Faithful Reader A.L. (a.k.a. The Rabbi) e-mails to say
I’ve been reading a bit of your weblog (I even have it among my Bookmarks!), but being disappointed in not finding more about basketball and NBA.
As it may well have said in the Bible, ask and ye shall receive.
Lots of excitement going on in The Association this week, as free agent season kicks off For Real. The big news of the last couple of days is Elton Brand, one of the few reliable 20-10 guys in the league, surprisingly accepted a 5-year, $80 million offer to come play in Philadelphia with the insurgent 76ers.
There’s plenty of talk about the odd circumstances around this decision. Brand opted out of his contract with the Clippers, but every indication was that this decision was made to give the Clippers cap flexibility to go out and sign a big-name free agent, something they by bringing in Baron Davis. It will be interesting to learn a bit more, over the next few weeks, about exactly why Brand decided to leave La-La Land. The obvious reasons, namely that he gets to not have to play for the most cursed franchise in pro sports, and that he gets to go to a conference where he has a much better shot at making the playoffs, and possibly also at making the NBA finals, are probably the right ones.
Getting past the politics, as an erstwhile Sixers fan, I’m very pleased to see them improving just as I’ve lost all faith that my adopted Nuggets are going to ever be anything more than interesting, but ultimately unsuccessful. I am pleased to say that I was wrong about Allen Iverson at pretty much every stage of his career. I thought he was the wrong choice for the Sixers when they drafted him, and all he did was win the MVP award and lead them to the finals for the first time in 20 years. Then, I thought it was a huge mistake for them to trade him, and all it did is actually give the team a chance at actually becoming a good, competitive team. And I thought the Nuggets were the next Western Conference power and, well, let’s just say the less said about that particular prediction, the better.
The Sixers are certainly not yet on par with the Celtics or Pistons, and I’d also rank them below the Magic and possibly the Raptors, depending on how the Jermaine O’Neal trade pans out for them, but it’s a team with big upside. Their oldest starter is Andre Miller, a 32 year old point guard who has always thrived on his craftiness and defense instead of quickness and shooting, traits that should be able to survive the transition into his mid-30’s. Plus, Sweet Lou Williams, his backup, is probably already NBA starter quality. All 4 other starters are at least interesting talents, and Brand really makes them an interesting experiment.
Unfortunately for me, if I’m going to pick up my Sixers-fandom again, I’m going to have to pick up a new jersey. Wearing my Iverson #3 from the Finals year will only land me on straightcashhomey.net, I’m afraid…