Who needs Elton Brand?
Elton Brand is an amazing basketball player.
The Philadelphia 76ers were a promising team with money to throw at a free-agent.
So add the two together and surely you will get an improved team yes?
For a multitude of reasons the Six ers simply have not reproduced their stellar play of last season. Andre Igoudala numb ers have dropped across the board, the team's fast break style has disappeared and Elton Brand has not meshed wi th the team, and though not playing badly, is not recreating the 20-10 Brand we're so used to.
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Until a couple of weeks ago that is, Brand suffered another injury, dislocating his right shoulder and it was announced he would miss a month, only adding to the loyal Sixers' fans woes.
The Six ers have picked it up in recent weeks though. Igoudala has finally begun to start playing as if he deserves the money the team threw at him last year. Andre Miller is still being a veteran leader and playing much better than everyone gives him credit for.
And the young guns have started chipping in as well.
Thaddeus Young is the provider of many highlights and is showing a lot of potential for being a great piece for this team in the future.
Barely anyone knew who Marresse Speights when he was drafted, but he's been one of the more surprising rookies and is providing good production at the back-up centre position.
The exciting style of last year is back, and the Sixers are winners of four in a row and now own the 9th spot in the Eastern playoff race.
But of course, this is all without Elton Brand. So the question on most peoples lips is...Are the Six ers better off without Elton Brand?
You could be forgiven for thinking so.
The Sixers look competitive again and are reminding people of last year's team.
But do not be so quick to label Brand as the main problem for the Sixers. There are a whole heap of problems that have been harboring the team all year.
Igoudala has only picked up his play of late and for much of this season the team have simply been lacking the aggressiveness or desire to win games against top tier teams.
The firing of a head coach always brings change and sometimes players need time to adjust, for better or for worse, and again the Sixers have been subject to this with the firing of Mo Cheeks earlier in the season.
So, what does the future hold for the relationship of Brand and the Philadelphia 76 ers ?
Well it is still a fortnight until Brand is scheduled to return, and who knows if he will be effective or be able to hold his body together for the playoff push?
I believe Andre needs some time back as Sixers leader to re-establish his confidence and then try to mesh the two together on Brand's return. After all, this is really the only option.
It’s unlikely the Sixers could trade Brand so early into his contract, and he certainly won't be simply walking away after all that money is thrown at him.
I think Brand still has the ability to be a 20-10, All-Star caliber player, its just that his body is betraying him.
The Six ers need to continue to develop Igoudala , Young and Speights , while bringing in some gunn ers from the 3-point line to address the team's biggest weakness.
They should use Andre Miller before his age catches him, and hopefully Brand's body will return to its full efficiency.
Then the team must simply figure out how to keep this new fast break style and incorporate Brand into it.
The promise for this team is still there, and it’s beginning to shine through once again.
By Joe Buckley
Pro-Basketball Fans staff-writer
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