While watching NBA TV’s “The Dream Team” last night, it dawned on me that the “Round Mound of Rebound” last played for the Sixers 20-years ago. Since then, Philly has somewhat struggled filling those size 16 shoes Charles Barkley left behind, completing only eight seasons with a record of .500 or better.
In the words of Chuck, “THAT’S TURRIBLE!”
What makes it worse is that during that time frame, names like Manute Bol, ShawnBradley, Derrick Coleman, Theo Ratliff, Tim Thomas, Tyrone Hill, Toni Kukoc’s corpse, Todd MacCulloch, Dikembe Mutombo, Derrick “Heavy D” McKey, Keith “High Socks are Cool too” Van Horn, Glenn Robinson’s corpse, Samuel Dalembert, and Joe Smith have graced the various 76ers rosters at the forward/center positions.
Some provided a consistent security that was enough to get the Sixers to the playoffs and even an NBA Finals birth, but most were nothing but stop gaps simply added to provide depth and hopeful lightning in a bottle.
The lack of signing/drafting/trading for a truly prosperous big man ultimately killed the Iverson Era and set the franchise back quite some time. Now, with the taste of this year’s NBA Eastern Conference Semifinals loss fresh in the mouths of the Sixers “Brain Trust”, the need for a dominate forward/center that fits the style of basketball the Sixers want to play is essential.
We wrote last week about the shooting guard options on the free agent market. Today we will look at some of the free agnet options that can come in immediately and make an impact at the four and five spots.
But before you continue on reading, let me warn you, there are slim pickings on the free agent market, so obtaining a big that the franchise can mold looks to be more important than ever; as I’m sure most of you agree, Spencer Hawes and Elton Brand are nothing more than, well, more stop gaps.
The Hills Have Eyes
Chris Kaman: Wait! Hear me out! Kaman can play both the four and five positions on the floor and is savvy in the way he gets the job done down low. He’s 30-years old, seemingly and finally healthy (so really his body in the terms of NBA minutes is significantly younger) and is as consistent as they come. Try on for size, 11.9 points per game, 8.3 rebounds per game and a 48.3% field goal percentage. He also posted a +14.89 efficiency rating this year once he came back from injury. After making an idiotic fourteen or so odd million from the Clippers the last couple of years, a lower contract from a winning team could sway the Bobcat killer to join their ranks. Fine, he could be added to that stop gap list. But would you rather an eventual rookie replacement learning from Kaman or Spencer Hawes?
The Soon to be Favorite
Antawn Jamison: With Danny Ferry being the early leader to fill Rod Thorn’s soon to be vacant Presidential role, it seems like this is one of those “I’ve got a feeling” signings. You know, because this 36-year old knows how to get the job done and all…
The Long Shot
Roy Hibbert: There is little to no chance the Pacers let the first time All-Star walk but if Jeremy Lin can get off of a couch and be good at NBA basketball, there is always a chance, right? What also may put an early dagger in bringing the young (mentally and physically) center to Philadelphia would be the dollar, dollar bills. Due to the fact that the Sixers don’t have nearly enough money to throw at the restricted free agent center, if he is a potential target, the Brain Trust better amnesty Brand right now. With that said, the Queens,New York native could entertain the idea of moving closer to home if the money was right and I wouldn’t mind knowing the Sixers are anchored by Jrue, Evan and Roy Hibbert’s 25-year old, 7’2” body for the foreseeable future.
The Ol’ Western
Tim Duncan: He’s unrestricted… and he’s resigning with the Spurs. Unless pigs start flying tomorrow and Guy Fieri decides to stop wearing his sunglasses on the back of his neck at the same moment when he’s dying his hair back to its normal color, he will retire a Spur as well. With that said, its fun to think about Duncan knocking down bank shots in the red, white and blue.
Kevin Garnett: His name has to be on this list after what he just did in the playoffs, right? The 36-year old looked 26 again after Doc switched him to the center position, watched his minutes and encouraged him to be more selfish. Now imagine if he goes and gets the same knee treatment Kobe did during the off season. Are his postseason numbers inconceivable during an entire NBA season? Can he not repeat these again numbers again 31.3 minutes per game in the regular season this year, scoring 15.8 points per game on 50.3% shooting; 36.9 minutes per game while scoring 19.2 points per game on 49.7% shooting good for a +22.6 efficiency rating during the playoffs. He’s a defensive beast, he’s a bit psychotic and he’s a great leader. Will this sign ever happen? If the Celtics decide to go in another direction; why not? All I know is, the Sixers need to be waiting outside his door because bar none, KG knows how to win, knows how to teach young talented players the keys to winning and is a brilliant mind in the game of basketball.
Kim Kardashian’s favorite baller
Kris Humphries: Based on comments, sports radio and scanning the World Wide Web, Philadelphia fans want to take in the world’s least favorite Kardashian and give him a humble home where fans only boo for lack of basketball effort; not based on his abilities as a boyfriend/fiancé. The New Jersey Nets seem to be parting ways with the 6’9’’ power forward after his best statistical year (13.8 points, 11 rebounds and 1.2 blocks) and he would truly be an immaculate sign by management. Humphries is extremely low maintenance while on the court and has proven to be a hustle/rebound type of guy; perfect for Collins. For those that don’t like KH for reasons only E! and the Kardashian’s understand, remember a few things. He is only 27-years old, an age that often coincides with players primes. Sure he’s not a number one, franchise changing big man, but he can come in immediately and change the stars around at least. What attracts me to Humphries is his willingness and ability to set high screens for a point guard. The combination of Humphries and Deron Williams starting the offense for New Jersey last year was extremely effective; often springing the guard to amicable scoring opportunities. When D-Will got doubled, Humphries knocked down open looks, shooting 41% from mid-range during the season. If that’s not enough, maybe his +19.58 efficiency rating on a terrible team this year will sway you.
Obviously, there aren’t many “franchise” guys on the open market. That’s because a “franchise” forwards and centers usually get signed, then re-signed, then re-signed again. There are a couple guys that could find their way to Philadelphia depending on how things shake out this offseason, but if I were in charge of the “Brain Trust”, focusing on obtaining a young, future All-Star in the draft and sifting through shooting guards in the free agent pool is the better way to go.