Around this time last year I unveiled the Sixers Blueprint for Success. After a quick re-read it's a good thing I wasn't the Sixers GM. Ed Stefanski and I probably would've made the same mistakes, except I would've cut Eddie Jordan's 4-chalk session short and said, "the job is yours if you beat me in NBA 2k9," and he would have.
Since I'm not an NBA GM I'm going to pretend last year never happened and unveil the Sixers Blueprint for Success 2.0 (a condensed version). I'm a year older, and a year wiser. I've learned from my hypothetical mistakes (which never happened) and I'm ready to put this franchise back on a path for greatness, or goodness, or something better than this-ness.
Remainder of the Season
Retain Eddie Jordan as head coach: The Sixers aren't making the playoffs this year, so there's no point in firing a guy who might help them earn a couple extra lotto balls. And as John pointed out, Comcast would then be paying three head coaches.
- Start the same starting lineup: Jrue, Lou, Andre, Brand, and Sam is beneficial on so many levels. It develops the young guys, develops continuity for the future, and gives the Sixers the best chance to win.
- Play Speights, Carney and Meeks more: They all might suck, but we need to see if they're whether or not they're worth including in future plans.
- Don't re-sign Allen Iverson: Sad to see him go, but he has no place on this roster. I hope he plays at least one more game for the Sixers so we can give him a proper farewell.
- Don't re-sign Fransisco Elson: Duh!
- Offer Rodney Carney to veteran's minimum: I like Carney a lot so I'd be willing to slightly overpay, but if he wants anything more than about 1 mill per year, let him walk.
- Offer Amir Johnson (unrestricted) a 2 year deal worth 5 million: Signing Amir would be an inexpensive, low-risk move. He's still only 22 (same age as Speights), and he's shown more defensive ability than Marreese at this point. If anything he'd provide more size and defensive potential off a bench who can't defend or rebound to save their lives.
- Offer Anthony Morrow (restricted) a 2 year deal worth 7 million: Morrow's gives the team exactly what they need -- a lights out shooter not named Jason Kapono. His defensive is difficult to evaluate because he plays for the Warriors, but worst case, he's a good enough shooter where the Sixers can hide any defensive deficiencies he might posses. He'd start at shooting guard and eliminate Willie Green from the equation completely.
- Offer Sergio Rodriguez (restricted) a 2 year deal worth 5 million: Because the Sixers need a real back up point guard.
- Offer the league minimum to Morris Almond: Another young, inexpensive option. Dude can shoot, and play shooting guard -- very similar to Anthony Morrow in those regards.
David Thorpe on Alabi:
Summary: Feb. 4 Update, by David Thorpe: I've known about Solomon since he was first discovered by some NBA scouts when he was a young teenager in Africa. When I put together a post development DVD using high school players, he was one of my demonstrators. He was 15 then, and looked to be an NBA prospect because of his unique characteristics. He is a high-energy, bright and charismatic person in the best sense. That, in a 7-foot-1 body with a huge wingspan, makes him very draft-worthy.
When NBA executives track his improvement over the years, they can't help but come to the conclusion that he will continue to get much better over time. He makes over 80 percent of his free throws. He can score around the basket with either hand. He can face up and make 15-foot jumpers. He uses great technique to front post players and he's fearless inside the paint, despite being outweighed by almost every player he faces, though not by as much as he used to be. Not to mention that Alabi has only played basketball for six years or so.
That he's a good shotblocker is no surprise, given his physical gifts. Doing so while anchoring an excellent defensive unit without fouling (only averages 2.2 a game) is certainly impressive.
All of these skills were not evident even two years ago, which is why it's fair to assume he'll continue on the same development path. His best talent though, is his spirit. He is a selfless worker, and a tireless one, reminding me in those areas of Joakim Noah, who is now one of the premier help defenders in the NBA. Unfortunately, he does not have all of Noah's talents.
Alabi is not a likely low-post scorer in the NBA because of his inability to pass out of the post, a very difficult skill to master. Nor is he someone who will take his man off the dribble from the pinch post. But at worst, he projects as a shotblocking and energy-bringing center off the bench who impacts games whether he scores or not. At best, he's a top defensive center that can play late in games because of his free-throw shooting.
Since I'm building this team around defense, I'm drafting Sammy D's eventual replacement in Alabi. I could've gone Donatas Motiejunas or Greg Monroe here, but neither fit my plans for this roster.
Thaddeus Young (1 year, 2.9 million) for Rudy Fernandez (1 year, 1.2 million): It doesn't work under the cap as of right now, so don't try it in Trade Machine, but once Camby and Juwan Howard come off the books this summer, bingo!
Once the roster is set, fire Eddie Jordan and hire Monty Williams.
From Yahoo Sports!:
The 38-year-old Williams was interviewed for the Wolves job last summer that went to Rambis. He is in his fifth season with the Blazers after spending one year in San Antonio as an intern. Williams is credited in Portland for the development of Travis Outlaw(notes) and Nicolas Batum(notes). Williams bounced around in his NBA career after being a first-round pick of the Knicks in 1994.
Williams is not a re-tread. He'd become the youngest head coach in the NBA. He was a solid defender during his playing days. In his five years with the Blazers, the team's defensive rating has improved each year. He's been a part of two model franchises (Portland and San Antonio). There's no guarantee he'd work out, but I'd rather take a chance on Williams than some re-tread like Avery Johnson or Lawrence Frank.
If everything goes according to plan we're looking at this roster:
PG - Jrue, Lou
SG - Rudy, Green, Meeks
SF - Iguodala, Carroll
PF - Brand, Speights, Smith
C - Dalembert, Alabi
Coach - Monty Williams
Projected Salary: 63 million
We're looking at a new coach, a definitive plan (build a defensive-first team around Jrue, Rudy, Andre and Alabi), Dalembert and Green's expiring contracts, no luxury tax, and a possible eight seed. They're still lacking a backup point guard and a backup small forward, but I can only do so much in one off-season!
Tell me what you think.