Philly Makes Its Move

Out of the blue, Philly just signed Elton Brand, breaking up the new look Clippers before they ever hit the court.

The Sixers definitely are looking to compete now, and adding Brand makes them a formidable force in the East. The starting five of Andre Miller, Andre Iguodala (assuming he doesn’t pull a Brand and go elsewhere, though that is unlikely given that he’s a restricted free agent), Thaddeus Young, Brand and Samuel Dalembert is pretty formidable starting lineup, which probably compares favorably with just about any starting lineup in the East.

The new look Sixers have a real problem though. They don’t have anyone at all who can shoot. Their projected 1-2-3 combination shot 30 precent from outside last year, but all but 53 of their 360 shots came from Iguodala. Miller is a career 20 percent three point shooter who knows not to even try and Young is probably most at home at power forward and only shot 19 threes last year. That group of players simply can’t be a winning combination. A half decent defense will just double Brand on the block and sag in to prevent Young and Iguodala from cutting and there is nothing the Sixers can do about it. Louis Williams can kind of shoot, but he’s not a real answer, given the total lack of outside shooting on the Sixers roster. Iguodala is at least versatile enough to hurt you if you leave him wide open, which really can’t be said for Miller or Young. The Sixers would be wise to take a long, hard look at Ricky Davis or Brent Barry, the best outside shooters on the market, if they are really interested in winning.

This is a team that’s total of 31 percent three point shooting last year included quarter seasons each from outstanding outside shooters Kyle Korver and Gordon Giricek. They were the worst in the leage by a full percentage point and 5 points below the league average. A solid inside player like Brand will improve their shooting a little by giving them better looks, but not by that much. If they can’t find a way to space the floor and hurt teams for collapsing on Brand and Iguodala, they won’t go anywhere. But if they do, they can beat anyone. They have the personel to match up with Boston or Detroit and with some shooting they look like real contenders. But only with some shooting.

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