So now we know for sure. Although Sam rarely speaks, whereas Brett is pretty forthcoming, they both consistently share the same message. Patience, player development, building your young core via the draft, more like OKC than Houston, length and athleticism and defense leading to transition offense. If you weren't convinced by the last two drafts, this year's approach to free agency is the clincher. We will splurge on big time free agents, but only when the time is right.
Now is not that time. This team believes in the twin towers, in dominating the paint a year from now, believes in their point guard, believe that some one at least from among McDaniels, Grant and McRae will emerge, improve their shooting, and defend the heck out on the wing, believes in improvement from Thompson and Wroten and Sims, believes at the right time the best of our Euros will come over. They believe in their plan.
They know the Bulls and the Cavaliers will be very tough, and that Washington and Toronto and Charlotte are on the rise, and that the Hawks will be there for a five to eight seed. But they also know that the Bucks were terrible last year, and Parker won't move the needle all that much, and they'll be back in the lottery. And the Magic were right there too down there at the bottom, and their two picks won't be enough to move them too far forward right away. And they know the Celtics still have no quality big men, and they will be back in the lottery again too. They know the Pacers still are terrible at the PG position, have lost Stevenson, and have a head case at center. They are pointed in the wrong direction now, having missed their window. Same with Nets, losing Pierce and more, with Garnett on his last legs, and depending on the oft injured Lopez and Williams in decline. They know the Knicks resigned Melo, but will be terrible on D. They know that the Heat will not be anything close to the same, with LeBron gone, and Wade unable to play full time at a high level. They know the Pistons are still a set of mismatched parts, and without real leadership at the point. And that's the competition in the east. The last two spots are wide open. Injuries or other unexpected disappointments may well open a third spot.
And this team will be fun to watch, just to see all the new faces, to go along with MCW, and the warrior that is Thad Young. There will be plenty of blocks and fast breaks and dunks, and we will get to watch the young guns grow month by month. If everything breaks right and guys buy in and play as a team, they might even hang in the playoff race through the All Star break. And maybe Embiid will play this year, late, to show the twin towers to the world, which will help immensely next summer as we enter free agency. If somehow we miraculously sneak into the playoffs it will be a very pleasant surprise, if not, we still get our #1 pick next year. From the perspective of management, it is win/win. And we will get back Jackson next summer, and have four more picks in the draft, one way or the other.
The big difference this year will be at the trade deadline - last year we got a lot of picks, by trading away a couple players, and by taking on some smallish bad contracts, both of whom are already gone. This year we may be trying to take on larger expiring contracts if we can, or else all the players will get a nice little bonus at year end from our unused cap room, as well as maybe moving JRich and maybe Thad.
But the difference this year should be most evident on the court - new faces, year two of the program a la Chip Kelly and the Eagles, and a bit more talent to cheer for. Regardless, the plan is now plain as day - and we are sticking to it no matter what. Of that we are now certain.