Oh boy. Elton Brand dislocated his shoulder, which might open up an entire can of worms. Why, you ask?
Well, what happens if the Sixers start winning? What happens if they revert back to the style they were playing last year, and achieve success doing so?
The answer to these questions, my dearest Watsons, is elementary: the Sixers’ biggest free agent signing in years will be perceived to be a bad move.
It had become apparent by the time that Maurice Cheeks left that he simply didn’t know what direction to take with this Sixers team. The interesting development with the change to DiLeo was going to be whether or not he could figure that out. Now, possibly for a month, or perhaps even several, we will not know that answer. However, if the Sixers go back to a style closer to last year’s, and suddenly start winning consistently, Brand will probably be attributed much of the blame for the early season woes of the Sixers.
Which simply isn’t fair.
We know last year’s defensive-driven, fastbreak-reliant team can take the Sixers to a point, that point likely being the first round of the playoffs. We know that Andre Iguodala is much better at the three, and that Thaddeus Young can adequately fill in at the four. What we will not find out is whether or not DiLeo could get a Sixers’ lineup consisting of Dalembert, Brand, Young, Iguodala, and Miller to mesh. When Brand comes back, will this Sixers team digress?
If they do, the guy that likely should shoulder more of the blame for that, the guy we just resigned to an overpriced contract, the guy who can’t play the two because he doesn’t shoot all that well and thus renders the offense much less effective – AI the deuce – is off the hook. (Editor’s note: And by deuce, I think The Pundit means more of “going number two” here than he does “the successor.” Good God, did I just say “going number two?” It must be nap time…)
I don’t think Brand was the issue for this team early on; I think the fact that Andre Iguodala, who was this team’s leading scorer last year at the three, is averaging 14.8 ppg and shooting 24 percent from downtown while playing the two. Last year? He averaged 19.9 ppg and shot 33 percent from beyond the arc. Listen, the guy isn’t a sharpshooter, but that’s a severe drop in numbers.
Hence, if they start to win again, nobody will talk about how Iggy couldn’t adjust to the two. Instead, they’ll insist that Brand was the cause of the team’s mediocre start. Of course, the Sixers could continue to play lackluster basketball without him; but that wouldn’t generate the type of Philly controversy we all know and love, now would it?