Saturday , Jul , 18 , 2009 Oly Sandor

How Philadelphia solves the Elton Brand chemistry issue

Last year, the emerging Philadelphia 76ers gave free agent Elton Brand a max contract because they believed he’d put their young core over the top. By adding a perennial All-Star, The City of Brotherly Love was supposed to challenge Orlando as the Eastern Conference’s up-and-coming power. Of course, Brand got hurt early in the 2008-09 season. Prior to getting injured, it was obvious he wasn’t Philadelphia’s missing piece. Well, what went wrong? …


How Philadelphia solves the Elton Brand chemistry issue


He wasn’t a fit.

Last year, the emerging Philadelphia 76ers gave free agent Elton Brand a max contract because they believed he’d put their young core over the top. By adding a perennial All-Star, The City of Brotherly Love was supposed to challenge Orlando as the Eastern Conference’s up-and-coming power.  

Of course, Brand got hurt early in the 2008-09 season. Prior to getting injured, it was obvious he wasn’t Philadelphia’s missing piece. Well, what went wrong?

They have contrasting styles. The stocky post excels as the first option on a slowdown team. Remember, in 2006, the Clippers advanced to the second round of the playoffs by getting him the ball on the block.Yet, the 76ers thrived last season when Brand was out and they could use their athleticism to get easy baskets in the open court.

There were other issues besides tempo. Most of us overestimated Philly’s talent and were too quick to proclaim them the fourth best team in the east. Coach Mo Cheeks had lost the team, while Andre Iguodala struggled to live up to his superstar contract. 

So, assuming Brand gets healthy for training camp, how do they right the ship?

It starts with getting an identity. New coach Eddie Jordan must pick a style: half-court, fast-break, or a blend of both. Then the sideline boss can settle on a star and co-star. For instance, if Jordan wants to run, Iguodala becomes the focal point with Brand taking on a supporting role.

Next, they need to clarify the one and five spots. For different reasons, Andre Miller an unrestricted free agent, and Samuel Dalembert, a disappointment, aren’t part of the future. Miller, a 32 year old veteran, can’t come to terms on a new contract with management, while Dalembert hasn’t provided a consistent post presence. The new point guard and centre must be able and willing to play the style Jordan selects.

Lou Williams and Thaddeus Young deserve a better environment. Over the last few years, there has been too much controversy and turmoil. Brand, Iguodala, and Jordan must come together, stabilize the organization, and help these young players develop. Smith and Young playing to their potential make the 76ers a far better team.

Trading Brand is possible, but unlikely. The tough economy and falling salary cap make it tough for teams to trade or assume a ‘max’ contract, especially if the player is coming off two injury plagued seasons. Also, the club would have to take back a bad contract or two as part of any deal.

There are many concerns in Philadelphia. Figuring out how to make Brand fit is the most important. 

How do the 76ers get more out of Brand in 2010? Get at us in the comment box below and come back to HoopsVibe The Blog for more NBA tidbits. Photo courtesy of Philadelphia 76ers.