It must be the summer heat. The chatter in Sixers-ville lately has turned to optimism (albeit guarded). There is resolution that this upcoming season will be a brutal learning experience, but I'm hearing many of the Sixers faithful saying they're okay with that. The further we get from the 2007 NBA draft the better its gotten. The hoopla over free agency is over. No Joe Smith. No power froward is coming. What you see is what we got. People are thinkin' "young" as in Thadeus Young. Even Billy King is being given a pass ... okay the tone is more like "We could do worse, We could have Danny Ainge or Isiah Thomas". I'm not so sure that's really an endorsement.
From my view, the Sixers have had a prudent summer. They got squat to bargain with. Last year's house cleaning was dramatic enough. There is no thralling fan base to appease. Nothin' but die-hards like myself. Go with the "Young and Untested". Sound like a soap opera? Maybe it is.
Personally I think the youth movement is great. However, there are more than a few questions marks. But what has really been bothering me is ... What kind of team will the new Sixers be?
I'm talkin' about what is Mo gonna do. I thought Stephen A. was gonna touch on it in an article earlier this week (Cheeks has to make things go), but as fate would have it Mr. Smith let me down. Youth is not a PLAN. With all due respect to my friends in the blogosphere. Youth is not a PLAN. Players need a system to excel in the NBA. You know ... Phil Jackson the vaunted triangle offense (okay Tex Winter). The Suns play run, gun and shoot the 3. The Warriors play 5 forwards that live by the 3 die by the 3. For the Heat its just give to D. Wade and that Big guy will cover your back. For Larry Brown it was "play the right way". For the Spurs its "bore me" ball and in your face defense. Utah has a system. So it's not just players ... it's about the coach. What kind of coach will Mo Cheeks be? When asked this year about his resurrection with Dallas, Jerry Stackhouse attributed some of it to maturity and the rest to "the system". So what's Mo's system.
Coaches have a family history. Mo is a disciple of Larry Brown. Is it this gonna be a "play the right way" team. Focusing on the fundamentals. Maybe it will be molded in the likeness of the team he won a championship on as a player. I loved that '82 squad. But that was a different NBA. The Spurs and Pistons got to the promised land with tenacious 'D". Somehow I don't get the feeling the Sixers are gonna scare anybody with their defense. Taking a look at the players the Golden State Warriors could be pattern. We have six pack of players that can play small forward. But the 3 point shooting would have to improve. I am not a fan of Don Nelson and his junk ball offenses. Last year was a fluke (you can tell'em I said that).
My spidey senses are telling me the Sixers will be going with the flavor of the month. That up tempo style the Suns have made so fashionable. The Grizzles played with it last year and hired Marc Iavaroni in the hope he could bring it from Phoenix to Memphis. Fans love it. Players love it. It covers up poor defense and the Sixers did beat the Suns at their own game last year (remember the streak that ended in Philly). But ... there is always that little man in my stomach ...
Can Mo and the Sixers do it? Can you win a championship with it? The Suns have made a lotta noise, but in the playoffs ... when teams can prepare for them .... they have come up short.
I know we won't get the answer in summer ball. So I'm still sittin on my hands until the fall. Maybe I'll take up baseball again .... what the heck did I just say ... its gotta be the heat!