76ers Make or Break Offseason: Big Men Edition

Despite what has been a VERY disappointing season for the Sixers, the very, very near future can “shine bright like a diamond” for this Philly squad. I don’t need to explain why the Sixers have had a “cloudy with a chance” season with all of the focus on the Andrew Bynum saga. But with an excellent year from Jrue Holiday and a few other bright spots—Thad Young and Spencer Hawes (recently)—the Sixers are looking up at a bright future depending on what they do this offseason. If they do work this offseason, they can be characterized as an elite team. If they stay silent like they have the past few summers—with exception to this past one, which turned out to be more of a negative than a positive—they are doomed for failure for at least the next three years.

This article will analyze what the Sixers can do this offseason. Within the top 20 free agents, there are seven big men who could really help the City of Brotherly Love. The following lists the big men and how they can help the squad.

1) Dwight Howard (C)

2012-2013 Stats: 16.7 PPG, 12.7 RPG, 2.4 BPG, 1.1 SPG, 57.4 FG%

Obviously, Dwight Howard would be the number one option. We all know what he is capable of on the court, but as we saw in Orlando, D-12 is very immature. Although he is a monster in the paint and is the direct, point blank answer to the Sixers problems, he does not want to play in Philadelphia. With that in mind, the front office probably won’t waste time trying to chase a guy who they are very unlikely to get and risk letting someone else, who is a more feasible option, slip away.

2) Josh Smith (PF)

2012-2013 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 4.3 APG, 1.8 BPG, 1.2 SPG, 46.0 FG%

Smith could really help the Sixers out.

Ok, this could happen, now we’re talking. If you recall back to when the Sixers first signed Elton Brand, they were choosing between Josh Smith and Elton Brand. Brand came up short. Who knows what could have happened if we had taken the younger Josh Smith. Smith has a down side, though: he lacks maturity and an outside shot. He lacks outside accuracy and thinks he has it.

So, he will jack up threes, which for him are bad shots. He, however, can hit a medium range jumper. Smith is very athletic, strong, young, and just big. He can help on the defensive end in the paint. He can help on the offensive end when it comes to scoring around the rim and stretching the opposing team’s big men out beyond the paint. If the opportunity comes, why not go after him? Give it a shot.

3) Al Jefferson (C)

2012-2013 Stats: 17.5 PPG, 9.1 RPG, 1.2 BPG, 1.0 SPG, 48.7 FG%

Another good player to chase is Al Jefferson. He is a very underrated big man. Originally a Celtic, he got traded to the Timberwolves and flourished into one of the league’s best.

He has a good medium range/outside jump shot, he is very good in the paint, he defends, and he rebounds. He is a bit inconsistent, which is why he has never been an All-Star. But, there is no reason NOT to sign this big guy when the time is right.

I mean, when No. 5 overall pick Thomas Robinson says “Al Jefferson is the hardest player I’ve ever had to defend”, you know Jefferson can help the Sixers offensively.

4) Paul Millsap/David West (PF)

Millsap’s 2013-2013 Stats: 14.9 PPG, 7.2 RPG, 1.0 BPG, 1.4 SPG, 49.4 FG%

West’s 2013-2013 Stats: 17.1 PPG, 7.7 RPG, 3.0 APG, 1.0 BPG/SPG, 49.3 FG%

These two guys are very similar players. They are both very underrated players, and both are about 6’9″. These two big men are two of the best power forwards in the league. Both possess good inside and medium range games offensively. If it comes down to these two guys, I’d take West. But, the Sixers can’t go wrong with either big.

5) Nikola Pekovic (C)

2012-2013 Stats: 16.1 PPG, 8.8 RPG, 0.8 BPG, 51.8 FG%

Pekovic has emerged as a solid big man.

This big guy had his breakout season this season. He has displayed some dominant post-play, especially against the Sixers. He has also been key in all of the Timberwolves wins—and losses. Pekovic is a monster on the boards and is a pain in the butt to play against if you’re a team that scores in the paint. This big, big guy would be one of the ideal signings for the Sixers. I mean, if you can’t beat ’em, join ’em!

6) Andrei Kirilenko (SF/PF)

2012-2013 Stats: 12.5 PPG, 5.7 RPG, 1.5 SPG, 50.8 FG%

Kirilenko had his best years with the Utah Jazz. He is not really a big guy, but he plays like one. He is a good defender, a good rebounder, and a very good passer. AK-47 is a capable scorer and a pretty good shooter. If the Sixers were looking to buy themselves a card to go with their big present, they’d sign this veteran to a short-term deal.

For the past yew years, the Sixers have watched while other teams improved via free agency. It is their turn to make a mark with their dough. Let’s see what they can do with the bigs this summer.


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Categories: 76ers, Editorial

Author:Austin Krell

Sixers beat writer and NBA analyst

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