If we have a chance to improve this roster at all, we do it. Josh Smith not be a prototypical power forward, but I truly believe the Suns model of offense and defense is the future of the NBA, especially the power forward position. The era of slow big men who rebound and collect garbage points is finished. The new PF position will be bigger, faster, quicker and demand a include more fundamental skills like passing, perimeter shooting and a better handle. Michael Beasley is the wave of the new future imo. The future of the NBA lie on big men who can spread the court with their jump shot and attack the rim with their handle. I say we start early. Stand firm, continue to draft players with an all around game, super athleticism, and emphasize defense. What happens when you have the most athletic team in the nba with players that all pride themselves on defense? Championship baby.
The three players other than Iggs that will be our new core for the future will be Thaddeus Young, Jason Smith and Louis Williams.
Thad has already shown glimpses of why he must get more minutes. He has struggled with his shooting a bit, but has already shown that he has excellent mechanics and has range from the mid to long range field. Most importantly what he has shown is a tendency to always be around the ball defensively. I am very confident that Thad will be a premiere defensive player in this league some day. He is an absolute monster in the paint with his size, wing span, soft hands around the rim and athleticism. His offensive game will come to him, but I want to see the coaches continue to place the demand on rebounding and defense with Thad. Thad is at a crucial point in his NBA career. The way he is coached will impact the way he plays the game for a long time. I firmly believe Thad, in a few years, will be a defensive player of the year candidate and average around 13 points, 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and 2 steals per game. He seems to be a solid, all around player with a very high ceiling.
Jason Smith has impressed me on his defense. On offense he has shown that he is fearless, has a very reliable mid range shot, attacks the rim relentlessly, and can make the extra pass to find the open man. But on defense, he has shown that he is a great shot blocker, he has a very high motor, hustles, and can hold his own in the paint against bigger players. Jason Smith has a huge skill set that he will be able to work with as he develops his game. He may never be a Dirk or a Bosh, but he will be a very good player in this league some day based on his well rounded skill set. There are only a handful of 7 footers in the league with Smith's ability to run the court, hit the jumper, rebound, block shots, make the extra pass and with a quick step strong enough to attack the rim facing the basket.
Louis Williams is one of the most impressive young talents I've seen across the NBA in a while, especially for a 21 year old. His ability to see the floor and make the smart pass is improving every game he plays. His defense has shown a drastic improvement compared to last season as well. Last year he looked completely lost on defense, losing his man on the court on multiple occasions. Granted he has done it some this season, but he is doing other things that make him an excellent defensive player. Filling the pass lanes, pressuring the handler, relentlessly looking for steals.
What I like about these 3 young players is that they are impact players to say the least. Each player brings multiple layers of their game to the Sixers. Players these days cannot solely rely on one skill set to improve the team. They must be able to pass, rebound, shoot, play defense, etc... This is a great core to start the rebuilding process. The 07 draft is looking to be a very good one, and we haven't even seen Herbert Hill yet, who was the most impressive Summer League player on the Sixers.
Rebounding, athleticism, defense and passing are the elements that win you a championship and it is good to see the Sixers holding strong on this foundation. I have complete confidence that after whomever we get in free agency, and after whomever we draft next year, the Sixers will be the most athletic team in the nba in 08. The Sixers finally have something we've needed for years: an IDENTITY. It is a good building block for what is to become. Opposing teams will finally know what to expect when they play the Sixers. They will have to compete to the fullest level to keep up our future uptempo game, which has shown a ton of flashes already this season.
Rebounding, defense and athleticism, now that is a great start in molding a championship contender.