The King of Mt. Airy – 02-24-17

FB_IMG_1458263571898

@MtAiryPhil

PHILADELPHIA, PA

In the end, Sixers’ boss Bryan Colangelo was stuck. The thought of waking up Friday the 24th with both Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor was just too heavy a burden. Who would face the fanbase and explain how this all went astray (again)? What message would it send to the players whom you’ve openly and very publicly shopped and showcased for the past month 76ers’ games?

That scenario, as horrific as it sounds to you and I, is exactly what Colangelo saw, and that’s the number one reason Nerlens Noel now plays for the Dallas Mavericks, Okafor remains a 76er, and this team STILL has a bagful of unanswered questions.

Let’s start with. That’s the best you could do? While Nerlens Noel has an expiring contract, it still allows the team who owns it to express a qualifying offer and match any potential free agent suitor that offers the (eye roll) Mavericks center. Then there’s this if that’s all you could get for Noel, and you felt that the better tender than any offer for Jahlil Okafor, we have the wrong leadership. Nothing could have driven Okafor’s trade value down further than the manner in which they handled the entire process. Colangelo, and to a slightly lesser extent, Brett Brown for his collusion on the whole insane circus, which culminated in Okafor being left off the team plane, and told a deal was imminent, then two days later flown halfway across the country because a deal was not. Jahlil Okafor has to take a hit here too. His lazy, disinterested approach to the defensive end of the NBA floor is a huge part of the reason teams weren’t knocking down the Sixers doors. Heartless at times, and blatantly invisible at most others, Okafor still possesses a huge set of offensive skills. Now the question is, does he grow a heart? Has the prospect of being traded lit any spark under a player one year removed from being the 3rd overall selection in the draft? Could be the Sixers just parked him until draft day, and with the prospect of Joel Embiid missing the next four games, they’ll allow him to display exactly why he is the player the 76ers chose not to move.

Back to the management though. They’re may not be a more mismanaged situation in any sports front office history. The debacle of the silly benchings, and banishment from the rotation of both Okafor and Noel was embarrassing to this franchise. The truth is too easy for Colangelo. He could have easily shaped this so that it appeared that he was moving Okafor only to free money to extend Noel. Instead, he drove the value of both players down through his inept and dopey press conferences where he played “I love you, I love you not” with both players over the past two months, and the openly and very publicly declared that Noel was the 76er who would stay, further burying any possibility of getting equal value for Jahlil Okafor.

Final question for the Sixers….

This REALLY the guy who is going to manage the assets you lost 200 games over the past three seasons to acquire?

Hit me up, Sixers fans. Even if you’re not a Sixer fan and just love basketball, I want to hear from you. Drop your COMMENTS below and find me on Twitter.

 

 

 

The View From Mt. Airy: Harrison Barnes To The Sixers 07-1-16

 
hi-res-6776498_crop_exact

Seriously.

Harrison Barnes makes absolute sense for the Sixers.

I hear you screaming.

“Look at his performance in the NBA Finals. What did he do to deserve or even earn a max contract as an NBA free agent?”

“Won’t he just be in the way?”

“Why would you add a Golden State Warrior who arguably failed on the biggest stage as a complimentary player to this array of young talent we lost 200 games to acquire? ARE YOU  HIGH?”

It’s a little more complex than just signing Harrison Barnes. There is a lot more involved than inking a max contract for a player who was very underwhelming on a 73-9 Warriors team that came up smaller than a Seahawks’ playcall in the Super Bowl when his team failed with a 3-1 finals lead and home court advantage.

Yup.

I can recite all the numbers. How did he fail along with his cohorts who lost more playoff games than regular season contests? How do you justify paying him to be a franchise (monetarily at least) player amidst a locker room full of elite draft picks?

It’s a simple as this…….

Follow the bouncing balls…

A. Harrison Barnes would join the Sixers this fall fresh off his experience in the 2016 RIO Olympiad as a member of the USA Basketball team assembled by his new (76ers) team PRESIDENT PER SE….yeah…call him a consultant…but Jerry Colangelo has just as much a hand on the Sixers’ tiller as his kid Brian. But not to demean his son but the NBA footprint (with steel toed boots) is all over the change from Sam Hinkie and his gang of IPad analytic gangsters to old school NBA. That being known Jerry is fully responsible for the outcome and the product in Philadelphia this fall and beyond. With that in mind he played it closer than Dusty Rhodes and the NWA belt….give it to my son. There is no accident that Barnes is on the Sixers horizon and the 2016 Olympic team.

Now who assembled, chose and anointed the group that will represent Team USA?

You guessed it. Jerry Colangelo.

Does that give the Sixers an edge? I think so.

B. He will arrive after being wholly saturated in NBA success. The 73-9 Warriors, as led by Steve Kerr, emulate the offense that Brett Brown seeks to incorporate in South Philly. That means movement after the pass. Versatility in both offensive and defensive matchups. Unselfish play, with the ball never getting stuck anywhere but in the twine for two points. Harrison Barnes was not and at no point in the future being the Alpha in the Golden State offense, yet he could teach and display for the kiddie Sixers the model that makes wins outta being a part of a winning formula versus being solely responsible for the
outcome as most of the top young talent has been throughout the majority of their fledgling basketball lives.

C. NBA LIFE – There is more to the NBA player’s lives than game day. With the proliferation of highly paid kids who will board your Sixers’ charters next season, it absolutely can’t hurt to have someone who can show and prove for these kids how to live and survive on the road. We have heard the horror story of A.I. and his ten years of no packing, buying clothing on the road everywhere and ultimately failing in his transition to professional behavior and comportment. Yeah, he garnered an MVP and dragged a lame roster to a 2001 NBA FINALS appearance, but it was all downhill from there. Harrison Barnes, by all accumulated evidence, is just the cerebral citizen that the Sixer kids can follow, copycat and respect. I know you want to argue that a veteran like Elton Brand can do the same. That’s bulls—. These young men need someone who is modeling and contributing at a high level on the court also. Sitting on the bench for 38 minutes is NOT NBA leadership anymore. If it were ever.

D. SHOW HIM THE MONEY! The NBA salary cap is irrelevant in this conversation. As the advent of the new billion dollar bag-busting TV deal rolls around, it appears that the league and a large group of its teams will experience a virtual cap-free season. Knowing this, and coupling that information with his age, health, contribution and exploration date, this seems to be a no-lose situation for Philadelphia. Can he psychologically handle a max deal? Wherever he goes that will be the case so factor that question out. So here is your silver lining. Whatever he is, as a Sixer, will NOT include washed up. His value will grow in year 3 and 4 as his contract becomes obsolete in price and attractive to anyone as he will still be at or near peak athletic performance and barely 30. Do the deal. I am not a Harrison Barnes fan but, as a 40-year NBA observer, I know my romper room of future stars needs a leader that can play.

That’s the view from Mt. Airy…..follow me @MtAiryPhil and @NTheZoneShow on Twitter.