When Elton Brand was given the Sixers’ vacant position at GM, there was heavy criticism and some doubt. After an entire season, Brand has proven to be the GM the Sixers needed.
It didn’t take Elton Brand long to make noise in his young GM career. It only took two months until Brand made his name known as a front office figure and made a blockbuster deal for Jimmy Butler.
Sixers fans were divided in terms of opinion on the deal, as Robert Covington and Dario Saric were fan favorites of the Process era. There was some doubt that Jimmy Butler would fit well enough with their two stars in Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The Jimmy Butler experience has had its fair share of ups and downs. The highs featured exciting Jimmy Butler game winners, while the lows had a film session blow-up in early January.
Here we are a few months later. The Jimmy Butler experience still isn’t flawless, as his three-point shooting and defense can be streaky at times. However, Butler has proven to be the piece they needed all along through the duration of the playoffs.
Butler has given the Sixers so many things that they didn’t have a year ago: a shot creator, a finisher, and a clutch shot maker. He’s been absolutely massive for this team and is a large reason why the Sixers are currently up 2-1 against a talented Toronto Raptors team.
Not Done After One
Elton Brand didn’t just settle with this move, however. Brand made yet another blockbuster trade for a fourth star; this time, Tobias Harris. A move that wasn’t cheap at all. We saw the Sixers sacrifice promising rookie Landry Shamet, along with four draft picks in total. A very steep price for an expiring contract.
Realistically speaking, both Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler could walk in this summer’s free agency. Essentially leaving the Sixers with nothing for their spent assets.
Both trades are a risk to a degree, and the argument can be made that other GMs wouldn’t have made either deal. However, Elton Brand did the right thing by trading for both.
The playoffs have given us a chance to see how good this Sixers team can be when on the floor together. They are up there with the best, and the playoffs have shown us such result.
There are very few things guaranteed in the NBA; health being a major factor. We’ve seen Joel Embiid – the Sixers franchise player – have his fair share of struggles in regard to health in the past. Hopefully Joel Embiid has put his struggles with injury in the rear view mirror, but there’s always a chance he can go down with an injury.
Not many young fans will know this, but Elton Brand experienced something similar in his playing career. Brand was one of the top power forwards in the NBA until he suffered a serious injury, going down with an achilles tear.
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are nowhere near their prime, as they are ages 25 and 22 respectively. Their best basketball play is ahead of them barring injury. That being said, they are still putting up elite numbers right now and are more than capable of making a deep playoff run.
Surrounding their two stars with quality players is the right move to make. Going all-in may prove that Elton Brand’s gamble(s) will pay off in the near future.
LeBron James – a player who Ben Simmons is constantly compared to – never had this caliber of help in his early years with the Cleveland Cavaliers. These moves show that Elton Brand is committed to going all-in to win, and to keep its stars here. Not just for today, but for the future.
The Sixers window to win a championship has opened up, and it very well could stay open for the next few seasons. Something that couldn’t be said for this team at the beginning of the year. Elton Brand has not just proven to be a good GM, but to be the one the Sixers needed all along.