By nearly everyone's standards, last season was a success. In early February, the 76ers looked like road kill -- sporting a 18-30 record -- then they win 8 of 10 and make the playoffs. To go from woeful to legitimate, so quickly, seemed like a surprise to Philly fans. Of course, the gaps in the armor showed in that six-game first round loss to Detroit. The Pistons put a blanket named Tayshaun Prince on Andre Iguodala, and the Sixers just didn't have the inside threat to really spread the floor and create openings.
And then there was the 3-point shooting (worst in the NBA).
Then this summer happened. Here's a Cliff Notes rundown of this summer's wheeling and dealing, starting with the first, and biggest, in early July.
1.) Elton Brand: Sixers General Manager Ed Stefanski closes the deal on one of the best free agents on the market. Brand, a two-time NBA All-Star, has career averages of 20-10. If he returns to full form from that Achilles tendon injury, he will draw defenses away from Andre Miller, Iguodala, Williams, et all.
2.) Royal Ivey: Sixers pick this guy up as a free agent. Ivey, a guard, is known around the league for his defensive ability.
3.) Kareem Rush: Another free agent signing. Rush, a lefty guard, can shoot from beyond the arc.
4.) Louis Williams: Stefanski makes sure this young guy isn't going anywhere, re-signing him during his restricted free agent summer to a 5-year, $25 million deal.
5.) Andre Iguodala: AI2 was the elephant in the room all summer. Everyone wanted to know when his deal would get done. Stefanski made good and kept last season's leading scorer in a Sixer uniform through, most likely, 2014.
6.) Theo Ratliff: Brought the big man back! Ratliff signs as a free agent to shore up the gap in the frontcourt created by Jason Smith's knee injury.
7.) Donyell Marshall: Marshall, a native of Reading, signs a free agent deal to be a veteran presence and to spread the floor when he's out there and knock down the open shot.
8.) Maurice Cheeks: Sixers give the conductor an extra year extension, which will keep him in Philly as head coach through at least 2010.
The Sixers had, arguably, the busiest summer of an NBA team. The roster is revamped, new options everywhere. But here's the big question: What do you guys think out there? Was it all worth it? Are we going to be sitting here in two years talking about, "Oh my goodness, why'd the Sixers get locked up in that one?"
Most of the e-mails I received were of the "Great moves, this team is exactly where it needs to be" variety. (And through all of this, let's not forget draft pick Marreese Speights, who looked darn good in the Las Vegas Summer League ... albeit against mostly rookies.)
Here's a look at the projected starting lineup:
PG Andre Miller
SG Andre Iguodala
SF Thad Young
PF Elton Brand
C Sam Dalembert
Can that compete with any team in the East?