A DIFFERENT APPROACH

Posted by: Steve Toll
07/23/13 10:14 am EST

Every summer NBA free agency is filled with good deals and bad deals.  Unfortunately, 76ers fans were witness to a catastrophe of epic proportions last summer (Bynum), that will be felt for years to come.

Shortly after being appointed the new General manager of the Sixers, Sam Hinkie chose a direction for this franchise nad laid out a plan for this off-season.  I vehemently disagree with how he is going about things.

In a later piece, I’ll delve into the topic of how difficult it is for very bad teams to turn into championship contenders.  Today, we’re going to take a leap of faith and assume that players gravitate towards the money in this world and for now I’ll look at this off-season after the Jrue trade, MCW’s selection and the moves that should have been made post-2013 Draft to make the 76ers relevant instead of a team that is 5 years from potentially becoming a winning basketball team.

If people from Philadelphia think we had a bad offseason last year, imagine how people in Denver feel.  Their best player from last year is now on Golden State, their 2nd best player has a torn up knee, their 3rd best player is 6 feet tall, they lost their GM and gave Kosta Koufos away for Darrell Arthur and the 55th pick in the draft.  The Nuggets went from 57 wins to a team that will be under .500 next year.  The things that matters to me about Denver’s off-season is Koufos, who emerged as a quality center last season.  Take a look at Lavoy Allen vs. Darrell Arthur.

Unless I am missing something (I’m not), Denver happily takes Lavoy and the 35th pick for Kosta Koufos instead of Arthur and the 55th pick.

Kwame Brown makes about $3 million next year.  The 76ers like all teams, has $3.1 million in cash to send in trades this year.  There is a team out there that would have taken the 76ers 42nd pick in the draft, Kwame and $3.1 million in cash.

Now that the 2013 Draft is over, it’s time to ship out Spencer Hawes.  I now understand the pain George R. Martin suffered when writing the chapter, “The Red Wedding” in Game of Thrones.  I can’t be specific about the trade but I imagine Charlotte might want to take a flyer on him for a year instead of paying Al Jefferson $42 million the next 3 years.  That is the most obvious one, but there is no doubt a team would take Spencer Hawes off the 76ers hands for a Euro drafted in 2002.

Contrary to the belief of Sam Hinkie, Andrew Bynum isn’t like the millions of free agents looking to play in the NBA.  He, when healthy, is a player that can be a major contributor on a championship.  That’s why I’d guarantee his whole $12 million this year and $4 million next year. I know what you’re thinking and here is a question I’d like to ask that should alleviate any concerns you might have, “Would you rather have J-Rich, ET, Hawes and Kwame next year instead?”

Dorell Wright is a quality player anyway you look at it and he’d be back in Philly on a 3 year $10.5 million dollar deal instead of the 2 year $6 million dollar deal he signed with Portland.  Dorell can shoot the 3, handle the ball, rebound and play adequate defense.  Wright is just 27 years old and this deal takes him through the apex of his basketball abilities.  He is the definition of a quality role player and a good guy to have on any team.

Andray Blatche was amnestied by the Wizards last year and had a rejuvenating year for the Brooklyn Nets.  He talked about loyalty and how he’d consider taking less money to stay in Brookyln.  He planned on doing just that until I offered him $2.5 million more than the Nets offer ($3.9 total) and Andray decided that the almighty dollar was too much to turn down.  Blatche is a more than capable player at this point in his career.  He’ll start at PF for the team.

Bringing in another shooter is a necessity, and I’d be adding Carlos Defino.  He’s 31 with injury issues, but he’ll only be counted on to play about 24 minutes a night.  Nothing he does is SportsCenter worthy, but Delfino is a positive player and a career 36.5% shooter from 3.  A 2 year deal paying $3.5 per season is enough to get him in a 76er uniform.

Filling out some minutes at SG-SF is DeMarre Carroll.  The Utah Jazz were very good with him on the floor last season.  He is a positive defensive player and this deal will take him through age 29.  His deal isn’t of note and neither is his skill-set but he is a valuable commodity at his salary.  Carroll signed a 2 year $5 million dollar deal, but I’d offer him 3yrs $9 million dollar offer.

Last and certainly least as it pertains to winning basketball games is the point guard.  Jrue’s former teammate at UCLA, Darren Collison, would be the starting PG next year.  A 2yr deal paying $2.5 million a year (player option in year 2) is too much to pass up for Collison.  Defensively, his size and ability leave something to be desired.  Offensively, he has a career 54.7 TS% and a 2.25:1 Assist:Turnover ratio.

Toney Douglas had a horrific 700 minutes during the lockout season but is otherwise a useful player at this stage in his career.  Like Collison, he shots better than 36% from three with a 2.1:1 assist:turnover ration. A 2 year deal paying $2.5 million per steals him away from the Warriors.

Filling out the PG spot is the NBA’s favorite spark plug, Nate Robinson.  He doesn’t seem like a PG, but the last 2 seasons he’s averaged 4.5 assist to go with 1.7 turnovers per game and a TS% over 53.  Like Collison and Douglas, Nate Robinson will be playing for $2.5 million this year.

With what little money there is left, I’d bring back SwaggyP to Philadelphia.  The ability to catch fire has value on good teams, as evidenced by his play with the Clippers in the playoffs in 2012.  SwaggyP actually had his best season last year (for whatever that’s worth) and is essentially at his peak being 28 years old.  His deal with the Lakers was for $1.2 million and I don’t really see how he turns down an extra $1,000,000 all things considered.

 

Below is the age each player will be at the end of the season, their position and salary.  The salary cap for 2013-2014 is 58,679,000.  The total team salary this team is $58.4 million.

ET and JRich account for  $4,787,697 against the salary cap.  I’ve rounded up the below players salaries for simplicity’s sake.

(26) Darren Collison PG $2.5

(28) Toney Douglas – PG $2.5

(29) Nate Robinson – PG $2.5

(22) MCW – PG $2.2

(28) SwaggyP – SG $2.2

(28) Dorell Wright – SG/SF $3.5

(31) Carlos Delfino – SG/SF $3.5

(27) DeMarre Caroll – SG/SF $3

(25) Thad – SF/PF $8.5

(27) Andray Blatche – PF/C $3.9

(20) Noel – PF $3.2

(23) Moultrie – PF  $1.1

(26) Andrew Bynum – C $12

(25) Kosta Koufos – C $3

 

Now for a quick overview of the team and the numbers guys put up last year.

Point Guards:

All 3 guys are capable enough players who can facilitate the offense and shoot the 3.  While it would be nice to have CP3, there is incredible value here for just $7.5 million next year.  There aren’t really enough minutes to go around but when you factor injuries into the equation, it doesn’t hurt to have 3 guys who can effectively run the point.  As for MCW, he will be spending the entire season playing for the newly acquired D-League team.

Shooting Guards and Small Forwards:

Here is an old piece on Thad that is relevant here.

Carroll is the defensive stopper and slasher of the group.  Delfino and Wright are the starters at SG and SF.  They can both shoot the 3, pass the ball and play adequate defense.  SwaggyP is the obvious pure gunner.  Thad will play most of his minutes at SF this year and hopefully can become an adequate 3pt shooter once again.

Power Forwards and Centers:

With the leagues transition to small ball type of basketball, all these guys except Thad can step in and play C for a spell.  Fans shouldn’t expect Bynum to play 35 minutes per game next year or out up his numbers from 11-12 but they should expect him to be very effective when he is on the court.  Koufos and Blatche were both very effective last year and will allow the team to take every necessary precaution with Bynum throughout the season by limiting his minutes.  Thad and Moultrie will backup Blatche at PF.

Nerlens Noel will miss the beginning of the year and then head down to the D-League to complete his rehab and gets his legs back under him.  Once he is healthy, he’ll be given the chance to battle for playing time.

One thing that I’ve always been concerned with is a team having 240 minutes of quality guys to play.  This team fits the bill in that regard.  No team in the NBA has the depth of this squad.  The starting team can compete with anyone and the backups are by far the best group in the NBA.

Versatility would be the teams hallmark and there is no style they couldn’t play effectively.  Most of the team are guys who are either entering or are in the prime of their career.  Three capable point guards, 7 guys who can hit the 3, a group of 4 front court players who range from good to All-NBA and 3 young guys who if they can contribute positively is just icing on the cake.  The health the roster, most notably Andrew Bynum, is the key to this roster and how far they can go.

Each year there is a great deal of value to be had in free agency.  Looking at it, it’s very tough to take the tanking approach when it’s so easy to put together a very good team, if healthy.  The current 76ers have future assets where their value is all speculation.

Each NBA off-season allows for teams to pick assets based on evidence that was played out in past seasons.  As I lamented last year about letting Lou and Meeks, missing out on awesomely cheap guys like Matt Barnes and “Birdman” along with supremely undervalued guys like Ryan Anderson (all of whom HOU missed out on).

I just can’t advocate what Sam Hinkie has decided to do with the 76ers.  I look at the above roster and see a team that could conceivably win a championship.  I look at Sam Hinkie’s 76ers and see a team that won’t be in the playoffs for 5 years.


 
 
 

22 Responses to “A DIFFERENT APPROACH”

  1. Ransom Cozzillio
    23. July 2013 at 10:56

    Ok, Steve, I’ll try to leave the “if Bynum stays healthy” thing alone, because he won’t. That notwithstanding, how exactly is this a team that can “conceivably win a championship”?

    Let’s just assume Bynum stays healthy AND is as good as he was pre-injuries (a pretty big concession don’t you think?) He has never been even the 3rd best player on a legit contender but he could be the best player and only all-star on this team and make them contenders?

    On that note, I’m sure you’ve noticed that this team only has one all-nba type player (Bynum). Name the last Champion that you could say that about? I’ll wait…. The popular answer is Detroit in 04, except they had 3-4 all-stars, two of whom are sure HOFers. The team you built has one All-star, and 8 dudes who couldn’t even start for non-contenders last year…

  2. RYN_JAY
    23. July 2013 at 11:16

    I’ll stick with Hinkie’s plan, thank you very much. Thank god your a writer and not a GM.

  3. Tom
    23. July 2013 at 11:25

    An interesting approach, but it’s one that’d leave us in the same limbo we were in two years ago. At absolute best this team is a 6th seed in a weak eastern conference. Wright is a decent all around player, that’s true, but a team that features him in the starting lineup has little to no chance at doing anything worthwhile. Say what you will about DC’s coaching abilities but there was a reason wright lost playing time and numerous compiled DNP-CDs. Hinkie isnt looking for quick fixes to make a formidable team like the one you put together, focusing instead on building a club that will have a shot at being a championship contender for years to come.

  4. Chris H.
    23. July 2013 at 11:25

    Steve,
    Like “Ransom’s” comments I agree that the team listed above is by no means championship material, and you really do take some liberties with Bynum’s Health. But the problem is, and I don’t see how you don’t feel this way, consistent mediocrity. Aren’t you tired of your team fighting for that 7th/8th playoff seed every year and getting stuck with mediocre players? I loved Jrue Holiday (my favorite Sixer since Iverson) but if we can get a defensive stopper and a probable top 3 pick (due to tanking)as well as a possible 6-12 pick in an ultra-loaded, ultra-deep draft, I have no problem sucking this year and the next to do so. I know that there are no guarantees in life, but the closest thing to a guarantee is that a NBA team that is stuck in mediocrity, stays in mediocrity unless you either have an extremely aggressive/lucky GM (a la Nets…I think so at least) or you get enough top picks that you become good (Thunder, Bulls, Warriors etc). I know and respect that you don’t agree with Hinkie, but I feel as though someone FINALLY has a plan on this team. I am willing to wait 3 years for a contender. We’ve already been waiting 12 years.

  5. Jake Fischer
    23. July 2013 at 11:34

    Steve,

    You’re far too radical to ever be considered even remotely sensible. You assume everything based off of your opinion and stats. You don’t know how the business works of trading players and free agency. Stop assuming and preaching your opinions as fact.

  6. Brennan
    23. July 2013 at 11:37

    Man if this were to happen the sixers would be in the lottery every year. If you mean winning that way then is is sure fire. However winning a title with this group is not realistic.

  7. Adam
    23. July 2013 at 12:01

    Why are u trying to avoid the 2014 draft in favor of mediocrity and less cap space? I dont get it.

    U rebuild around star players u get in the draft… Thats just how its done.

  8. Ransom Cozzillio
    23. July 2013 at 12:20

    Adam,

    you rebuild around assets. Highly drafted ones just happen to be one of the most valuable forms.

  9. Alex Hootan
    23. July 2013 at 12:36

    Steve,
    Your plan will probably wine more games than the plan Hankie has put in place. But in 2-3 years Sixers will be in the same spot they are now. I have two major issues with what your are saying.
    First Sixers do not want to win too many games as they need to stay competitive in the drat. Next year draft is very good all the way to 15 pick. They can have a better than 75% chance to get one of top 4 picks and 25% to get 1st pick.
    Second in bringing players like Koufos, Blatche, Delfino and Wright, Sixers accomplish nothing, since these are not cornerstone for a contender in NBA. Bynum is done just wait 2 month into the season. Blatche is not so good in the locker room and lets give Wyatt and Kasmi some playing time to develop instead of bringing Delfino and Koufus .
    Finally on Hinkie’s decisions , all we seen so far is that is has got rid of many contracts including Holiday to bring in potentials to evaluate. After all if you are tanking that is the best course of action. No need to send MCW or Noel to D league, Sixes are D league this year. Stay away from quick fixes.

  10. TB
    23. July 2013 at 13:14

    Your scenario above puts us as a 6 seed in the playoffs behind Miami, Brooklyn, Chicago, Indiana and New York. That’s the best case scenario, and we’re not beating those teams with the roster above. While I applaud the effort to assemble the above roster above, the Sixers finally have a plan and are not satisfied with just making the playoffs. I am all for “tanking” this year if it means we get Wiggins and possibly another Top 10 pick (hoping for an injury or two with New Orleans). Free up money for next off-season, when the market is rich. I would do the following 6 steps:

    #1 – Trade Spencer Hawes mid-season to a contender in need of a back-up center for a late 1st round pick.
    #2 – Take that late 1st round pick along with your #1 pick from the Pelicans and move up a few slots. For this discussion, lets say from #10 to #7.
    #3 – Draft Wiggins #1 to be your starting SG. (He is a small SF right now at 6-7ft and lean.)
    #4 – At pick #7 take the best available impact player (C-Willie Cauley-Stein or PG/SG-Andrew Harrison). This gives you flexibiliy with your line-ups.
    #5 – Sign Luol Deng to a 4yr deal to be your starting SF. You now just got one of the best defenders in the league who is still in his prime. (we’re not getting Lebron, so don’t even go there)
    #6 – Finally (My one long shot idea) trade Evan Turner and your 2nd round pick to Utah for Derrick Favors, who has a qualifying offer in 2014. Sign Derrick Favors to a 4yr deal.

  11. Ransom Cozzillio
    23. July 2013 at 13:43

    TB,

    I love your end result there, but no way are several of those steps happening. If Orlando couldn’t get a 1st rounder this past year at the deadline for Redick, no way are we getting a 1st rounder, in a better draft, for Hawes.

    Let’s say you could tho, and got the 30th pick for Hawes. In a draft this higly regarded 10 and 30 likely won’t get you up to 7 but you never know. Let’s say it did.

    No way is Utah giving up Favors ( I know you admitted it was the long shot and you’re right). Only even remote chance would be to package 7 + Turner + Moultrie. And even then, that’s likely only on the table if Favors has a down year.

  12. TB
    23. July 2013 at 14:05

    Fair Enough.

    I agree that you’d probably have to throw in more than just Hawes to get a backend of the 1st round draft pick.

    I want to see the Sixers put ET at the PG this season and see how he responds. I think he has been playing out of position. Make the starting line-up the following:

    PG: ET
    SG: J Rich
    SF: Thad
    PF: LaVoy
    C: Hawes

    This way MCW doesn’t have any pressure on him coming off the bench. LaVoy comes off the court first, and ET slides to SF with Thad to the 4 to allow MCW to play the point. I honestly don’t see any other scenario with the current players on the roster.

  13. Datruth4life2.0
    23. July 2013 at 14:17

    Steve, nice try, but I think I’d stick with Hinkie’s plan of 5 draft picks next year (2 lottery, 3 2nd rounders) and a Thad trade away from having the cap space to land 2 Max FAs next summer. And being $19M below the luxury tax threshold means that Hinkie can still accumulate assets this year by taking on other team’s contracts in 3-way trades. Please, don’t give up your day job.

  14. Yeah! No...
    23. July 2013 at 15:55

    Obviously it’s laughable, he’s talking up Dorel…

    @tb. I’d like to see et come to point, I still don’t think he has the mental toughness to be a star. He puts up numbers then stumbles, again and again. But I think he deserves a chance to play his true position.

    But let’s put LaVoy to bed. He’s a decent rebounder but he’s undersized and a limited scoring threat.

    So, We keep grabbing evaluating talent, get Noel’s healthy, draft well, then 2015-16 could be in the playoffs.

  15. Steve
    23. July 2013 at 18:19

    This is the most ridiculous article I have read in a long, long time. There is no way the team you just posted would be above an 8 seed let alone a championship caliber team. Keep on dreaming buddy. Hinkie has a plan that will have the Sixers competing for YEARS if the Pelicans don’t do all that well and we get two 2014 picks in the lottery (which by the way is the most stacked since the K.D/Oden draft). Along with Thad, and hopefully a little bit more 2nd overall pick hype coming to light, from Evan Turner with being the focal point of the team next year. That’s a good foundation with 4 up and coming players all drafted in the lottery. Just be a little patient for a team that hasn’t won all that much since A.I left. This new identity is a formula that worked wonders for Daryl Morey in Houston, we’ve tried everything else, why not give him a shot? Couldn’t hurt.

  16. Dog
    23. July 2013 at 18:31

    Did Steve Toll really write this or did someone hack in to the website and post this under his name? What a joke! In the NBA, you need to bottom out to get better. As several have commented above, Toll’s approach will win a few more games next season but at the expense of dooming the team to further mediocrity. Who wants to be the 8th best team in the East for the next decade?

    Under the Hinkie Plan, the Sixers will stink next year and pick up two more blue chippers in the 2014 draft. Once we get a good young nucleus, we can sign a few of Toll’s role players (these guys are available every year!). Until then, let’s field the worst team possible to get the best draft picks possible.

  17. Jon in LA
    24. July 2013 at 01:25

    Steve Toll,

    Didn’t you say Calderon would sign for like 4mil a year or something? If that’s the case, you can’t be so sure your assumptions about what these players will sign for is accurate.

  18. Ransom Cozzillio
    24. July 2013 at 14:02

    I just noticed that Chris H. put my name in quotes haha.

    But yeah, this plan only makes sense if you’re comfortable calling the Philadelphia 76ers “The Milwaukee Bucks” for the next decade+…

  19. Joe
    25. July 2013 at 09:52

    Steve Toll,

    Why the big change of heart since you wrote this?

    http://philadunkia.com/?p=8618

  20. Jim
    25. July 2013 at 12:50

    Steve,

    You might be the most hypocritical writer I’ve ever seen… did your parents send you to your basement before you wrote this? You have said numerous times the Bynum trade was awful and that we need to tank, and that our draft day trade had the potential to be the best ever. What happened? You think that team you just listed could honestly go any further than the East semis?

    Nick Young and Dorell Wright hated their time here, you have no idea if they would have signed here and what for. Philadelphia isn’t LA and Charlotte just had to pay 4 times the market value for a veteran to show how difficult it is to entice players to come play for bottom dweller teams.
    While you’re in your parents basement you should check out some online economic courses to audit so you may understand that factors beyond money go into business decisions.

  21. Joe
    26. July 2013 at 08:08

    I’ve just quickly put these numbers together. Here are the Heat’s twelve highest scoring WS48 players from last season vs the team you’re proposing (used Bynum’s 11-12 WS48), Steve, with the differences as well:

    Player WS48 Player WS48 Delta
    Bynum 0.183 LeBron James 0.322 -0.139
    Koufos 0.171 Chris Andersen 0.207 -0.036
    Blatche 0.153 Dwyane Wade 0.192 -0.039
    Moultrie 0.149 Chris Bosh 0.175 -0.026
    Thad 0.136 Mike Miller 0.137 -0.001
    Robinson 0.136 Ray Allen 0.126 0.01
    Carroll 0.134 Mario Chalmers 0.12 0.014
    Wright 0.132 Shane Battier 0.119 0.013
    Collison 0.114 Dexter Pittman 0.114 0
    Delfino 0.101 Udonis Haslem 0.108 -0.007
    Douglas 0.089 Joel Anthony 0.1 -0.011
    Swaggy 0.079 Rashard Lewis 0.071 0.008

    Your proposed team is 0.21 WS48 behind the champs – so it’s missing a piece just a bit bigger than Wade was for the Heat last year with his 0.19 WS48. I don’t see that team even contending to win a championship for this reason.

  22. Jojoba
    27. July 2013 at 06:02

    Haha, steve you r the biggest contrarian on earth. When hinkie traded jrue you said that ” might be the best trade in the history of the NBA”. You never wanted bynum. You have been preaching for the slicers to tank since last year for wiggins (did you forget your words from 5 months ago: http://philadunkia.com/?p=8618?).

    Hinkie has done almost exactly what you wanted since last year and now you don’t like hinkie? You are trying to be too much like a Howard Eskin type guy but when you write for a blog online it’s so easy to see your full of *\¥%

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