|The Philadelphia 76ers and net GM: Tim Bates pick 8th. They select Vince Carter, SG, 6-7, North Carolina.|
I. TEAM HISTORY
Boy, sure feels like the Larry Brown express is on the right track. The Philly boys posted a 31-51 record last year, a nine game improvement form the 1996-97 campaign. In addition to that, they beat some real good teams along the way. The beat the Bulls and Lakers twice. Since the good Doctor J retired in 1987 basketball has been fairly bleak in South Philly. Every year it seemed we optimisticly march into the draft lottery with our hope to find our next basketball savior. Then the next year we ended up looking towards next year's trip to Seacaucus, NJ. We have pondered our fate as the names of Shawn Bradley, Sharone Wright, and Jerry Stackhouse trickled from the mouth of David Stern. Who would take the baton from Dr. J? Who's got next? Who would put butts in the seats at the CoreState Center? Who would ignite the fire with the ravenous Philly fans? Pat Corce? Well, sort of.
Pat Croce isn't the answer on the court but he did start the fire that seems to be getting hotter. Pat has guided the team through a turn in the right direction. He pesters everyone until he has new ownership, and new stadium, and the number 1 draft pick. This guy is excitement at a fever pitch. Pat was smart enough to grab Allen Iverson (The Future) and people were starting to take notice. Pat had some bad coaching and GM hires in 1996, so in 1997 he cleaned house in the front office and started over.
In 1997, the whole world watched as the Celtics courted Rick Pitino. Why couldn't the Sixers get this guy? Pat waited and got his man, Larry Brown. Together with Billy King, the three men gutted the team and built from the ground up. A blockbuster draft day deal was the start. The traded the rights to Keith Van Horn and a whole bunch of salary to New Jersey for the right to Tim Thomas and the 21st pick (Anthony Parker). Shazam! Good bye long term contracts. Then on December 18th went Montross and Stackhouse to Detroit for Theo Ratliff and Aaron McKey. One month later on January 18, Jackson and Weatherspoon were sent to Golden State for Brian Shaw and Joe Smith. Now the rebuilding was in full swing. Mr. Fix it, Larry Brown, has begun to work his magic. Since the all-star break the Sixers played at a .472 clip (17-19) which would translate into 39 wins next year. Throw in a couple more wins and the make the playoffs. This must be the goal of the Sixers next year. I think they will make it.
II. Team Needs
The NBA draft officially begins the 1998-99 campaign for the 76ers. They got two needs, size and long range shooting. They can get some size drafting at the 8th position and that is what I expect they will do. I really think the can help there team here.
Their main concern for the off-season is to decide to do with Ratliff, Coleman, Smith, Shaw and Iverson. It is going to be a busy time for the Sixers and much cash will have to be spent. The Sixers are shooting for the playoffs next year. Anything less would be a disappointment. I will discuss Free agency later in this report
III. Draft History
The story of where are they now?
Last 10 Years
Iverson, Thomas, Parker and Stewart are the only draft picks in the last ten years that are still on the Philly Roster.
Salaries courtesy of Patricia Benders web site: http://www.dfw.net/%7Epatricia/index.html
1. Derrick Coleman is not officially a free agent but he has a buy-out clause in his contract. If the Sixers don't buy him out his salary will be 13.1 million for the 1998-99 season. The buy-out is around 8 million. Derrick played hard this year and seemed to work well with Iverson. Derrick appears to be happy with Larry Brown and his situation. You don't hear the trade talk from Coleman anymore but you do from the Sixers. The feeling around the league is that the Sixers will buy out Derrick and let him go. Some people think that the Sixers plan is to buy-out Coleman and then try a to sign him long term.
What worries me about keeping Derrick is his injuries. He only played in 59 games this year and 57 last year. His Career high for games played in a year is 77 and his low is 11 in a year. He has only played in 70 or more games twice in his career. He shot 41 % from the floor this year. This is not good for a power forward. He seems to come to camp over weight and use the first month of the season to get in shape.
I know this is a tough call. When he wants to D.C. is one of the best at his position in the game. I would try to keep him a Sixer. He seems happy and Iverson likes him. He led the team in Scoring 21 times and in rebounding 44 times, and remember he only played in 59 games.
2. Theo Ratliff - Theo is a keeper as well. Lets the rest of the team play more aggressive defense knowing that Theo is there to block shots. He will be expensive but I believe he will be worth it.
3. Allen Iverson - Allen isn't a free agent but there is a July 1 to October 1 window to extend his contract. I would try to sign other first and tell Allen that his pay-off will be at the end of the summer.
4. Joe Smith - Nice to have Joe stick around but we really don't have room in the line-up or under the cap. I know Iverson really wants him to stay. Joe would have to come cheap. The only way I would consider Joe is if they buy Coleman out.
5. Brian Shaw - I would like to keep Brian but he is too expensive. The team holds the options for 3.4 million. This would not be smart. You might be able to find the same player for 1 million.
6. Mark Davis - I like Mark Davis. I would keep him if economically feasible. Good in the locker room and on the bench for attitude and leadership. Hard worker.
7. Kebu Stewart - Keep for the minimum, he is a hard worker and is a good project.
8. William Cunningham - Dump, he will be around later if we need him.
9. Doug Overton - Nice player with a good attitude but no room for him.
10. Beniot Benjamin - Not really listed as a free agent but was with the team at the end of the year. I would keep him around at the minimum. Big body.
Analysis by Position
A. CENTER (Theo is about to become a star)
Theo Ratliff - After they resign him to a long-term deal, Philly looks good at the Center position. Ratliff is small for a center at 6-10 and 225 pounds but he can defend and block shots. He shot 51.3 % from the field last year which ranked 13th in the league. He is an excellent shot blocker, last year he averaged 3.15 blocks per game which was 4th in the league. I really like this player. He will give you 10 points and 8 to 10 boards per game. That is a bonus. In addition he just turned 25 years old. He will get even better.
Scott Williams - Scott will never live up to his contract. He will always been included in trade talks due to Philly trying to dump Salary. Scott is a good back up Center and seems to be okay with that. He gets about 14 minutes per game when Coach Brown can work him in. I wouldn't be upset if they traded him.
Benoit Benjamin - Benoit came around toward the end of the year. He played out to consecutive 10-day contracts in the spring and then got signed for the rest of the season. He has a good body for the Center position, 7-0 and 270 pounds. He is only played for 14 minutes per game and only got into 14 games. My guess is he will not put on the Philly uniform next year.
B. POWER FORWARD (Too Derrick or not to Derrick, that is the question)
Derrick Coleman - All in all Derrick had a good year. Injuries found their way to Derrick like they usually do. He only played in 59 games but in those 59 games he put up some good numbers. Around 18 points per game to go with 10 boards. He ranked 17th in the league with double doubles with 32. Derrick seems to like Iverson and Coach Brown and appears to be finding a home in Philly. I doubt he will be in Philly next year. There are trade rumors swirling in the air and talk of Philly buying him out and letting him go. I guess Brown, Croce, and King feel that 13.1 million ought to get more than 59 games and a 41% shooting average. Stay tuned on this one. A Large Hole - That what Philly has at power forward if Derrick leaves. All the other forwards on the roster don't fix the mold for power forward. I believe that the Sixers are looking at this spot in the draft. If they get a Center, then they slide Ratliff over to power forward. If they get a power forward then the got Ratliff at Center.
C. SMALL FORWARD (One to many stars)
Tim Thomas - Once labeled "the only untouchable player" on the Philly roster by Brown. By the end of the season Brown was saying that Thomas was underachieving. I now here his name in trade talks with Toronto. This kid will shine, I hope the fans have the patience to wait. Not a bad rookie Campaign. 11 points and 4 rebounds per game. He shot 37% from behind the arch and 75% from the line. He needs to work on shot selection; he only shot 44% from the floor. He needs more conditioning and some good leadership.
Joe Smith - Joe will most likely be gone. Joe didn't do much to make himself worth much to the Sixers. He racked up most of his statistics at Golden Sate before coming to the Sixers. The Sixers might try to keep him if they trade Thomas but I think that is unlikely.
Mark Davis - I like Davis as a role player on this team. He is good for a spark off the bench. He is a true fighter, willing to do what it takes to win. This guy stays on my team as a strong sub for Larry Brown. Mark started 12 games the year for the team.
D. SHOOTING GUARD
Aaron McKey - A good heads up player with excellent defensive skills. He can help guard those tall point guards Iverson can't handle. He is a Philly boy and I think he likes being here. He is not the guy I want to start at the shooting guard position. He only shoots 36% from the field on 19% from 3-point land. A shooting guard that can't shoot very well is a problem. Philly will need to find a more suitable running mate to go along with Iverson. I like McKey, He brings a lot to the table but he should come off the bench.
Anthony Parker - Here is a 6-6 215 pounder that could guard the big point guards. We really didn't get much of a chance to see Anthony last year. He only appeared in 39 games for about 5 minutes per game. He shot 40% from the field and 33% from behind the 3-point line. He might develop into a player. We got two more years to find out. He poured in the points at Bradley.
E. POINT GUARD
Allen Iverson - The Answer. The kid has a lot going for him. He wants to play in Philly and wants to win real bad. His numbers look good. His 22 points a game was 8th in the league. He was 16th in the league for assists with 6.2 per game. He ranked 5th in steals per game for the entire league with 2.2 per game. He also pulled down 3.7 boards, not bad for a 6 foot 165 pound player. He was durable as well, 39.4 minutes per game and played in 80 games. He was playing some shooting guard toward the end of the season and seemed to like the freedom of that situation. His field goal percentage went up from 41% to 46% from the 1996-97 season to the 1997-98 season. The big improvement in Allen's game was the reduction in turnovers. He had 337 in the 1996-97 season and only 244 in the 1997-98 season. That is almost 100 less turnovers.
Brian Shaw - I am guessing that Brian will be gone. His cost is too high to keep. The Sixers hold a 3.4 million dollars option. My guess is they pass. Brian is tall and plays point, which would allow Allen to run free, but he just isn't the fit here.
Eric Snow - Eric was aquirred from the far right of George Karl's bench in Seattle. He has proven to be a good role player to fill in for Allen. He is a good back up and we should keep him around.
Vince drops to 8? This is a crowed position in Philly (Small forward) but I can't pass on an athlete like this. Trades can be made. This guy is listed a shooting guard as his second position. He is a good shooter from the outside but not great. He would have to improve on his outside shooting to work out in Philly at shooting guard. He would also need a little improvement in the ball handling area. These are things that he can get better at but Philly fans might not want to wait. I would play him at Small Forward.
He is a nice small forward that is very athletic and intelligent. He has a knack for only taking good shots. He shot very well at North Carolina (59.1 % his senior year.) He can do some board work and defend very well. This guy is a welcome addition to any team.
He is also a great leaper that will get them on their feet in Philly. He could turn out to be a fan favorite. This guy has great potential to get better but has enough skill to contribute right away.
WHO WILL THEY TAKE.
I think the Sixers are going to take a chance on Robert Traylor, 6'8" Power Forward from Michigan. If the rumors of the Coleman buy-out are true, the got a guy here to plug into the line-up. He could become another Charles Barkley or another Oliver Miller. That is the chance they will take. He came and worked out for the Sixers and impressed Larry Brown. His weight was down to 286 pounds. If he could remain at this weight he would be a force. The risk is the cheesesteaks and calzones readily available on Broad Street. The following is a quote from Larry Brown that was printed in the Philadelphia Daily news on May 18th, 1998. "The draft, to me, has gotten deeper," 76ers coach Larry Brown said after putting Traylor through a workout yesterday at the CoreStates Center. "He went through the drills a lot better than most of the guys we had in last year. We had guys who couldn't get up and down the court twice. We even drafted one of them. "That [ Traylor ] is 25 pounds lighter than his junior year is important to me. That he could come in here and do the things we asked the way he did them is important." The Sixers personnel specialists love his strength, skill and footwork, but have to wonder whether he can keep his weight under control. Whoever the Sixers take in the 8th slot will be for size. They can't spend this high a pick on the talent at shooting guard in this draft. Larry Hughes doesn't fit the need. He is more a slasher not a shooter. He shot 41% from the field in college. No thanks. If the Sixers trade down, I like them to take Bonzi Wells from Ball State. He is a 6'5" 215 pound senior who shoots well from the outside.
OTHER MOVES THE TEAM SHOULD MAKE.
XI . LATE BREAKING NEWS
June 1st - Philly has declined to exercise the option on Brian Shaw. His is a free agent.
|Craig Simpson - Usenet Draft Commissioner|