One of the numerous criticisms of the Sixers bad-to-get-good process under GM Sam Hinkie was that they didn’t pay a couple of well-respected veterans to round out the roster to help teach the young players what it takes to be a professional. Critics pointed to Minnesota with Kevin Garnett, Andre Miller and Tayshaun Prince as an example of how to bring along youth the right way. The impact of these imaginary vets has been overblown — a couple of older guys in the locker room would not have kept Jahlil Okafor off TMZ — but it can show young players the level of dedication and commitment needed to thrive (or even stick) in the league.
Now that Jerry Colangelo is in the big chair in Philadelphia, suddenly the Sixers are talking to veterans, reports David Aldridge of NBA.com.
Other sources said the Sixers are talking to former star Elton Brand and NBA veteran Shane Battier about joining the organization, hoping to bring in guys with sterling reputations to serve as role models for the young players.
“Josh definitely wants to pick up the pace, but some of the people in the organization just don’t get it,” a league source said over the weekend.
There is only so much they should pick up the pace — and they certainly don’t want to make any moves this season that would have them winning a lot more games. The Sixers likely will have three and maybe four first round picks (depending on how the lottery balls bounce for the Lakers). They have Dario Saric who should come over from Europe in the next couple years. There are going to be a lot of young players with potential if Sam Hinke drafts well, the Sixers shouldn’t don’t want to throw that young talent away for mid-level veterans that win them 30 games. They are invested in the process and can’t pull out now.
But if it’s good PR to bring in Battier this season — and he certainly could be a good locker room mentor — then go ahead. Next summer spend some money wisely on leaders and young players with potential who can be poached (restricted free agents). Spend some money and assets, but don’t blow up the process. Patience will pay off.