A DIFFERENT APPROACH

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.

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