I purposely did not write something about the Sixers’ draft performance immediately following Thursday night’s event at the Garden. It was too soon. I really wanted to have the weekend to think about what they did – or didn’t do – and not just automatically kill Billy King (which, as a Sixers fan, is pretty much the automatic response after being subjected to years of ineptitude). Despite the fact that they make it really, really easy, I don’t want this part of the Dime site to turn into a constant Sixers-bashing forum.
So that’s what I did; I waited. Played a little ball with the rest of the guys at Dime on Friday afternoon, saw some of my boys from school on Saturday night, went to see Knocked Up with the girl yesterday afternoon (kinda overrated by the way), and came back fresh this morning. And you know what? I think I came to the absolute worst conclusion possible … I’m indifferent.
Lots of people have been asking me since the 12th pick was announced on Thursday night, “So what do you think of Thaddeus Young?” … Ok, I guess. Would I have been more excited at the prospect of Al Thornton stepping on the court in a Sixers uni and immediately getting buckets? Probably.
“How about the rest of your draft? Jason Smith? Derrick Byars? The immortal Herbert Hill?” … Whatever.
Obviously, being indifferent is worse than being elated, if, say, King had done something to get us in a spot to take Joakim, or Yi, or Jeff Green. But indifferent is better than being frustrated/infuriated, if, say, King had packaged players and picks to move up for Spencer Hawes. I’m just not sure what our plan is for the future. Is it to bring in young pieces in the 6-8 to 7-0 range who can run, who can play uptempo ball? If yes, does that mean that Andre Miller is going to be moved somewhere to facilitate that end? We don’t know because we can’t tell and haven’t been told. We haven’t been let in on the plan. If there is one.
When it comes down to it, I like Thaddeus Young. I do. I wish he had a chance to play with Allen Iverson. For years, we basically refused bring in any thoroughbreds to run with AI, to get up and down and run all day (other than Andre Iguodala, who has been great). But Allen’s gone, so of course now we decide to bring in the athletes.
I’m not really mad at the Young selection. Although I am already a little tired of non-Sixers fans cracking the “They couldn’t even draft the right Young” joke because Nick Young was still on the board. Thaddeus could be a nice player for us for a long time, or he could be out of the League in a few years. Who knows. I’m willing to roll the dice a bit.
I don’t know what to think of Jason Smith. I’m not going to pretend that I saw a bunch of Colorado State games over the last few years, so I can only go off of talking to people in the League or scouting reports. The fact that the Sixers seemed to like him way, way more than anyone else in the Draft, and were supposedly even considering taking him at No. 12 scares me a bit. If it was Jerry West in love with him, I’d probably be on board. But it’s not. The love is coming from the a guy who does things like decide that it’s a great idea to take Louis Williams when you already have Allen Iverson and Ryan Gomes is still on the board. It’s coming from the guy who broke the bank for Kenny Thomas and Brian Skinner. It’s coming from the guy who traded for Chris Webber and then rewarded him with an unbelievably generous buyout. It’s coming from the guy who traded Allen Iverson for 50 cents on the dollar. You get the idea.
I guess my biggest disappointment with the Sixers’ draft is that they really didn’t do anything to put us in a position to win. I sat there on draft night and watched the Blazers, for the second year in a row, wheel and deal and do whatever they can to get better. I endured sitting with Celtics fans as their team, after watching LeBron take a subpar supporting cast to the NBA Finals, make a power move to immediately make them players in the East while still retaining their core. True, our guy Ray is 32 and coming off double-ankle surgery, but a trio of Allen, Paul Pierce and Al Jefferson can win in the East today. The most noise coming out of our camp this week? How we’re going to keep Joe Smith. Wonderful.
Maybe Billy will surprise us and swing a deal that still gets us Noah or Yi or dare I say it, Kobe (make no mistake, what LeBron was able to do this year was not lost on No. 24 whatsoever). And I know that he tried. We’ve been told over and over the last week about how King was “furiously” working the phones to make something happen. Great, we get an “A” for effort. What does it mean though? More likely than not, we’ll stand pat and continue to build for the future. Which is fine … for most clubs and most cities. But for us, for Philly, can we afford to wait?
Better yet, can Billy afford to wait?