On Tuesday, Philadunkia’s Tim Parker wrote about the Sixers brevity at the power forward and center positions on the current roster. He discussed the existing lineup of big men and their ample offensive effectiveness from any spot on the floor, all the while making it a point to unearth their lack of bone shattering physicality on the defensive end. Though the 7-6 are sitting among the League’s elite in the first quarter of the 2012 NBA season, it seems as though the bubble could burst soon.
Or at least deflate.
Though we agree that Spencer Hawes and his team of gangly goons can light it up from 15-20 feet on any night (opening up the floor for Sweet Lou and Jrue Holiday to run rampant among a wide open lane), they lack that special something that makes guys like Kevin Garnett and Tyson Chandler coveted “Bigs” in the NBA for their actions on the defensive end.
Yes, it may seem like we are finding nominal intricacies to complain about among the first place 7-6 and yes, I at least (as I’m sure Tim is as well) am ecstatic about that happening (even if the Sixers schedule has featured more powder puffs than giants). But (like Tim said, “there always is a but…”), the current assimilation of big men is worrisome.
So how do the Sixers fix it?
Do they keep the team the way it is? Do they sign a cold baller sitting in his street clothes, nibbling on some chicken wings? Do you try to trade for an available big? Do you dismantle a few pieces of this young nucleus in hopes of adding better veteran depth?
I’m not too entirely sure what the best option would be. Though I am going to sit on the side of “keep the team the way it is”/“sign a cold baller sitting in his street clothes”, the pure bliss of a modern NBA pipe dream is something I can’t help but succumb to.
So here are a few possibilities that I think would suffice as viable options to help fill the seemingly large void in the front court.
Disclaimer: These are ideas. I repeat these are IDEAS that are available and COULD work, that could help, that could provide added depth, veteran machismo, and toughness. Just because I write it, does not mean I want it; I’m just merely putting thoughts on paper. As most of our consistent readers know, I am a firm believer in the Sixers development based on continuity. Though I may have conservative blood flowing through my veins, from time to time it’s fun to take a walk on the side less reasonable and more risqué. So from least risky to most, here are six options that I think the Sixers could make that would help solidify their big man problem:
1. D.J. Mbenga – Bring on the fan favorite “Congo Cash” and his assortment of fade away jump shots, goofy looking ears, highlight blocks and funny accent. At the age of 31, the seven-footer is still looking for a team to rightfully call his own. If he doesn’t contribute on the actual court, an NBA franchise should never discredit the positivity a number one bench guy can bring to a young team. For that and the potential White Mamba-esque vibes flowing through the WFC when Congo Cash checks in during blowouts, is absolutely worth a $900,000 flyer.
2. Joe Smith – 14 years ago, Joe Smith was traded to the 7-6 and bombed. Eight years later, he was again traded to Philly as a throw in with Andre Miller for Allen Iverson. Third times the charm? It never seemed as though Smith got over the Warriors trading him after coming in second for Rookie of the Year in 1995. Since that initial trade, Smith has been a fabled journeyman making his rounds season by season; 12-total. He is a body. He is a veteran. That’s about it.
3. Hamady N’Diaye – The once soccer enthusiast turned basketball player is STILL! available, Dikembe-ing his way through the D-League (2.5 BPG since joining the Iowa Energy). This is a guy who never touched a basketball until he was well into high school, was the starting center for Rutgers, averaged 4.5 blocks per game for the Scarlet Knights, and won Big East Defensive Player of the Year in 2010. He’s raw but has shown flashes of basketball brilliance, mainly on the defensive end. Assuming you can pry him from the Wizards, “H” could be a nice guy to take a flyer on.
4. Leon Powe – At only 28 years old, Powe has been a glorified minute’s eater from the moment he entered the league. His 6’8”, 240 pound body along with his 3.8 rebounds and 6.2 points per game for his career could help as well. Yes, he’s been a mainstay on the IR, but he can help on both sides of the court and would seemingly fit into Coach Collins’system.
5. Joel Przybilla – He’s 7’1”, 245. Averages four points, 6.3 boards and 1.5 blocks per game for his career. He’s a big body, can presumably still play, can suck up minutes and possibly pull out another 25-rebound game from time to time. Other than that, “Przy” is about the equivalent of a giant yawn and a worthy shoulder shrug. Nonetheless, he could help.
6. Erik Dampier – Another seasoned vet for the list. Sure he wasn’t very helpful for the Heat. Yes, his attitude and will to play outside of contract seasons has always been in question. And fine, he looked a little fat, slow and often showed his age (36) in recent years. Still, he could show a flash if he gets into shape and is another body to throw at the physical bangers in the East.
7. Kyrylo Fesenko – Mainly adding him to the list to hear Doug Collins and the rest of the Sixers try to pronounce his name. I also would find it interesting to hear how the Sixers PA guys would announce him in the starting lineup. “FROM DNIPROPETROVSK, U-S-S-RRRRRRRRRRRRRR-KYRYLO FESENKOOOOOO!” The Russian is 7’1”, 280 pounds. Not what you would call your everyday Ivan Drago, but at the very least, he’s a distant cousin. He would be an interesting sign, not so much because of what he can do with his size, but because with only four years in the league, he is an extremely raw talent. But as the age old adage says, you can’t engineer size like that, no matter how much Sly Stallone wants you to believe you can.
8. Rasheed Wallace – Though I may take an insurmountable amount of heat for even mentioning his name, ‘Sheed announced last week that he is ready for a comeback tour around the NBA. So, like any normal human being, I immediately texted my buddy Dave and this transpired- Me: “SHEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEED!” Dave: “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”
Sure he may not be sexy on the court or in real life, and the spot in his hair may resemble the excrement from a bird overhead; but the guy is so damn entertaining. Who else works the officials, whines, and acts like a drunken white girl in the 18th hour of a 24-hour kegger? You got me, it’s LeBron James. But on a serious note, who else works officials, plays hard and physical defense in the paint, gets into his opponents heads, talks so much trash it makes Reggie Miller smile and gives the best nicknames of anyone in the league? Rasheed Wallace! His 14.6 points, 6.7 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks per game for his career speak for themselves. Fine he’s 37, but if this team needs something, it’s that savvy, hard noised, kind of crazy veteran that relieves the tension young teams often have after hardship losing streaks. If that is still not enough to convince you, his sound bites are absolutely legendary and would allow every meathead sports fan in Philadelphia to have a reason to call into the WIP. Find me a better free agent to do all of that while contributing to the team than “Roscoe” aka “Dirty 30” aka “Sheed” aka Rasheed Wallace.
9. Kenyon Martin – The free agent that departed for the CBA during the worst days of the lockout is going to be a hot commodity whenever he is released from his Chinese captors. A career 13.5/7.2/1.2 guy, Kenyon and his amazing assortment of tattoos (my favorite was his once giant pair of red lips that stuck out on his neck like a giant hickey; dedicated to ex-girlfriend, rapper Trina) could add that toughness to the Philly squad. The 7-6 may not have enough cap room to be able to match other NBA franchises offers, whom will likely overpay for Martin, so they’ll have to “woo” him with their coach, system, schemes, and young roster that could be a Fountain of Youth for the 34-year old vet. If the Xinjiang Crouching Tiger/Hidden Dragons lose quickly or allow Martin, who “severed ties” with the team, to be released from his contract, he can be ready to go by March-which may just be perfect timing.
Again, these are just ideas and by no means are any of these options long term solutions. But they can be stop gaps in a season that is extremely important for the Sixers future development. Also, I don’t REALLY want ‘Sheed on the Sixers, I just love thinking I do.