oddly enough, Casey Jacobsen (22.2%, 14 of 63). Josh Smith hasn't attempted enough to qualify, but compared to those guys he's alright, 26.3%.

Smith should just stop shooting threes altogether. That goes without saying. I do think you're underselling him, though. He's a great passer, great rebounder and insane shot blocker. It's nice to have a PF who can knock down an 18-foot jumper, but not exactly crucial. What you do need, however, is good shot selection. He shouldn't be a 45% shooter from the floor. He's a #3 option on offense, at best, but that's not why you get him. You get him for everything else he does.

I still say, with a starting lineup of Miller, Iguodala, Thad, Smith and Dalembert the Sixers would hold other teams under 90 points/game, easily. You can find a way to scrape together enough points to win w/ that kind of defense.

I'm not underselling Smith - I'm a big fan. He would be an ideal SF for the Knicks, among several other teams. I'm just saying his skill set does not fit the 76ers. For example - who is he going to pass to in Philly? In fact, look at Tray's list again - with Miller, Iggy and Smith, you have absolutely no outside shooting. If you can't stretch the defense, and you can't go inside... wow. I think your starting lineup would either have to hope Thad makes a major leap (not impossible, of course), or that team would struggle to top 70 points regularly. Even if they are holding other teams down.

Now, add a SG to that lineup with range - a Jason Richardson, Vince Carter or Michael Redd type - now you are balanced. So I would suggest signing Smith if the 76ers roll the dice, and trade Dalembert (the only big contract they can offer for a Richardson/Carter type) for one of those guys, then draft a big man with defense to replace Sammy (THABEET seems a safe bet to be there at #18 or whatever). Thad has a sixth man makes sense for a few more seasons, while he works on developing a more complete game.

I don't see how they'd score less points with Josh Smith starting at the PF over Reggie Evans.

Vince Carter? That is a sure fire way to kill this franchise for at least 4 years and waste any talent that has been accumulated. I have never liked VC because he flat out doesn't care about winning. Fans despise this guy. He is 32 as well.

Besides all those things, he is in obvious decline. He has also recently been getting cortisone shots in those knees of his meaning his career is over. He should just be sent out to pasture.(Insert some crappy, dumb franchise here)

Thabeet stinks.

I don't see how they'd score less points with Josh Smith starting at the PF over Reggie Evans.

Because this isn't baseball; it's basketball. You can't just analyize base on numbers. Smith may score more than Evans, but taking into account spacing issues (he shares the same floating space that Iggy does, given the defense no reason to spread out) and turnover issues. Then take into account that his shots will come at the expense of someone else's shots in the lineup, since we agree Evans isn't shooting, right? Would you rather have a 41% shooter like Smith taking those shots, or Iggy? Ergo, less points, guaranteed.

THABEET sucks. I agree with Joe. I just threw his name out as an example of a big man that can be had in the draft to replace Dalembert. Vince Carter also sucks, agreed. I just meant you could use an explosive three point shooter to spread the offense - Richardson, Redd, Mike Miller, Baron Davis... all these guys fit that need....

Actually, if you insert Josh Smith into the lineup that would mean you're replacing Reggie Evans and Willie Green next season. I'd have no problem giving those 16 shots to Josh Smith, although I doubt he'd be taking all of them.

He's shooting 45.5% from the floor this year and he's averaging about 14 shots/game.

Honestly, the Sixers have some shots to spare in their offense. Miller is averaging 14 per game, which is 2.6 more per game than his career average.

I realize this isn't baseball, but adding Smith and Thad to the starting lineup is an upgrade over Evans and Willie Green.

Oh gotcha SML. Let us never utter those names again though because they will give me a heart attack.

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massimo on Apr 9 at 12:46
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Wish Walt Davis was still available.....
Following the NBA since 1980 and looking back to the "old" 2guards I feel bad. We are talking about Mike Miller as the best shooter the Sixers could aim to.
I feel "bad" but that is it!!
(sorry for my English...I'm from Italy...)

FORZA SIXERS!

First off, could this be the most level-headed, reasonable message board devoted to Philadelphia sports in the history of the internet? I think so.

To me, it all begins with what we already have. And the big question is whether either Iguodala or Carney can be our regular starter at the 2. Four months ago I would have definitively answered no. Now I'm not sure. Carney's outside J has gotten steadily better, as has his intensity. For this team to improve, we don't necessarily need Kobe Bryant at the 2 spot, we need Raja Bell: a hard-nosed, athletic defender who can knock down the three. Carney may be able to be that guy. He's cheap, and he already has good chemistry with the team.

I've always thought 'Dala's natural position was the three spot. But his improved 3 point shooting has made me rethink that too. It would be huge if he could slide over, because Thad is really better suited to the SF and I would love to see him get more time there.

If either of these guys can be the answer at shooting guard, then I would not invest big bucks in anyone else at that position. I would be inclined to give them a shot. We've won a ton of games lately with Willie Green in there, and I have to think either 'Dala or Carney would be an improvement over that.

I seriously doubt that Elton Brand will be available, but if he's healthy and actually can be had, that's a no-brainer. With the possible exception of Jamison, he's the only legit post player out there who is even worth considering.

The Sixers may also be able to use their cap room to improve in the draft, if the right opportunity presented itself. If Kevin Love slips to the bottom of the lottery or below, I would love to see the Sixers go up and get him.

Regarding cap room, I would point out that there is another scenario to consider: signing Iguodala to a one-year deal, which would make him an unrestricted FA next summer. I'm pretty sure we'd retain his Bird rights, so the prospects for a long-term deal would still be good. But even if we didn't we would have a TON of cap space after next season, and a pretty good player in Young ready to fill in at the 3. I know this wouldn't be ideal for AI, but if he doesn't get the offer he wants from the Sixers or someone else this year, it might make sense for him too.

Thanks for the kind words, first of all. You make a good point here, and it's something I've considered in the past.

Iguodala turned down $57M back in October, reportedly. I'm not sure where his mind is right now, what figure he's looking at. If he's completely 100% sold that he deserves a max deal at this point, then I think your scenario is actually pretty likely.

I don't think any other team is going to have the cap space, or the inclination to sign him to a max deal offer sheet. If the Sixers don't move their offer up high enough he could just sign the qualifying offer of $3.8M and play out the contract. He'd be an unrestricted free agent the following season, but the Sixers would be able to pay him more than anyone else (Bird Rights).

If this happened, and it happened quickly this offseason, the Sixers would actually have a ton of cap space to use this year. Iguodala's cap hold number is somewhere around $7M. Meaning if he accepts the qualifying offer, their cap space would immediately jump from $10-$14M up to $12-$16M. Next year they'd have Miller's number coming off the books and Iguodala's caphold number would be about $7M again, so they could be looking at the same type of cap space again if they don't use it this Summer, maybe even more.

There are a lot of ifs in there, and my gut tells me the Sixers will get a longterm deal done for him, but this is definitely an avenue worth exploring.

As for the SG position, like you said, anyone would be an upgrade. My thinking behind Mike Miller is that the team would be better off with a big upgrade at the 2 and Thad playing out of position at the 4 than they would over-spending for a stopgap at the 4. If you're going to spend the cap space (which I think they should) it has to be for a serious upgrade to the starting lineup. Beyond Brand and Josh Smith (arguably) I just don't see that type of player available at the 4.

Moving up in the draft is definitely an option. I'm not 100% sold on Kevin Love, but I think they could make it work. The two problems I have with him are conditioning and injuries. I think the knocks he gets for a lack of athleticism really stem from those two things. One thing Cheeks does exceptionally well is condition his players, so maybe it wouldn't be an issue if they got him.

I agree that Miller would be a significant upgrade over whatever we have at the 2. He's a very good overall player, and while not a great individual defender, he's big and athletic enough to be able to fit well into the team's trapping style. I would be happy with this move.

That said, I just worry that in the era of a hard salary cap, teams sometimes overvalue the 2 guard position, especially slashing players. (How much money does Ricky Davis make?) Miller's the real deal, but I would also understand if the team looked for value here (your suggestions of Vujacich or J.R. Smith - if he grows up - are good ones).

The thing that encourages me about Love is that he has a great attitude. He's really young, but is more grown up than a lot of the guys in the league. His conditioning will need serious work, but there's no reason to think he wouldn't be willing to put it in. As for the lack of athleticism tag, I'm hoping that sticks, as it makes it more lilkely he will slip. Overall, I don't think he'll be a dominant player, but he'll be an important cog on some very good teams.


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