News broke today that Elton Brand's dislocated shoulder will sideline him for the next month. The timetable for his return is much shorter than I anticipated. It looked pretty nasty and I'm pretty sure it's the same injury that caused Dwyane Wade to leave the court in tears and a wheelchair. Given, Wade's was probably a little more severe, I think a mere month of missed action for Brand is a bit optimistic. Whether the Sixers are without Brand for a month or a little longer, things are going to be change. After all, he is considered to be the team's best player and the Sixers have him locked up for the next five years to a tune of 80 million--I'm sure you've heard.
I like Elton. I feel bad for the dude. But in all honesty, I think this helps the team more than it hurts, at least in the short term. That may sound absurd, but hear me out.
First off, the Sixers will get back to their run n' gun style that sent them on that surge into the playoffs a year ago. This team was constructed for that kind of basketball and from the sample size DiLeo has shown in his two games as head coach, I fully expect them to run like crazy with Brand out.
Secondly, it gives Ed and the front office a little flexibility. They, along with all their fans, came into the season with monster expectations. Well, as we all know, things haven't went according to plan and at 11-14 the Sixers we're kind of stuck before the injury. Do they sacrifice young talent, draft picks and maybe the team's future to win now? Or do they abandon ship, get rid of Andre Miller and/or Sammy D, get the young guys some reps and look towards next year? After watching this team for 25 games (24 since I missed one) I was leaning toward the second option. Now that Brand is out for a month and maybe longer, I think the logical thing to do is give Lou-Will a chance to run the team, see what they can get in return for Andre Miller and Sammy D, evaluate the roster and figure out where to go from here. Because obviously this team as constructed isn't going to contend anytime soon.
Elton's injury also allows Speights to get a lot more minutes, whether he starts or not. M16 has really shown what he can do in limited action this season and I'm anxious to see what he can do in the next month.
That brings me to the starting lineup without Brand. There are a couple options. Here they are. Tell me which one you would prefer.
1. PG- Miller
2. PG- Miller
3. PG- Miller
My preference is number 1, simply because I like the Lou-Thad combo coming off the bench and Speights is obviously an upgrade over Evans. I have a feeling DiLeo agrees with me. Last time Brand was out with a hamstring injury, Speights started. Albeit it was under Cheeks, I assume DiLeo will make the same switch, unless he really wants to go small and start Thad, but I prefer him off the bench.
We'll see tomorrow night in Washington.