Tag Archives: Elton Brand

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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How good are the Clips?

Baron Davis going to the Clippers certainly makes them a much better team. The Davis-Brand inside outside combo will be one of the best in the leage, but overall, I don’t know how much better this Clips will really be next year. They’ll certainly be a lot more exciting and will improve from last year’s 23 wins, but are they a playoff team? Given the strength of the Western Conference next year I’m really not sure.

The new look Clips certainly won’t be approaching the top tier of the conferece, the Lakers, Spurs, Hornets group. They probably can’t really challegene the next group of teams, consisting of the Jazz, Rockets and probably, based on last year’s trends, the Trail Blazers. They may be able to get into the third tier, with the Mavericks, Suns, and Nuggets and possibly, depending on who replaces Davis in Golden State, the Warriors. To get into that group they’ll also be fighting with the Kings, leaving 12 teams fighting hard for the 8 playoff spots out West.

The Davis-Brand Clips just don’t seem to be that well constructed. Davis is an elite point guard, but he’s a career 32 percent three point shooter who won’t do much to stretch the floor. Brand and center Chris Kaman are both traditional, back to the basket type players, but neither is a great high-post player. Projected small forward Al Thorton is an exciting player in transition, but he doesn’t have a consistent outside shot either. Cuttino Mobley is the only Clipper who is a decent outside shooter, but even he has declined in terms of percentage since got to LA 3 years ago. Also, the bench will be painfully thin, consisting of a declining Tim Thomas, Shaun Livingston’s reconstructed knee and rookies Eric Gordon and DeAndre Jordan. That is a pretty incoherent group. They seem like a slow it down, post-up team with Brand and Kaman, but their perimeter players are best in transition and aren’t shooters. Yet they can’t run with Brand and Kaman in the lineup.

Maybe in a couple of years the Clips will be better. If Gordon and Jordan develop up to their potential (a big question with the Clips) they’ll pair effectively with Davis and Thorton to create a team that is a terror on the break. On the other hand, if they add a couple of good outside shooters they could be a devastating half-court team. But right now, they seem like a team without a philosophy who won’t be able to keep up with the Lakers or bang with the Spurs. As currently constituted, I think they’ll be lucky to compete for the 7th or 8th playoff spot. That’s not how I’d spend my $100 mil, but if Donald Sterling wants to, so be it.

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