The Sixers may have benefited from a short lived buzz due to the drafting of Evan Turner, the work is not finished. In all reality, the work may not be finished before the start of the 2010/11 campaign. The Sixers have reached the proverbial “fork in the road.”
It’s where decisions must be made, like it or not. Mainly, the Sixers must figure out which direction they want this team to travel. That direction isn’t just winning or losing, it’s much more complicated than that. With the team the Sixers have now, it would be no surprise to most if they were to make the playoffs. However, now that the East has gotten even tougher this off-season, it’s clear the Sixers are still light years away from contending.
The Sixers have options, trading Andre Iguodala for one, though it seems the team has soured on moving him right now. Some of that new found attitude has to do with the hiring of Doug Collins, and of course the Sixers lucking into the 2nd pick overall, Evan Turner. Though, a lot of it has to do with Andre Iguodala himself. When things were at their worst, he stuck by this franchise, and made it clear he wants to stay. Iguodala’s leadership has jumped leaps and bounds from a few years ago. A coach like Doug Collins has to be excited about working with Iguodala, it’s felt by Collins and others that Iggy has untapped potential just waiting to break out. This untapped potential may come mainly from the defensive side of the ball. Iguodala is regarded as a solid NBA defender, but many believe he can be better.
Along with Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner, who both have the ability to defend well, the Sixers will be a much better team on the defensive end. Which means they’ll be in a lot more games than they were last year. Will it make them a contender in the East, probably-most likely, not. Though, good feelings come from winning, with winning builds an identity, something the Sixers need badly to regain.
So, if the Sixers stay the course, keep Iguodala and let Collins mold this team, they will compete. Though, most likely they’ll be playing out the years of Elton Brand’s contract and perhaps wasting a few years from young players like Holiday and Turner. This has been Thaddeus Young’s story in a nut shell. He’s gone from a very promising player, to a struggling bench player, who again will be blocked from playing time this upcoming year by Andres Nocioni. Do the Sixers want to risk the same thing happening to the likes of Holiday and Turner?
Now, if the Sixers were to trade Iguodala, it would most likely mean Thaddeus Young would be starting at the 3, along with Holiday and Turner at the guard positions. Even though they’d still have Brand it would allow those three to play a lot of minutes together. Also, if Brand has the kind of year he did the previous two, he’ll find himself on the bench for Marreese Speights a lot of the time. Speights, yet another young player who seemed to have promise, only to struggle last season as well.
With that team you’d have growing pains, no doubt. Though, you’d have a good look at all three together. The time to evaluate where their games are, and what pieces the team needs to add. Something the Sixers will do regardless if they trade Iggy or not before the season. The only difference is, they would have the money to add pieces next off season if Iguodala is traded. Not to mention, another possible lottery pick to go along with it.
It’s time for the Sixers to make a decision, the decision isn’t an easy one, but one that has to be made before the season starts.
-Mike Santa Barbara