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By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – As you may have noticed, the reaction in Philadelphia to the Sixers signing of Kwame Brown was … not good (see related article). Though much of the criticism was funny, I didn’t think most of it was all that valid. As it turns out, Sixers president Rod Thorn thinks you should relax as well.
“You’re looking at Kwame Brown from the standpoint of being the first pick in the NBA Draft once upon a time,” Thorn told 94WIP’s Angelo Cataldi and the WIP Morning Show. “We don’t need him to do that. What we need him to do is be a defensive player, rebounder, stalwart on our back line to help us from that angle, that’s something we didn’t have and what Kwame has done over the latter part of his career. He wasn’t a great player as the first pick the draft. If he was the 25th pick in the draft I think the fans would look at him a little bit differently.”
Thorn said he knew the team needed work after last season. “Our conclusion was that we ended up with a good year, but we had maxed our team out. That the way we were constituted, going forward on several fronts, including not only on the court, but also on our salary cap situation that we needed to make some changes in order to put ourselves in a position to get better,” Thorn said.
Along with the addition of Brown and Arnett Moultrie and Maurice Harkless in the draft, the Sixers this off-season have re-signed Spencer Hawes, traded for Dorell Wright, and signed Nick Young while letting go of Lou Williams. “We’ve addressed, certainly the size issue, and certainly in Young and Wright we’ve added two outstanding shooters that will help us as we go forward.”
Many expect Nick Young to step into the role left by Lou Williams, who led the team in scoring last season. Thorn thinks Young might be a better fit for this team. “[Young is] a better outside shooter, he’s a bigger player obviously, several inches taller and heavier. So yeah, he’s a better outside shooter. Lou, who’s a terrific player, and was certainly an outstanding player for the 76ers over the course of his career to this point, was a 40% shooter the last two years, and he’s the guy that we ran most of our plays for in the fourth quarter. Had a green light for us to take shots, and was a 40% shooter. So you need to improve that percentage at that particular position,” he said.
As for all of the small forwards the Sixers have amassed? Thorn says he and Collins like it that way. “You know, I think Doug likes guys who are multi-faceted, guys who can play more than one position. And we do have a lot of guys who can do that. But for us, that’s a strength rather than a weakness.”