Individually, the Sixers off-season moves – from the drafting of another poor-shooting swingman (Moe Harkless) to the re-signing of Spencer Hawes – have been a bit confusing. But as the moves continue to pile up, we may finally have a glimpse into the Sixers' plan.
Much discussion on the blog (and Twitter) over the last few years has revolved around the Sixers "plan" – or what it should be. Either you were an advocate of a complete and total re-build *raises hand*, or you bought into the idea that the Sixers could continue to be a lower-level Playoff team, with hopes of a star coming to Philadelphia via Free Agency. The debate was pretty black and white – either you wanted one, or you preferred the other. Well, if the Sixers moves this off-season – which all seem to fall in line with one another – tell us anything, their "plan" falls somewhere in-between the two extremes.
I briefly touched on this subject a few days ago.
If I'm reading between the lines correctly, the Sixers' plan appears to be: remain somewhat competitive in the short-term, while remaining relatively uncommitted in the long-run - which I'm totally cool with, although not ideal. As long as the Sixers aren't unnecessarily locking up players to long-term deals, and leaning towards development of youth, (aka getting a shooter (Swaggy) for Jrue/ET to kick to, and an athletic big (Moultrie) they can run a pick n' roll with), I'll be content, as far as this off-season goes.
In my mind, the recent trade for Dorell Wright solidifies my theory. The Sixers took on some extra salary, without committing to a player long term, while simultaneously acquiring a legitimately-good three-point shooter for Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner to pass to.
Again, the plan appears to be: acquire as many players who mesh with the specific skill-sets of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner as possible, all while remaining relatively competitive and uncommitted.
Both Dorell and Swaggy P are perfect compliments to Jrue and Evan, because they can both shoot – every good passer needs a good spot-up shooter to pass to. Harkless was presumably drafted to lessen the blow of the loss of Andre Iguodala's athleticism and defense. And Arnett Moultrie was drafted as an athletic big man for both Jrue and Evan to run pick n' rolls with (Moultrie's strength), as well as a guy who can cut to the basket, and finish a lob or two – the type of player Jrue will greatly benefit from.
If my theory holds true, it even makes the Spencer Hawes signing palatable (gasp), because – although he sucks at most things – he can still provide a pick n' pop presence and above average interior passing, both of which will help the offense, in theory. And it's only two years.
The departure of Lou Williams was an addition by subtraction, because in him leaving, the Sixers freed themselves of the player who had the highest usage rate on the team – by a lot. Without Lou's ball-hoggingness, Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner will both be expected to carry a larger load.
In acquiring players who fit with Jrue and Evan, as well as getting rid of Louis Williams, the Sixers plan also seems to revolve around the development of the two – the MOST important aspect of this off-season. As we know, Jrue is already asking for a max contract, and no one is sure what the hell the Sixers have in Evan Turner, despite two seasons in the league. A decision on both of these players will be required soon, so the more Jrue-and-Evan-centered the Sixers are next season – and beyond – the more information the Sixers brass will have to ultimately make the right decision regarding their future with the team.
With these moves, I would imagine, the next domino to fall will be the much-anticipated Andre Iguodala trade. If the Sixers off-season has hinted anything, it's that they're pushing Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner as the faces of the franchise, acquiring pieces that mesh with them, and pushing out the players who interfere with that. Iguodala is a great player. Great player. He just doesn't fit the plan, so I fully expect him to be dealt for a legitimate post presence with one or two years remaining on their contract. Al Jefferson, Pau Gasol and Luis Scola are three guys who fit the description.
Bottom line is, it's no coincidence that Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner will become restricted free agents in the next two off-seasons, respectively, and the Sixers aren't committing to any players beyond those two seasons. The next two years will be a trial run for these guys, and we'll go from there. At least it's a plan (FINALLY!), and it's being executed pretty well, as of now.
I've been an advocate of re-building for a long time, but since this modified version appears to be focused on the development of Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner – rather than mediocrity and false hope – I support the team direction. However; I reserve the right to go absolutely ape shit if Andre Iguodala is traded for Kris Humphries.
In a few short weeks, I've gone from extremely pessimistic about the front office to cautiously optimistic. So far, so good.