Last week the sale of 76ers by Comcast to New York billionaire hedge-fund guy Joshua Harris went final.
While Harris is a very well respected and obviously successful man in the business world, his basketball pedigree is non-existent. So all of Philadunkia nation is very curious and perhaps a little nervous about what kind of moves the Sixers Mark Cuban in-the-making will pull off.
This post is the second in a two part series in which the Philadunkia scribes attempt to predict what changes Harris will make to the 76ers organization. Today will examine some of the Sixers down on the court — Doug Collins, Andre Iguodala and a surprise subject — and try to forecast whether or not these game day folks will be employed by the 7-6 for the 2011-12 season.
Tom Sunnergren— Go, but only for the right price. An underrated fact about Andre Iguodala is that, despite his jump shot, he’s really, really good at playing basketball. Like, according to a recent aggregationof all the reputable advanced stats out there (two wins produced iterations, plus Basketball Reference’s win shares), 21st in the NBA overall and 4th at small forward good. That said, we have a gaping hole in the middle and a youngin’ being blocked (Turner), so if we can move Iggy for a defensive presence/rebounder at the 5, I’m, grudgingly, in.
Nabeel Ahmadieh— Go. It’s time to move on. Iguodala is a premier defender, good all-around player and great character in the locker room. He’s had a good career donning the Sixers colors. However, for the amount of money he’s making, he’s never going to be a superstar in this league. The Sixers need a go-to scorer, and as shown by last season, AI9 is not that. Iguodala himself seems to want out, but with the pending lockout it might not be possible to move him anytime soon.
Kevin Jones— He should already be gone, but now he will stay. The hardcore readers at Philadunkia know I’ve wanted AI9 gone for some time now. But in my mind that opportunity may have passed. In NBA trades, defense is deeply undervalued which means that not many teams assess Iguodala’s worth at the correct price. He will turn 28 in January; probably right around the time the season is going to begin. At this point I’d only be willing to trade him for a center who at least has fringe all-star capabilities. The Vucevic pick holds off any type of deal that I would want for a few seasons. Sounds to me like were stuck with him again.
Carey Smith — Either. I can’t remember a Sixer that I flip-flopped more on the Iguodala. When he was healthy this season, he played very well for a second banana level player (which is what he is). So while I understand why people grow frustrated with ‘Dre and wanted him traded this past season, I was against it. However, he was awful in nearly all of the Miami series and then his end of the year comments were just pathetic. So back in June, I was ready to jettison him out of town ASAP. Now that I have a little distance from those events, I am not as ready to trade him, but I am not totally against it either. For me it has to be the right deal for the Sixers. One that absolutely makes them better. A trade for either Ellis or Kaman does not make the Sixers better. If that deal is not out there, then you hold on to him and plug him into the lineup every night.
Tom Sunnergren — Though there are some pretty compelling arguments out there that NBA coaches are more or less interchangeable, there’s also a pretty compelling argument to be made that Doug Collins isn’t. Like, I don’t know, last season. DC took a team that looked on paper to be lottery bound, and coached them to a 24-17 record in the season’s back 9 (38-28 from Nov. 26 on) and a closer-than-it-looked loss to the Heat in the playoffs. It was one of–and I think I’m exaggerating only within the acceptable norms of sports writing in saying this–the greatest coaching performances in recent league history. God bless you Doug Collins. God f****** bless you.
Nabeel Ahmadieh — Stay. In his very first year with the Sixers, Collins took a team with poor expectations through a thrilling regular season journey into the postseason. Few expected the success generated by Collins, especially following a 3-13 start. Despite his age — turning 60 on the 28th of July — and that he’s likely not here for the long haul (never coached longer than three seasons in three prior stints), there’s no question Collins earned another season with the club.
Kevin Jones— Stay. There is no justifiable way to get rid of a leader who was in the coach of the year discussion for majority of the season. Collins is an excellent communicator, a proponent of sacrificing – benching ET, AI9’s non-scoring role – and his defensive tactics were the number one reason in Sixers transformation last year. Since the NBA has become the sports world’s equivalent to a reality show, Collins has immunity for at least two seasons.
Carey Smith — Stay. This is a no-brainer and you don’t get to be a billionaire by NOT recognizing no-brainers.
Tom Sunnergren — Go. Given our excellent team name, why not go with a Founding Fathers angle at mascot? Who wouldn’t love to see Ben Franklin doing trampoline dunks to warm up the crowd? Hip-Hop’s okay (he isn’t), but is he a brilliant/womanizing/philosopher/scientist/diplomat/author who popularized the study of electricity, had a hand in the discovery of oxygen (and the subsequent notion of an ecosystem), proved the existence of the Gulf Stream, and, oh I don’t know, signed the Declaration of Independence? No, I guess he didn’t do any of those things.
Nabeel Ahmadieh — Stay. In all honesty, I could care less. Mascots don’t do it for me. However, cheerleaders do. Now if we were discussing which cheerleaders can “stay or go,” this would be a different story.
Kevin Jones— Go. NBA mascots in the past have been for children’s purposes only. Well I would change that by creating ‘Cheesy’, a real life Philly cheesesteak. Of course he wouldn’t become as popular as the Philly Phanatic, but I think Cheesy could become a staple at the Wells Fargo Center. Adults would want photos with him. He could interact with fans at Pat’s and Geno’s during offseason fundraisers. He could have smaller sidekicks like provolone and wiz. I’m about to copyright this idea.
Carey Smith — Go. I never understood this mascot when it was introduced and it’s time to cut ties with one of the last remaining connections to the Iverson era.