Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Interior Inferior

There are several unresolved issues surrounding the 2012-2013 76ers as they are currently constructed. Sure they added some athleticism in Harkless and Moultrie, and shored up the perimeter shooting with the additions of Dorell Wright and the hot-handed Nick Young, but the interior personnel is still an enormous problem. The Sixers did not quite have the most formidable frontcourt last season, and by dropping Brand, their most consistent post player on both ends of the floor, they have only moved backwards. The combination of Hawes, Allen, Vucevic, and the recently-acquired Kwame Brown, may be one of the slowest and least skilled frontlines in the League, leaving the Sixers extremely vulnerable, especially on the defensive end.

If the team doesn’t shake things up and move current Olympian Andre Iguodala for some inside support this offseason, which appears less likely with each passing day, it seems that Sixer fans can look forward to the least inspiring starting frontline of all time in Hawes and Levoy Allen. This dynamic duo lacks both the speed and strength necessary to compete with most of the League at large, let alone the elite teams. Picturing these two getting consistently posterized is just painful. Teams with physical frontcourts such as Chicago or Indiana will simply overpower the Sixers in the paint. Spence, despite his size, has little strength and is not build to bang with the League’s biggest bodies. Levoy, while stronger and better built is somewhat undersized and too slow to be expected to continuously contain explosive forwards such as Chris Bosh or Amare Stoudemire. While both Spencer and Lavoy are serviceable bigs in certain situations, neither game is distinct, or necessarily deserving of starter’s minutes, especially not starting side by side. Lavoy has been a lifetime reserve/role player and it sure seems as though this is where he is best suited; Coach Collins will certainly be stretching if Allen is promoted to starter. Hawes shows flashes, and could be a nice piece if he were to split time with another equally talented center, but having him as the only center on the roster, aside from the ever under-achieving Kwame Brown, is far from ideal.

It doesn't get any better when Kwame and Vucevic are brought off the bench, as neither are known for their defensive prowess. Elton Brand, although aging, at least supplied the Sixers with some interior toughness. With the current batch of bigs the Sixers can look forward to a long season of being pulverized in the paint.

Defensive difficulties aren't the only areas where the Sixer bigs will struggle this season. No one on the roster is an above average rebounder, as Spencer led the team with a pedestrian seven boards per. Elton Brand, despite his limited mobility, brought toughness to the glass and was an underrated offensive rebounder last season. His production and consistency in this area will be missed. The Sixers were a solid rebounding team last year, seventh overall in the Association, but unfortunately it seems as though they have only regressed in this area.

The lack of size and strength in the frontcourt will strongly effect the Sixers on the glass, as well as the offensive end, as none in this batch of bigs is known for their point production. None of these players have ever been a go-to guy, and their combined inability to create their own opportunities to score will drastically hurt the Sixers throughout the season by placing too much of the scoring duty on the other positions.

While the Sixers have added some athleticism this offseason, it is safe to say that the failure to add a formidable frontcourt piece will haunt them throughout the duration of the season.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Dwight as a Sixer Would Make Sense

Although he has expressed that his interest is only in joining the nets in new jersey, soon to be Brooklyn, a case could be made that Philadelphia would be a good fit, and fine destination for one Dwight Howard.

Philly fans should not get any exciting ideas from this post, as Dwight has made it quite clear that the Nets are the only team he would be interested in re-singing with ( for whatever reason).  However with  New Jersey's recent acquisition of Joe Johnson all but eliminating any possibility of that occurring, it seems that both the Sixers and Dwight's camp, would benefit from a move bringing Dwight to the City of Brotherly Love. 

Dwight has expressed that he wants to go somewhere that would be 'his team', rather than joining an already star-studded roster as has become the trend.  The Sixers would be perfect for this criteria because although their roster is teeming with talent there isn't that one alpha dog. Dwight could assume this role while being surrounded by a cast of talented young players that compliment his game. The young point guard is in place, as is a plethora of slashing wing players, and thanks to the draft, a depth of athletic and versatile four men who could play off of Dwight in the paint.  With the Sixers Dwight would have a team to call his own while still being surrounded by strong young talent; such a situation would not exist with many other teams in the League at this point in time.

Personnel wise for the Sixers it would be a no-brainer.  They are one of the most well-rounded teams in the League, but they have desperately lacked a prominent big guy and a superstar and Dwight would fill both of those roles. Whatever the Sixers have to lose in order to acquire Howard, would be well worth it, Andre Iguodala included.  The core combination that the team would retain, plus Dwight would immediately turn them into a contender, especially in the somewhat shallow East.

Again, this scenario is not going to occur, as Dwight made it quite clear it is not his interest, and it is not a definite that the young Sixer squad should even want a player as potentially destructive as Dwight, but it would certainly make sense for both sides.