Philadelphia 76ers: Elton Brand is already the anti-Dell Demps

(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images)
(Photo by Mitchell Leff/Getty Images) /

While he’s only been the Philadelphia 76ers’ GM for about six months, Elton Brand has already proven himself to be a more effective team builder than Dell Demps.

After failing to land a king’s ransom for Anthony Davis in lieu of the 2019 NBA trade deadline, the New Orleans Pelicans have officially relieved Dell Demps of his duties as the team’s general manager.

In almost a decade on the job, Demps made literally hundreds of moves to push the originally-New Orleans Hornets into contention, but time after time, he came up short, delivering only three playoff appearances over eight and a half seasons with the team.

Sure, he made splashy moves, like trading for Boogie Cousins, signing Rajon Rondo, and drafting Anthony Davis, but he often played things too safe and is now out of work as a result.

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After six months on the job as the Philadelphia 76ers‘ general manager, it’s clear Elton Brand is already the anti-Dell Demps.

While most first-time GMs would ease into their first season, and use it as an opportunity to thoroughly learn the ropes of running an NBA franchise, Brand approached his first few months as the Sixers head honcho like a ‘game fuel’-addicted teen playing 2k franchise mode; wheelin’ and dealin’ to procure not one, but two All-Star caliber forwards for the low, low price of five role players and a few first round draft picks.

Will these moves work out? Who knows, but no one is going to say Brand played it safe in his attempts to fix the mess made by Bryan Colangelo in his disastrous post-process tenure, where every move he made was directly met with ‘what would Sam Hinkie have done’?

Brand, himself a member of the ‘Process’-era Sixers as a player from 2015-16, wasn’t particularly interested in recapturing Hinkie’s philosophy either, as he’s all but emptied the team’s impressive war chest of assets over his first (half) year on the job, but he’s has something to show for his efforts that Colangelo never did: results.

Sure, Colangelo did draft Ben Simmons, but even in Hinkie’s resignation letter he mentioned setting the team up to go after the 6-foot-10 Australian point forward, so there’s no real reason to assume he would have instead opted to take, say, Brandon Ingram first overall. Outside of J.J. Redick, easily the best free agent addition this team has seen in a decade, the Colangelo-era will go down as one of wasted potential, and wasted draft capital thanks to the decision to select Markelle Fultz first overall.

Though Brand has already forfeited more future first round picks than Colangelo did in roughly half as much time, he’s done so to acquire fully formed All-Stars who can help the team win now, and could conceivably be fixtures of the squad for years to come, as opposed to a largely unproven prospect who couldn’t even get his Washington club into the NCAA Tournament.

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On the one year anniversary of his hiring, the Philadelphia 76ers will in all likelihood have Tobias Harris and/or Jimmy Butler locked into a long-term contract to serve as the team’s third (all) star. Over his tenure in New Orleans, Dell Demps was never able to accomplish that feat, and for that reason, in addition to his embarrassing handling of the Anthony Davis trade, he’s out of a job. Sometimes being aggressive has its perks.