For many years, through the good and the bad, basketball players, the Sixers themselves, and Philadelphia fans have asked, “What the Sixers need to be the best?”.
Well finally, we are just two players away from being an elite squad. Some may argue that Jodie Meeks is not the answer. But what is asked of a shooting guard? To hit three-pointers and to spread the floor. Well, guess what Jodie Meeks does? He shoots the rock at 45% on the season, and 39% for his career [from behind the arc]; Meeks also spreads the floor well with his shooting, allowing players like Lou Williams, Evan Turner, and Jrue Holiday to make plays without the lane being crowded. So obviously, Meeks has found his home.
Another player who people love to criticize is Andre Iguodala. Iguodala’s contribution with buckets has certainly dropped, his shooting percentages have gone down, and ‘Dre also tends to turn the ball over and fails his team in end-of-game situations. But, when he is not scoring twenty points per game, he is making things happen by passing and crashing the boards. He has had more triple doubles while scoring under 15 points per game than he has while scoring over 15 per game. Iguodala is also edging closer to his first All-Star appearance and could do so this year! So, he is the Answer (no pun intended).
Now, what I say next may surprise you. One player who is not the best option for the Sixers is their young point guard, Jrue Holiday. Before everyone jumps down my throat, I’ll give you statistics. Against the Spurs, Jrue’s defense was atrocious. Tony Parker scored 37 points. The Sixers lost by 10. Against the Nets, Jrue let Deron Williams knife to the basket and step back and knock down jumper-after-jumper. He lit Jrue up for 34. The Sixers lost by 7. Yes, that is only 2 out of 26 games that Jrue has let the opposing point guard go off, but if he were to really prove himself, he might only let Tony Parker have 20 and Deron Williams have 17. A point guard that the Sixers may want to invest in for a year or two is Derek Fisher, one that can groom the still raw Holiday. He allows opponents to shoot 47% from the floor, gives great effort, has a high basketball IQ, leadership, and experience. He is also a very clutch shooter.
The other position that the Sixers lack especially in is the power forward position. Elton Brand is a 6′ 9″ power forward. That does not work in the NBA. Power forwards that have about 2 inches on Brand are dropping 15-20 points per game, and out-rebounding the former Blue Devil easily. Elton also is not an aggressive scorer and is easily injured as he ages past his prime. Believe it or not, it may not hurt to bring Samuel Dalembert back to Philly. He is the leader in blocks per game for the Rockets. He also gives a decent 13 points per game, as well as a presence in the post. Even though Spencer Hawes may not be the best center, it became evident that he was needed when he was injured through a 10-game stretch, when other centers and power forwards were getting easy double-doubles and the Sixers were losing very winnable games.
If the Sixers were to sign Fisher and Dalembert, their lineup could look like this: Jrue at the point (Derrick coming off the bench), Jodie Meeks at the two guard, Andre Iguodala at the three, Samuel Dalembert at the four (maybe Elton Brand coming off the bench), and Spencer Hawes at the five. The Sixers could win around 50 games per season and could make it to the Conference Semi’s or the Conference Finals. Whether they could make it to the NBA Finals, depends on what they do with free agency in upcoming years and Elton Brands waning contract.
The Sixers are close to a top 5 team, that is constantly televised on ESPN and TNT. They are just two players away, ones that can improve on the young core that the management has put together (Thad Young, Lou, Jrue, and Evan Turner).