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Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Brand New Day for the Sixers, Same Old Same Old for the Clippers

Now you know why I don't write lengthy articles to analyze "proposed trades" or "proposed free agent signings" five seconds after a "breaking news" banner scrolls across the crawl on ESPN: "proposed" means that nothing has officially happened yet and therefore something else could very well take place. I don't know how much bandwidth, air time and newsprint have been wasted in the past week or so "analyzing" the "new look" Clippers featuring Baron Davis and Elton Brand but the current "breaking news" is that Brand is going to sign with the Philadelphia 76ers, who just shipped Rodney Carney and Calvin Booth to Minnesota in order to create enough salary cap room to offer Brand a five year, $82 million deal that he reportedly has accepted.

After reports surfaced last week that Davis was leaving the Warriors to sign with the Clippers, I wrote a six paragraph post about the proposed deal and devoted exactly one paragraph to the possibility of Brand and Davis playing together in L.A., concluding, "Their potential starting lineup of Chris Kaman, Brand, second year forward Al Thornton--a beast in training--Davis and Cuttino Mobley is quite potent. The main questions for the Clippers are their health, their dedication at the defensive end of the court and the lack of depth on their bench. Still, on paper this looks like a team that could certainly be in the Western Conference playoff mix if those three concerns are properly addressed." Although Brand initially gave indications that he was willing to accept less money to stay in L.A. if the Clippers upgraded their roster he apparently decided upon further reflection that moving to the Eastern Conference has several benefits, including being closer to his home town of Peekskill, New York, a seemingly easier path to the NBA Finals and the supposedly greater opportunity to make the All-Star team (the latter speculation is courtesy of ESPN's Ric Bucher). Of course, the only thing that is really guaranteed for Brand (besides the money) is moving closer to home, because beating Boston, Detroit, Cleveland and/or Orlando in a seven game series will not be easy for the 76ers and LeBron James and Kevin Garnett are virtually guaranteed to be the starting forwards for the Eastern All-Stars (barring injury). In the wake of his Finals MVP performance I expect six-time All-Star Paul Pierce to be selected as an All-Star once again, so that leaves Brand battling with Chris Bosh, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace and Shawn Marion for the remaining forward spots.

If he remains healthy, Brand certainly fills the 76ers' glaring need for an effective low post scorer, a deficiency that became painfully--and fatally--obvious during last season's playoffs when they pushed the Pistons to six games but simply could not score enough points in the half court set to keep pace when the Pistons slowed the tempo down and limited their turnovers. The Sixers have several young, talented players plus a very underrated point guard/floor leader in Andre Miller. However, it does not take a basketball mastermind to figure out that unless the Sixers also improve their outside shooting that teams will be able to feed Brand a steady diet of double teams without worrying about getting burned. Still, this is no doubt a major coup for Philadelphia and a major blow to the Clippers, who most likely will be trading tales of misery with the Warriors during next year's Draft Lottery. If Davis stays healthy then this season will be a good opportunity for him to prove that he truly is an elite point guard, because the Clippers will need an All-NBA caliber season from him to have any chance of making the playoffs in the West. The Warriors have enough talent left to contend for a playoff spot--and they will apparently be adding Corey Maggette to the mix as well--but with Portland on the rise and last year's eight West playoff teams looking strong Golden State will probably miss the cut for the second year in a row.

If there is such a thing as karma then what did Clippers' fans do in their previous lives to deserve the ACL tears, ruptured Achilles tendons and assorted other injuries, mishaps and boneheaded moves that they have suffered through in the past 25 years or so?

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posted by David Friedman @ 5:19 AM

10 comments

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10 Comments:

At Wednesday, July 09, 2008 6:47:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Chris Bosh, Caron Butler, Antawn Jamison, Rasheed Wallace and Shawn Marion"

Exactly.... in the west he faces fixture Stoudamire, Nowitzki & Mcgrady; big stat guys Boozer, Anthony & Jefferson, Improving stars Gay, David West and Durant; fringe guys like Gasal and Josh Howard.

That's a twice as strong group as the East

 
At Wednesday, July 09, 2008 7:15:00 AM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Anonymous:

You left out LeBron and KG, two guys who I mentioned in the post who are mortal locks to start for the East (barring injury).

Jefferson and Gay have yet to make an All-Star team. Anyway, Jefferson plays in the East, not the West, so his potential candidacy does not support your argument.

Gasol could possibly be listed at center, depending on Bynum's status.

If you are counting Durant as a potential All-Star next season then you also have to say that Beasley is a potential All-Star in the East; I think that Beasley's overall numbers will be better than Durant's, though Durant may score more points. Also, Durant is technically a shooting guard (unless Carlesimo moves him to the frontcourt this season), while Beasley is without question a forward.

All I'm saying is that it is not a piece of cake to make the All-Star team in either conference, so that would be a pretty lame reason to leave L.A. However, Brand's other reasons--a potentially easier path to the Finals, moving closer to home, possibly fitting in better with Philly's needs--do make sense.

 
At Wednesday, July 09, 2008 8:46:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

I dont understand these players. The Sixers will not win a ring. Why would Brand (besides the cash) want to play in Philly? Philly isnt that close to upstate New York. True indeed its closer than LA but why does it matter when the season is going on? He can live anywhere. He wont be driving from Philly to upstate New York after the game. So that reason doesnt make any sense. And, David, you know Philly will be no where near the finals any time soon. I know the Sixers made the playoffs but they arent going far. Isnt the goal to be a champion?

I understand with him and Maggette and Davis they werent going to win a title anyway but hes not in Philly either. If hes playing to become an allstar easier why is that the incentive unless its in his contract to get that bonus? He has been an allstar before. The older he gets he will say like everyone else says...I have all the accolades and individual awards. I want a championship because that is all that is left. At least try to build something with that Clipper lineup you mentioned in the post.

 
At Wednesday, July 09, 2008 2:52:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Madnice:

Frankly, I'm not really sure what Brand is thinking; in the post I listed the motivations that have been suggested for this move. I agree with you that making the All-Star team is by far the weakest rationale but Brand did not say that--Ric Bucher did. As for being closer to home, that may not be a factor for Brand himself but it could be a factor for family, friends, etc. who want to see him play in person. Maybe Brand decided that he is not a "California guy." I don't know. If I were an NBA player of his stature--particularly one who has already made a stack of money--I'd be willing to take less money for a greater shot at winning a title. Perhaps Brand thinks that this is his best chance to win a title but I agree with you that Philly does not have enough right now.

 
At Thursday, July 10, 2008 8:12:00 AM, Blogger madnice said...

Yeah Ric Bucher usually has no idea what he is talking about. As most of the other ESPN analysts.

 
At Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:09:00 AM, Anonymous S.Tiku said...

David,

I just discovered a nice piece on kobe, i know it's not related to the topic, but i thought you might be interested, if you already have not read it yet

http://www.hoopsworld.com/Story.asp?story_id=9407

 
At Thursday, July 10, 2008 11:23:00 AM, Blogger Penny Show said...

I love your comment about Al Thornton. Yes, he is a beast in training. You better believe it. You can only imagine how disgusting the Clippers would have been by just adding Baron Davis to the mix!

Unfortunately, the party is put on hold. The team is still talented, but is really on a rebuilding status. It's such a waste to see 2 L.A. clipper teams not manifest into it's fullest potential (Odom, Miles, Magette, Richardson & Brand, Magette, Mobley, Cassell) Baron must be in disbelief with what he has gotten himself into. There has to be more than enough room to find backup for him. He does not deserve this situation. What is going to eventually happen is Baron performing at a careers best, develop Thornton to another level or perhaps give up, get injured and wait till next season.

It's all Billy Crystals fault!

payday loan

 
At Friday, July 11, 2008 5:25:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anymous reggie

elton brand souled out clippers he made a buisness descion by the greedy david falk he lied to baron davis and the clippers organization. he was mr clipper and souled them out to go to philadeliphia which has no outside shooting and no other player like baron davis and al thorton and cuttino mobley and others. philly could comepte in east i still think maybe second round like clippers as well because clevland boston detriot will still be tough.

i thought duke and coach k put out chracter guys carlos boozer lied to clevland and now brand has lied to clippers so much for that high duke class.

he might make all star game in east he has to compte with butler jamison shawn marion etc that wont be easy for him.

 
At Thursday, July 17, 2008 2:27:00 PM, Blogger Dao said...

Hey Dave, I think the first anonymous was refering to big Al Jef not little Rich Jef, don't really think Al will have a chance unless the wolves double their win total...anyhow, I still think Yahoo's Andrian had the best take on this, it's completely and utterly Falk's fault and he definately exaggerated somethings so that Brand would leave (ie Clipper's "disrespect of Brand, take it or leave it offer, won't give Brand more money, etc.)

 
At Thursday, July 17, 2008 4:36:00 PM, Blogger David Friedman said...

Dao:

You're probably right that the first commenter was referring to Al Jefferson; I had Richard Jefferson on the mind because he had just been traded to Milwaukee. I agree with you that Al Jefferson has little chance to make the All-Star team unless the Wolves win a lot more games.

Two completely different stories came out of L.A., one by Brand's camp and one by the Clippers' camp and, as is often the case, the truth is probably somewhere in between. What advantage is there for Falk to induce Brand to leave L.A. for Philly? The final offers were essentially the same, so Falk is not making more money, and Brand may have had greater off the court opportunities financially in L.A. Before blaming everything on Falk I'd be interested to hear an explanation of his alleged motives in this situation.

 

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