Suddenly the 76ers seem to have a plan. After releasing Elton Brand it seemed that Spencer Hawes and Kwame Brown were going to be the only proven big men on the team’s roster. Although they had a cadre of small forwards and had obtained a promising rookie power forward (Arnett Moultrie) in a draft day trade, things were in such disarray that the team’s depth chart on Yahoo projected that rookie Moe Harkless was likely to be their starting center.
In a daring move that probably has been discussed for weeks, if not much longer, Philadelphia is poised to add Andrew Bynum to its roster as part of a four team trade with Orlando. All of a sudden the move to sign Nick Young and use the Amnesty Clause on Elton Brand, before the provision option expired three weeks ago, all makes perfect sense. Even the seemingly minor moves to sign Royal Ivey and Maalik Wayns now make perfect sense as the team thins its back court by trading Andre Iguodala, as well as versatile rookie swing man Moe Harkless.
With the trade expected to be approved by the league soon, the 76ers will sport an intriguing new look:
PG Jrue Holiday / Maalik Wayns / Royal Ivey
SF Nick Young / Dorrell Wright / Arnett Moultrie
PF Thadeus Young / Nikola Vucevic / Levoy Allen
C Andrew Bynum / Spencer Hawes / Kwame Brown
That looks like a much brighter, stronger, talented young team to compete in the East against our Pistons. It may take a month or two for the team to gel, but you have to love the pairing of Holiday and Bynum, and you can’t help but to think that the Youngs may give the team a quirky double Y chromosome tandem at forward that opponents may find daunting to play against with their special brand of high energy. Evan Turner is yet to still emerge, but perhaps he was simply overshadowed by the play of Iguodala, and now will find a more clear cut role as the second guard.
Looking at this team has relevance to the Pistons as we look at our chances of becoming a play-off team. I think Philadelphia rather than falling has definitely improved. Here is a run-down of who I see as the top teams of the East:
1-Miami Heat – they have the prime time three back
2-Boston – the challenge to replace Ray Allen shouldn’t be taken too lightly
3-Brooklyn – lots of starting talent, but their depth doesn’t seem to be there
4-New York – can Kidd get Stoudamire and Anthony to play together?
5-Indiana – a surprisingly good well balanced team
6-Philadelphia – young, interesting strong team seems to have emerged
7-Atlanta – addition but subtraction; will they really miss Joe Johnson that much?
8-Milwaukee –Jennings,Ellis,Delembert,Illysova,Gooden,Delfino,Dunleavy, MbahaMoute
9-Detroit – steadily improving, perhaps still need another year to mature?
12-Toronto – Jonas Vilanucias just doesn’t look ready, and I see other problems
15-Orlando – so many draft picks to be added soon!
The seventh through the 11th teams are the toughest ones to project. Do you agree that Toronto, Cleveland, Charlotte, and now Orlando are at the low end of the spectrum? The top teams from 1 through 6 seem now secured. You have to speculate as to how good Atlanta, Milwaukee, Chicago, and Washington should be after major moves. The loss of Derrick Rose of course is temporary but other moves might still occur that I think may lessen the chances of the team to make the playoffs. I possibly see Milwaukee as a better team than many others do, but I've read that their back court starters are considered perhaps the best in the East.
I've got our Pistons listed as the 9th team. That's just out of the playoffs, but on the brink. A lot depends on how much the younger players develop and can contribute in the year ahead. I simply think we're still a year away. I hope I'm wrong of course. What do you think?