Elton Brand is not a huge difference maker.
I’m not saying he’s not a good player. He’s good, very good. I love Elton Brand’s game. He’s just not the franchise player we thought he was coming out of the 1997 draft. He is a second banana to a star and that star is currently not on the Philadelphia 76ers squad.
Andre Iguodala will never be that star unless he magically gets a wet jumper somewhere. I used to think Iggy should have been the third pick in the ’04 draft, but I guess I was wrong.
Currently, as of this writing, the Sixers are 7-7 playing one of the easiest schedules so far. They’re supposed to be well over .500 and early returns say that they’re barely hanging on to break even. I know the Sixers front office did not pay for this. It’s looking like they overpaid for him. Now I’m not hating on what he’s getting. I really couldn’t care less. I’m just putting in perspective his value for what he’s supposed to bring. The team was fine last year without him. When they acquired Brand, everyone, including me, thought “hey they finally got the stud to put them over the top.”
So WTF is going on?
The starting 5 is loaded. They have nice assets off the bench. Brand is supposed to be the guy. Isn’t this team perfectly constructed?
There is one severe weakness they have to address.
And that is a severe lack of outside shooting. They need to spread the floor to keep the opposing defender honest. For Elton to win immediately, they need to strengthen this aspect to maximize the 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 2 blocks that he’s known for. None of the guys can shoot so each time down the floor, they have to be slashing or posting up. When their 2 starting big men each demand the ball down low with no one who is a shooter, the lane gets clogged up. Therefore it’s difficult for Andre Miller to feed them the rock since there’s barely any room to work with and the defense is already expecting the pass inside. It’s no wonder these problems have Miller barely averaging 6 assists.
But even with this, even a loaded team with Elton Brand, they shouldn’t be barely .500.
Elton Brand is a Scottie Pippen-like player; a great complimentary piece for a contending team. Perhaps Brand should have gone to Atlanta (I don’t think they had money for him though). Perhaps Jerry Krause was right. When Krause traded Brand, he famously said (paraphrasing) "Elton Brand is a 20/10 player, but he’ll never be more than a 20/10 player.” I can see where he’s coming from, but I still disagree with trading him away for Tyson Chandler. He could have done a lot better than that. Anyway in the end no matter how you spin it, he’s not a difference maker such as Kevin Garnett and Tim Duncan. The years he spent with the Clippers pretty much showed us that despite having a fluke year when they went to the second round against the Suns. Under the Elton Brand era, they saw the playoffs only once.
So much for a difference maker.