Well this is one of the seasons that has just been terrible, yet it had its cool moments. This season the Sixers went for a record so bad the last time the Sixers missed 30+ wins was in the 90′s, around when Allen Iverson came into town.
Iverson was eventually traded in what was a pretty nasty divorce of him and team management. He played some ball with the team he was traded to, the Denver Nuggets (hm, another A.I. from the Sixers was traded to the Nuggets recently). Anyway, Iverson was traded to the Pistons where a log jam of guards ended up putting him on the bench, something he wasn’t willing to accept. So, he was let go. And then, he called retirement from basketball. Of course, he ended up playing with the Memphis Grizzlies for just a few games. And then I guess he retired again. Or something. The details are a bit fuzzy because I was too busy banging my head against a wall until it bled.
The Sixers were doing terrible.
And it was approaching the point where I was hoping the Sixers would lose. Just to get a spot in the lottery, instead of the normal range of 14th-21st pick aka mediocre land that the Sixers’ roster was built of. Somewhere along the line, reports of a possible reunion between Iverson and the Sixers appeared. And indeed, Iverson was signed back.
It was his time of redemption. Everybody was saying it. He didn’t like the way things ended before and wanted to make things right. He claimed he grew up. And it sorta showed on the court. With the Sixers in need of a scorer with Lou Williams getting injured, Iverson was a cheap, ticket sale boosting solution. So the Sixers brought him back.
Meanwhile, Elton Brand was experiancing his first relativly healthy season in two years on a bad team. In his prime, he was a guy who was undersized at PF (I never really thought that though) who had an automatic mid-range jumper (still has it). He could rebound and was a decent, perhaps good defender. In a similar injury to Chris Webber, Brand had a knee injury that kept him out of most of the 07-08 season. He did come back looking good in the end of the season. He was looking good enough that the Sixers decided to pick him up at a big price.
Looking back, I would’ve done that deal again.
Anyway, the Sixers were working with a clearly slowed down all-star. Yeah, Brand wasn’t a superstar, but he filled what the Sixers needed at the time: half court scoring. At that time, the Sixers were a team that loved to run. “Run With Us” was all over their website. That’s all the Sixers did. Run. So they were entertaining to watch if only because their fast breaks were awesome. A guy like Iguodala on the break…forget about it. Highlight all day everyday.
As with the previous post: Would this team be a contending team if they were in their prime? Iverson was at the end of his career. Brand was actually in the middle of his prime years when he got hurt so his time was cut short a bit. Iguodala, as in the previous post, hasn’t seen his ultimate best days yet.
Let’s look at the rest of the roster for that year. Again, all players to suit up for the team will be included:
So, some of the players from 05-06 are still around. Here’s the starting 5:
I like this starting 5. Remember, these players are in their prime. For players that have not yet reached their prime, like Holiday, we’ll just go off of their best season to date. The defense would be above average for sure. Iverson, unlike in 05-06, gets to play his natural spot at SG. On the defensive side, Jrue’s bigger body can defend the too big for Iverson SG’s. It may not be perfect, but Jrue’s just a more capable defender that Iverson. Dalembert, Brand, and Iguodala provide an excellent front line of defense.
On offense though, we worry about the system. We know about how the Sixers’ coach (who shall always remain nameless so we’ll just call him “Prince” in reference to his lovely offense) that wanted to use some fancy, PG needed system but convinced everybody that a PG wasn’t needed. It didn’t quite work out. So, with Jrue’s best season to date, could he run the Princeton Offense? Heck, would that offense be needed with someone like Iverson around? Would Iverson function well?
For the sake of me being lazy, we’re going to just say that the Princeton Offense is just one of many options Prince had to use. Anyway, Brand and Iverson would carry the bulk of the scoring. And, when they headed to the bench, you had Lou and Thad coming in keeping up the scoring. Decent enough.
The team has quite the outside range. Kapono and Meeks are known shooters (although recent memory suggests Meeks is not). One concern is a backup Center. Elson, in his prime, filled that role pretty well so I’ll give it to him. Smith and Speights are disappointments for their own reasons and may never see the court. But, let’s ignore Speights’ attitude issues. I would rather him coming in behind Dalembert. You’ve got Willie Green as well.
Wait…wait…let me just write out the rotation. My head’s hurting. So here’s the bench rotation:
Williams, Green, Young, Elson
Welp besides Young and Lou, the bench is pretty…not good. I mean they’re not bad. But they won’t be of help during injuries and stuff. So how would the season go?
I can see the team grabbing 45-50 wins. And that might be the ceiling. That said, could they contend? I say a solid no. They’ll make it past the first round, but the Celtics and Heat could take them in round two or three. I don’t think this team makes the finals.
So comparing the 05-06 and 09-10 season to me comes down to one player: Chris Webber. I think his prime was so much better than Brand’s prime that he’s the guy that makes the big jump for the team. The X-Factor. Again, the benches and surrounding players from both seasons seem to be at the same level.
Hey, maybe I’m wrong here. You know me, I want to hear from you. If the 09-10 Sixers’ roster were all playing at their best, could they contend with today’s NBA? Can they beat the 05-06 team in their prime?
All of these random posts point to one thing: I need the 2012-2013 NBA season to start. Now.