Friday, May 24, 2013

POINT/COUNTERPOINT: Philadelphia 76ers

Felipe M

Had a good, but very long conversation about the future of the NBA with fellow basketball fan, and diehard New York Knicks' fan, Hasan R.  The following is our thoughts on the state of the Philadelphia 76ers

Felipe: I've always like the 76ers, but they're always missing something, I'm just not sure what exactly that is.  But they have up-and-comers JrueHoliday and Evan Turner.  They also have some good talent with guys like Thaddeus Young and Spencer Hawes and Lavoy Allen to a lesser extent.  Not sure what Jason Richardson can still bring for next season.  However, they’re getting a new coach and already have a President/GM in Sam Hinkie (formerly of the Houston Rockets). So I think Philly’s arrow is pointing up.

Hasan: Totally counted out the 76ers, but you reminded me a lot of what makes them a threat going forward.  This year was the first in a rebuilding phase anyway with Andre Iguodala gone and if Andrew Bynum actually plays for the 76ers, they have a lethal team.  Not exactly NBA championship caliber, but one that is setting itself up with a good core that should hit its stride in late 2014/early 2015.  If they can draft a wing player in the mold of Iguodala, this could be a lethal team. 

Felipe: Technically, the 76ers have been rebuilding for a few years now.  Yes, they have made the playoffs, but haven’t had a winning season since 2004-05.  And I really don’t see Bynum ever suiting up for Philly and they would have to be absolutely desperate to want him this bad.  I have to question his heart and his degenerative knees.  And the 76ers didn’t do much when they had Iguodala with the team so I doubt getting another player in that mold will help much.  I would actually suggest getting a big man (maybe a guy like Cody Zeller as his stock seems to be dropping) would prove to be helpful, but then again, it depends what kind of coach they will hire.

Hasan: They have most definitely been rebuilding for a few years and sadly this last season was a lost one.  I understand your concern with Bynum, but my above idea for Philly was that they DO manage to re-sign Bynum, and that he suits up and then you've got the 76ers vying for a dynamic wing to pair up with Evan Turner. Then hopefully get some veteran presence and they may even be able to compete for a low playoff seed this upcoming season.  

That being said, let's think about what happens if they fail to retain Bynum.  Not only does that Bynum trade look absolutely horrific in retrospect (not like the trade didn't look bad enough when it was made), but it also means that it's time to tear it all down. If Bynum is gone the most likely draft pick for them would be Cody Zeller or even Kelly Olynyk.  That also makes their second round picks extremely valuable because the best way to rebuild is through the draft.

Sadly, it is a bit tough to really judge this team without a basketball coach because we still aren't too sure about the style of play they will employ. Holding out against hope that they manage to re-sign Bynum and go ahead with my earlier idea, if only for the sheer fun it would be to watch Bynum and Holiday play together. 

Felipe: At least we agree on the 76ers needing a new coach in order for us to gauge which direction they will go in terms of personnel.  I definitely have to disagree with you on Andrew Bynum.  His best days are behind him and I just don’t see him wanting to stay in Philly and Philly would do itself a favor by looking elsewhere to start another rebuilding project.  Luckily for them, their new GM is a statistical analytics guy and hopefully, that will make him see that re-signing Bynum will prove to be a mistake.

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