Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand is playing a dangerous game

(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)
(Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images) /

With the addition of Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, general manager Elton Brand has the Philadelphia 76ers all-in, but is it worth the risk?

Having completed trades for Jimmy Butler and now Tobias Harris, the Philadelphia 76ers are all in. Every chip, every asset has been thrown to the center of the table and what remains is a strong starting five of All-Star caliber players. Yet, despite this, the 76ers are in worse shape because of the combined lack of patience and potential ineptitude of owner Josh Harris and general manager Elton Brand.

And they only have themselves to blame.

When last season came to a close, head coach Brett Brown said the team would be “star hunting” during the summer months in an effort to help bolster the group’s core of young talent. This was a fine approach. Unfortunately, after failing to land a big free agent or trade acquisition, the team became desperate and abandoned the very line of thinking that helped elevate expectation.

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A future once promising now rests in the turbulent hands of a selfish forward and a lack of assets from which to grow.

Butler is a good basketball player. Unfortunately, he’s also a disruptive teammate due to his demanding personality and aversion for guidance even at the betterment of the team. It has consistently been his way or the highway, which is why the four-time All-Star has seen the highway at a frequent clip, now playing on his third team in as many seasons. Next season will likely be his fourth.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, ownership was “heavily involved” in facilitating the trade that brought Jimmy Butler to the Sixers. In doing so, Josh Harris and the 76ers front office was hopeful to get an aggressive offensive scorer and an even better defender. However, after three months in Philadelphia, Butler’s defensive “prowess” leaves a lot to be desired as he continues to underwhelm. It’s no coincidence that after acquiring Butler, a primary Sixers need became an athletic 3-and-D winger. If only the team had someone like, say, a Robert Covington to fill the void.

Now Brand has brought in the shooting services of stretch-power forward Tobias Harris via trade from the Clippers. While on paper the Sixers starting five is certainly stacked, it comes at the expense of two future first-round picks and a handful of players, most notably rookie Landry Shamet. It also means that three of the 76ers five starters are likely pending free agents at season’s end with no certainty to return.

Harris is a good player and, by all accounts, a good teammate that fills a significant area of need on this Sixers team. His ability to shoot from outside will help create floor space for Joel Embiid as he operates down low. On paper, the Sixers are better today than yesterday.

How does Butler, who already complained once about his role in the offense, respond to the addition of another player who needs his share of touches and shots?

Time will tell.

On the quest for anything great in life, there will be risks. When evaluating the worthiness of taking the risk, it’s imperative to weigh all options before proceeding. Sometimes you’ll calculate right and other times one will fail.

As a fan of the Philadelphia 76ers, it’s very alarming to the degree at which the front office has placed its chips. Heading into this season, the Sixers were a team with two transcendent young stars, a developing young corps under contract on team-friendly deals for the foreseeable future, and an assortment of draft capital including the highly regarded Miami Heat unprotected first-round pick in 2021. Now all that remains are the two transcendent stars – which, in fairness, has always been the most important.

The 76ers, once built on asset accumulation, now face the daunting task of developing a contender with limited resources and minimal room for error. The attention that was once given to trusting the process with an ever-present eye on the future has completely been stripped, and all that remains is Josh Harris, Elton Brand, and the cards that are today’s Philadelphia 76ers.

The Tobias Harris trade completes the Process. dark. Next

Their hand better play well. This could be their only shot at the prize.