Similar to the Evan Turner conference call from a few weeks ago, LibertyBallers was given the opportunity to take part in a conference call with newly minted Sixers President Rod Thorn.
Prominent on Sixers fans minds is this rag tag frontcourt, whether it can compete enough to make the potentially strong wing rotation relevant, and what pieces will be with the team long term.
Thorn stated that the team wanted to return to the playoffs, but admitted the frontcourt will be key to the teams success. "I think a lot will depend on how our bigs play, no doubt about it," Thorn said. "We need Elton to go back to the level that he was before. We need Hawes and the other players we have to play well for us, there's no doubt about it."
Thorn seems impressed with Thaddeus Young's work ethic, and encouraged he will have a bounce-back year. "[Young] has improved his body, he's gotten much stronger. His shot looks good, which I think is key." Thorn said. "A couple years ago, he looked like he was on the path to becoming an outstanding player, then last year was a setback. He didn't have the kind of year that I think the Sixers were hoping for. But his attitude seems to be great. I was very impressed with what I've seen from him."
Speaking of the offseason, Thorn sounded like the odds of either Hawes or Young getting an early extension is slim.
"We've had some preliminary discussions with some of those guys as of right now," Thorn stated. "[With the CBA running out] there is much speculation about what the new rules may be, so I don't think you will see as many players signed as maybe normal."
Other notable quotes
On the Nets thoughts on Evan Turner, when Thorn was scouting him with the Nets: "Our scouts loved Evan Turner. Absolutely loved him, so we certainly would have given him every consideration [had he been available at the 3rd pick]."
On Andre Iguodala playing over the summer, and the effect (positive or negative) it would have on him: "I think that the summer has been such an exhilarating experience for [Andre Iguodala] and such a high for him. That he played a significant role on the world championship team that most thought would not be a world championship team, that I think he'll be coming into the year on a real high...I think he's feeling very good about himself and he's at a very good place mentally right now."
On the use of advanced statistics: "[Advanced statistics have] been very helpful for me over the past 4 to 5 years in Jersey, when we really started to use [them], and hired a statistical analyst. It's been very helpful, so I think you're going to see more and more of it in professional sports and I think it's a very useful tool."
On whether he's looking to make a move right away: "What I've found is that trades come when you least expect it. Somebody will call and offer you something, or you'll call and offer something, and you'll make a trade that you never expected to make. And many times when you worked on a deal for weeks, and it just doesn't [happen], for whatever reason. So, you have conversations, or most teams do, with other teams on a daily basis. What I'm always trying to do is I always have an open mind, always looking to improve your team. Unless you have the Los Angeles Lakers, you're always looking to improve your team. With the position we're in, if something comes up that we feel can help us, maybe it's short term or maybe it's long term, then we're always going to take a look."
On comparing Iguodala and Carmelo Anthony: "[Andre] doesn't have the offensive ability that Anthony has to score. But he has the passing ability and rebounding ability and defensively ability. They're just entirely [different], it's like comparing apples to oranges. ... I think Andre has proven over the course of his career, and particularly this summer, that he can play with great players, and play very, very well."
On the teams goal: "We want to make the playoffs. We want to do everything we can to get back into the playoffs and make a connection with our fans. I think last year was such a down year for this franchise, with so many different things transpiring, that it's left a bad taste in a lot of peoples mouths." Thorn would later say, "I will be happy if we play to whatever our ability is, and if we play hard every night, and if we connect with our fans."
On who made the decision to take Favors at #3 in the 2010 draft: "I always made the final decision [in New Jersey]. You take into account what your scouts say, you take into account what your general manager says, your coach, on most teams, gets involvement, but at the end of the day it was my decision to make. My feeling about it, with the guys available, our choice came down to whether we took Favors, Cousins, or Johnson. We had Brook Lopez, so that eliminated Cousins. We think Favors has a chance, in time, I don't think he's ready to play right now [at that level], but I think at time he has the chance to be a prototypical power forward from the standpoint of rebounding and defense. When you put him with Brook Lopez, [if he develops] I think you have a center/power forward combination that will be comparable to any in the league. That was my thinking in drafting Favors."
On how much "measurables" are taken into account when scouting a player: "With me, I like talent. I like guys that understand how to play. There are a lot of guys that are talented that have no clue how to play, and they are very difficult to play with. Length, I think is important. So reach, wingspan, I think are important. Somebody might be short, but their wingspan might make up for it." ... "I can't say, other than to me the overall talent, I can't say that one thing trumps everything. You talk to players, you get to know them, you get a feel for them. You find out the players that love the game, that want to work at it, and then you find out the players who could care less. They might have been given a god given talent, but they don't really love the game, they don't really care about it."
Other Bloggers in attendance: