The loss of Thad Young not only leaves the Sixers without their most consistent performer and best weapon on defense but also heightens the workload across the board.
Without Young in the starting lineup and unable to log his 40 minutes a night, head coach Doug Collins has opted to start veteran Kwame Brown at center and shift Spencer Hawes to power forward. For Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, it meant Hawes guarded the fleet-footed David West, an assignment normally tagged for Young.
Even with Young out for the next three weeks and center Andrew Bynum still working his way back, don’t expect any blockbuster deals by the Sixers before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.
According to general manager Tony DiLeo, the Sixers are still a work in progress.
“We’re talking to every team in the league and if there is something we think that will improve the team, and not just in the short-term, we’ll see what we can do,” DiLeo said prior to Wednesday’s game. “We’re looking to build.”
DiLeo is taking the long-term approach to his team. That means if the Sixers make a move by the deadline, it will be the future in mind.
Besides, the Sixers’ potential trade pieces are players they need right now. Players like Dorell Wright, Nick Young, Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins have the coveted expiring contracts, but with Young, Bynum and Jason Richardson out, the Sixers likely will stand pat.
Then again, a trade of one of those expiring contracts isn’t going to bring back the value the Sixers seek.
It seems that DiLeo and the Sixers will wait for the team to get together and then evaluate things over the summer.
“We’re in a good position because we have flexibility with contracts. But we’re in a bad position because we just don’t have the answers,” DiLeo said. “We haven’t seen our team out there yet. It’s hard to plan when you don’t have all the answers yet. Hopefully, we’ll have the answers by the end of the year.”
Just chalk it up to a season-wide theme of waiting. The Sixers can’t make a deadline deal because they have to wait to see what kind of a team they have. They can’t see what kind of a team they have because of injuries.
As always, it all gets back to Bynum.
“If we do anything at the trade deadline it will be to improve the team,” DiLeo said.
Practice? We’re talking about practice!
According to DiLeo, he anticipates Bynum taking part in a full-contact practice sometime within the next “seven to 10 days.”
In regard to the report that DiLeo said Bynum could have begun practicing last week, the GM was perplexed.
“I never said Andrew would practice this week,” DiLeo said. “I don't know where that came from.”
Wishful thinking, perhaps?