Star power is an abject must in this league, from any angle. It’s not just about the fact that this is a player-driven league or that “good players are good.” It’s that they drive ticket sales and those players are essential to winning a title. Detroit is the only real team in the last… long, long time span that did not feature a verified “star” player to win a title.
Philadelphia, on the other hand, continues to plug along without a real star. Andre Iguodala is kind of a star. He’s arguably the best complimentary player in the league, a superb passer, defender, and rebounder without being able to really create enough offense for himself. Thaddeus Young is a stellar combo forward who is still, pardon, young. Jrue Holiday is an excellent young point guard. Elton Brand was a star five years ago.
So why do they keep waiting? Why are they holding out on trades for Iguodala and standing pat in free agency? Are they just delusional in thinking this team can contend?
Turns out, not so much. Doug Collins actually has a really great take on this.
It’s not because he wants to tear up his roster by trading young players like Jrue Holiday, Evan Turner or Young to get a star. He just wants to be able to.
“When you’re playing for a championship, it seems like those deals come easier for you,” Collins said.
Collins said it’s paramount to make Philadelphia one of those destination places for stars. The only way to do that is to show that the Sixers are on their way to becoming championship material.
I’ve been critical of the Sixers for not making more moves to shake up the first-round-and-out squad they’ve constructed, but this is actually an excellent paradigm. In order to pull in free agents, they have to be a place players want to play. Philadelphia isn’t San Antonio or Minnesota, but it’s not New York or Los Angeles. If the Sixers can make a run to turn some heads and then translate that into either a trade package or a chance to bring in a difference maker, they can take a step up in the East.
It’s a patient, long-term plan to build a cohesive, effective, talented team. You know, the exact opposite approach of New York and Miami.
Maybe it’s folly and it will never happen, but it’s certainly worth the effort. Iguodala will still be tradeable at the deadline or next year, Holiday will only be better, Young, the same. The Sixers aren’t going to sacrifice their long-term maneuverability in a desperate attempt to get stars to love them. If they did, they’d be the Nets.
It’s true you have to swing when the pitch comes your way. But Collins and the team in Philadelphia are convinced you have to make sure it’s the right pitch.