By Spike Eskin
PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you asked fans and analysts what they think of the Sixers offseason so far, you’d get reactions that would stretch from terrible (a likely overreaction to the Kwame Brown signing) to decent (likely the most popular) to confusing/concerning (from SI’s Zach Lowe notably). David Aldridge has been the first, to my knowledge, to give a vote for “great.”
Aldridge, an analyst for NBA.COM, says the Sixers had the second best offseason in the entire NBA. That’s right. Second to only the Miami Heat. Aldridge says that Evan Turner is the key to the 2012-13 season, and had the following to say about their moves:
THE SKINNY: The 76ers came of age in the playoffs last season, knocking out the highly-favored Bulls after Chicago lost Derrick Rose to a season-ending knee injury in Game 1 of their first-round series. But they were hardly a finished product. They were really athletic, but struggled to do much in the halfcourt. So, what did Doug Collins and company do? They doubled down, getting even more athletic, and trusted that Collins would be able to divide minutes and shots. Wright has eight years in the league but is still just 26, with two seasons as a starter at small forward with Golden State under his belt. With Brand amnestied, forward Thaddeus Young will get his best opportunity to capture significant minutes at power forward. He’ll still come off the bench behind Spencer Hawes, who Collins said will now start at the four, with Brown playing center. Brown is what Brown is — a good low-post defender who doesn’t need help, but is limited to putbacks and dunks at the offensive end. Allen was very productive against Boston in the playoffs and Collins believes he could be in the league 10 years. Harkless and Moultrie should contribute immediately as more high-energy guys that will get after it at the defensive end, and Young will fire away off the bench in Williams’ place.
But the Sixers didn’t spend any real money for any of those myriad moves, leaving themselves future flexibility if they want to extend starting point Jrue Holiday or make a big trade next summer — or both. The imminent hiring of cap expert Tom Penn as general manager would indicate Philly is far from finished remaking the team.
I’ve been more positive than most about the Sixers offseason (aside from the re-signing of Spencer Hawes) but Aldridge’s ranking is a real surprise to me.
Aldridge does make good points about adding shooters, getting more athletic and adding post defense, but I’d be hard pressed to describe any offseason that added Nick Young, Kwame Brown and Dorell Wright to an eight seed as better than all but one team in the NBA.
I do also agree that the addition of Tom Penn will be a good one, and wasn’t the kind of GM hire than many expected the Sixers to make.
Nick Young does have a ton of swag though.