1. What’s the value of the Sixers’ 2016 first-round pick? Should they be shopping it?
Goldwein: Unclear, and sure. Everything should be “shopped.” This is a particularly interesting asset because the Sixers are sort of in control of its value. Sign a free agent or two, and it plummets. Stay the course, and who knows. I, the expert that I am, have them making the postseason next year regardless (because, Eastern Conference). If some team out there thinks the Sixers are forever doomed, and is willing to give up an asset or two (an undervalued prospect, a slightly overpriced or injured star, a draft pick), I’d be open to discussion. Sell high, right?
Share: It remains to be seen. With the team’s 2015 summer plans up in the air, it could be of interest to try to get value for it before trying to sign a good, young free agent or two over the summer.
Toporek: They shouldn’t try to sell it for 60 cents on the dollar, but it shouldn’t be off-limits, either. Frankly, no asset aside from Embiid should be considered off-limits in trade discussions. It all depends on the context of the proposals they’re receiving.
Dimoff: I don’t think they should be shopping it just yet unless the right offer comes along. Even with the current core and the addition Embiid/next year’s picks, Philadelphia should still be pretty crummy next season. This pick could pretty easily still be in the top 10 in 2016.
MacMullan: At this point it seems too risky to shop the pick. There are far too many variables–Embiid’s 2015-16 minutes restrictions, Noel and MCW’s continued development, Saric’s status, teams with high quality RFA’s willingness to match max offers–to have a clear idea of how much improvement the 2015-16 76ers can make. If some form of lottery reform passes prior to the 2016 draft even moderate improvement in the standings might not keep the 76ers from being a top contender for the 1st pick.
2. Will the team hold on to Kirilenko for the foreseeable future?
Goldwein: I think so. Ronald Roberts is about as good a D-League prospect as they come, and he’s gone. So unless there’s some unforeseen arrival — which shouldn’t be ruled out — I see him sticking around.
Share: If he could hold any sort of value at the deadline, there’s no reason to let him go for no reason at this point. If they think he’s uselessly taking up a roster spot they could use for a D-Leaguer though, I’m sure they wouldn’t hesitate to eat his money and cut him.
Toporek: If there’s legitimate behind-the-scenes interest in him, there’s no way Hinkie will let him walk without trying to snag another second-round pick for him. Doubt he ever plays a minute in a Sixers uniform — or even makes it to Philly, for that matter — but there’s no sense in eating his contract without gauging his market value first.
Dimoff: Probably not, but hopefully they can convince him to stick around this year. He was delightful to watch during his prime in Utah, and while he’s surely lost a step since then, I’d love to see him work in Philadelphia’s up-and-down system. Plus, think about all the #veteran-ness he could add!
MacMullan: If the foreseeable future can be defined as “until we close in on the trade deadline”, yes. There isn’t much of a benefit to buying him out or releasing him for nothing now. However, if the personal issue keeping Kirilenko off the court is resolved there’s always the possibility that a contender that suffers an injury would be willing to send a future 2nd at the deadline.
3. What kind of impact do moves like the Davies trade have on morale?
Goldwein: Not positive. He’s a hardworking player, by all accounts. His coaches and teammates liked him. But Holding onto Davies because he’s a nice guy would set a troublesome precedent. There’s tradeoff here between “morale” and value. While one 2020 second-round pick won’t make a difference, seven might. Though maybe Davies would too.
Share: They certainly don’t boost it. To see a guy who seemingly was a very hard-worker and well-liked is frustrating, I’m sure. Brett Brown didn’t seem too happy about the move, either. Is dumping a well-liked guy for a 293rd second-round pick really worth it, especially in the thick of all the losing? I’m not sure it is, and it probably just adds insult to injury. But perhaps that’s why I’m not a general manager.
Toporek: I’d be surprised if it made a major splash. Though the guy was seemingly well-liked, I don’t think any player on the roster aside from Embiid, Nerlens or MCW should feel entirely confident about their long-term future with this team. That, more than any minor incidental trade, is what could erode locker room morale.
Dimoff: I usually try not to get into the heads of players, but I imagine that this probably irked a few guys. Let’s be clear: Davies sucked, but he was also by all accounts a great guy and one of the team’s hardest workers. And while Coach Brown’s comments on the matter aren’t exactly cause for panic, pissing off the coach doesn’t seem quite worth it for just one second-rounder.
MacMullan: In the short term, it is probably discouraging for some of the more established members of the team to see a good locker room guy get moved. But I have to imagine that some of the unproven members of the 76ers see it as a “next man up” opportunity to pick up some minutes and put together a stretch of games that helps them stick in the NBA past this season.
4. What role will Aldemir play this season?
Goldwein: Rebounder and steady presence. I’ve spent as much time writing this response as he has on an NBA court. But on this team, he’ll be a veteran. LRMAM, but bigger and stronger.
Share: How much he’ll play is unclear, but it seems like he’ll be utilized for his physicality and do a lot of the dirty work. Setting screens (which he’s already better than all of his teammates at), working the glass, etc., whether it be for short or long stretches of time.
Toporek: He’ll be a poor man’s Reggie Evans. A guy who hits the boards hard, plays physical defense, and rarely, if ever, touches the ball on offense.
Dimoff: The answer here may be entirely reliant on the play of Henry Sims this season. Sims has mostly been a dumpster fire defensively and one of the league’s most inconsistent players on offense, and you gotta think that he’s the odd man out with Furkan’s four-year deal being added to an already-crowded frontcourt. I think his role will ultimately be limited this season if Sims can up his game, but I also wouldn’t be surprised if Brett Brown is already looking towards the future.
MacMullan: Aldemir should get every opportunity to demonstrate he can stick in the NBA this season, but he should do so coming off the bench mainly spelling Noel. Noel’s development is obviously more important than Aldemir’s and I don’t see how the two would gel offensively since neither has any range. I’d like to see the 76ers go small-ball with Aldemir and Covington for short stretches, and he could also be effective next to Sims.
5. Fast forward to 2018. Is Brett Brown still the head coach of the Sixers?
Goldwein: Yes. Continuity is important, and assuming Hinkie/Harris are still around (not the safest of assumptions), I think Brown will be there too.
Share: I’d sure hope so. To have this lump of length, immaturity and almost no on-ball defensive ability playing defense at a league average rate? He deserves a Nobel prize.
Toporek: Zero question in my mind. All the rumblings about “Hey, be careful, the Sixers will dump you when they get good” is ignoring the context of the team. I don’t think it’s lost on Hinkie and Josh Harris how difficult this job is, and the development the young guys have shown already is extremely promising. They’ll give him every chance to see this thing through to the finish line.
Dimoff: I would imagine so. It’s pretty difficult to evaluate him at this point because he’s been given essentially nothing to work with, but he’s also shown no signs that he’s a terrible coach and something certainly needs to be said about the fact that he has these Sixers playing defense at a top-15 rate. Also, if this team wants to be the next Spurs (just like everybody else), we all know that it starts with organizational consistency.
MacMullan: I truly hope so and he certainly deserves to have his patience rewarded. But obviously the NBA isn’t always fair (See: Malone, Mike) so I’ll try to rest my argument on more than “hope so” and “deserves”. He spent 11 years as an assistant for arguably the greatest franchise in professional sports. He’s managed to squeeze some solid performances out of a roster that is probably something less than fully NBA quality. The probable building blocks of the future have genuine respect and affection for him. He’ll be here when they’re good and he’ll be a major reason why it happened.