Tuesday , Sep , 02 , 2008 Oly Sandor

Generation Next: Elton Brand’s revamped Philadelphia 76ers could eventually challenge Boston and Detroit

Brand and Iguodala, the club’s two stars, have much to prove. Brand must re-establish himself as an All-Star after his Achilles injury, while ‘Iggy’ has to take the next step towards superstardom. Still, these two should develop into a formidable one-two punch …

Generation Next: Elton Brand's revamped Philadelphia 76ers could eventually challenge Boston and DetroitNBA news mixed with analysis …

Their News: The 76ers are close to signing 6-foot-9 veteran forward Donyell Marshall, according to a league source. Marshall could meet today with the Sixers and sign a veteran-minimum contract – for an estimated $1.26 million – sometime this week. Marshall, 35, was recently waived by Oklahoma City. The source said the Sixers had been in discussions with Marshall since last week. A native of Reading, Pa., Marshall has played in 932 NBA games and has career averages of 11.4 points and 6.8 rebounds per game. (Philadelphia Inquirer linked on CNNSI Fan Nation)  

Our Analysis: Philadelphia’s makeover continues. They’ll soon add another complementary piece in Marshall, inking the ‘vet’ to a minimum contract.

Marshall brings three things to the 76ers. First, he’s been around. The former Connecticut star has heaps of NBA experience, which will benefit an inexperienced Philly squad.

Second, he’s a professional. In Toronto, Marshall was one of the few Raptors who always competed even when his team was out of the playoff race and lodged in the Atlantic Division cellar. His lead-by-example approach will have a positive influence.

Third, and most importantly, he can still nail those trademark three-pointers from the corner. Marshall and free agent signing Kareem Rush will come off the bench and use their range to punish defenders doubling-down on Elton Brand and helping on slasher Andre Iguodala.

Here’s the real question: how good are these revamped 76ers?

Well, pretty good.

Brand and Iguodala, the club’s two stars, have much to prove. Brand must re-establish himself as an All-Star after his Achilles injury, while ‘Iggy’ has to take the next step towards superstardom. Still, these two should develop into a formidable one-two punch.   

Then there’s Andre Miller. The pass-first table-setter is on the verge of becoming an All-Star. Miller will be a free agent in July 08, so the club must create stability by extending him.

There are some nice young pieces in Thaddeus Young and Louis Williams. Veterans like Marshall and Ratliff will add depth and provide guidance.

Philadelphia, despite the question marks, is a rising power. They’ll continue challenging Detroit and Boston and, in a few years, could emerge as one of the Eastern Conference’s elite teams.

How good is Philadelphia? When will they challenge Detroit and Boston? Get at us in the comment box below and return to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Donyell Marshall.