08/03/11 9:48 am EST
Of course, that is if there is a 2011-12 NBA season.
We also don’t believe that the Sixers are going to acquire Dwight Howard any time soon.
With those premises in mind, the Philadunkia scribes were charged with submitting a name from the long list of former Sixers centers that each individual thought could cure the 7-6’s ills in the middle for next season.
There was only one rule — you could not choose Wilt.
One other note — it is assumed that these “dream” centers who would be inserted into the 2011-12 Sixers lineup would play at their “prime” level that we witnessed during their Sixers career.
Each writer also included several lines of text in defense of their choice.
We think Doug Collins would be very pleased with our selections.
Tom Sunnergren– This was not difficult. Asking me to pick a historical Sixers’ center who would upgrade the position for us was like asking a guy with a “My Kid Could Kick Your Honor Student’s Ass” – bumper sticker to pick a past president who would be better than Obama. Answer: any of them. So here’s the fish I shot in this overflowing barrel. Dikembe Mutombo.
Why Deke? Outside of the fact that he was an outstanding rebounder (he led the League in total rebounds four times and killed the glass on both ends), a tremendous interior presence (five time leader in total blocks and four time Defensive Player of the Year), and a genuinely terrifying man, well, not much. But I think that’s enough.
Nabeel Ahmadieh– Theo Ratliff. The Sixers were completely manhandled by dominant opposing centers throughout the season. Our inside presence on defense was a major flaw with Spencer Hawes and Mo Speights as our final line of defense. The team already has a collection of scorers, so my vote goes to somebody who can protect the rim. Also, Ratliff was a good finisher around the rim in Philadelphia to go along with at least 3 blocks per game in each of his three seasons.
Carey Smith– While Moses Malone and Dikembe Mutombo are better all-around basketball players then my choice and probably would do a very good job plugging the hole in the middle for the 2011-12 Sixers, I’m going in a different direction. In my opinion the best fit for this current lineup is Theo Ratliff. As we all know, Theo was a great shot blocker and solid rebounder which are two items the current Sixers desperately need. But you could argue that Moses and Deke were better at both of those skill sets.
So why is Theo my choice? Two reasons: (1) Because he can get out on the break with this young team and finish with authority (something neither Moses or Deke can do.) and (2) Theo doesn’t need the ball in the half-court. He’s going to get his points of put backs, tip ins and hustle plays. Moses and Deke both needed frequent touches in the low post to be effective. That type of slow down, grind it out offense doesn’t suit this team. Additionally, with Brand, AI9, Louis and Holiday shooting at will, I am not sure there will be enough looks at the basket to keep Moses and / or Deke happy. So chemistry was a factor in selecting Theo as well.
Theo was also a very underrated on-ball defender — a nice bonus.