Musta missed the memo. Kawhi Leonard is a top-5 player in the NBA, huh?
Coulda fooled me.
Not for nothing, but the post-“bounced by Boston” craze circling the 76ers and the “positively imperative” moves-making mania, headed by the talking heads on sportstalk radio, heightened by the team's brass, and forever fueled by a panic-stricken and, frankly, pretty ill-informed fan base (thanks in large part to those aforementioned talking heads), is outta control here.
Sorry, get the desire masquerading as need for a marquee acquisition, come free-agency or wheeler-dealer insanity (trading Dario Saric, Markelle Fultz and a first-rounder … or even Ben Simmons – really?!!) when it comes to landing the likes of Leonard, but settle down, people.
Professed experts and Johnny Come Latelies, one and all.
If you ask me, the club is OK as is. Just needs some tweaking with the hands on deck. Specifically the main guys, Simmons and Joel Embiid.
One needs to work on an outside shot – first and foremost the willingness to take one; he already has a solid stroke – and the other a serious reality check. Yo, Joel, the fans over-valuing your game is one thing. You, dude, need to grasp what you can do … and dribbling more than once is beyond your scope, as is planting yourself outside the arc at the top of the key, thinking you can “run the show” or shoot it into oblivion.
Hey, Simmons has the innate skills to handle things out there … and he struggles to do it. You don't have that ability, brother. At all. Never will. Give it a rest, even before your adoring and ever-excusing faithful does. It'll do all parties involved good.
But the real issue here is in valuing property, or commodity. Make fun of his geekiness all you want, but Sam Hinke grasped that with players and draft picks. Meanwhile, forced-down-the-Sixers-throat GM Brian Colangelo gave a crash course in stupidity on that front just a year ago when he traded two first-round picks to move up two spots in the NBA Draft to select Fultz at No. 1.
Forget the 1-for-1 silliness most whine about when seeing how ineffective Fultz has been while the Celtics, their comrade in trading arms, have received major contributions from Jayson Tatum, the guy they chose at No. 3 … and would have chosen at No. 1 had they stayed there.
It matters, sure. But the real issue is, the Sixers lost another asset in the deal … that they didn't need to – a future first-rounder. Here's the point on this one point: Imagine that Fultz, shockingly, turns out to be better than Tatum over the long haul. Wonderful, right? OK, great. The bad news: It's impossible for him to be better than Tatum AND another asset, though. Not unless the Celtics totally blow it with their selection, or back luck follows the three-leaf clover crowd.
Which brings us to Leonard and his blatantly overrated status.
Time to slow the roll with that, or give up puffing from the ganga pipe.
The guy is solid NBA player who, maybe, has been the best player on his own team one season in his seven-year career. Yes, he's an elite defensive player whose efforts on that side of the ball have earned him top honors in the league twice already. He's also a 16.3 points per game performer who has never played a season injury-free and is coming off a ridiculous pout-fest that saw him skip 73 games with the Spurs this past regular season, not to mention their five-game series loss to Golden State in the playoffs.
Top 5? Heck, he comes to Philly and he's immediately No. 3 in the lineup – that is, unless Colangelo turns out to be brain-dead enough to move Simmons in a deal for Leonard.
LeBron James, Kevin Durant, James Harden, Stephen Curry, Russell Westbrook, John Wall, Giannis Antetokoumpo, Anthony Davis … hmmm, by my off-the-cuff count, Leonard would be lucky to check in as a top-10 guy – without even considering Embiid or Simmons.
Just stop the insanity, and start valuing reality.
Make a play for LeBron? Hell, yeah. Trade a bunch of assets for Leonard? Get a grip.
Sixers need to think value, not splash – especially one that wouldn't be nearly as big as it is being pitched.