Tuesday, December 4, 2007

So Long Billy

Billy King's tenure as Sixers GM came to a halt today, when he was finally fired by Ed Snider. Ed Stefanski, previously working under the incomparable Rod Thorn, has been hired to replace him. I'm interested by this for a couple of reasons. The most superficial is that the C's play the Sixers tomorrow night, and I wonder if Philly will be affected at all. But what interests me more about this firing is the timing, and what it might indicate about the Sixers' larger picture. Philly was my darkhorse team this year, and so far they have floundered badly in this role. They're 5-12, no one on the team seems to be playing that great except Louis Williams, and you get the feeling there is just a general malaise about the whole operation. This is still the Eastern Conference we're talking about here, so I'm holding out hope, but things look a bit glum.

That said it seems weird to fire King now,when the Sixers are finally admitting to rebuilding, and actually have pieces to do so. After living with a bad GM for so long, today is when you finally get rid of him? The team only has $40 million committed to the cap next summer, and while they will probably want to resign Iguodala and Williams, they should still have some serious money to play with. Plus there is legitimately intriguing young talent on the team for the first time in a while, in the form of Williams, Thaddeus Young and Jason Smith. Andre Miller's contract also is a nice card to have in your deck.

So what I'm getting at is that Snider must have fired King in part because even though the team is rebuilding, Snider still expected them to be very competitive. If this is the case I would not feel very comfortable right now if I were Mo Cheeks. When almost all your key players are underachieving, and a new GM is in town, you might want to start thinking about shaking it up some. For starters you could pick up the pace, as the Sixers currently rank 26th in possessions per game. The Sixers certainly should be running more, the roster is really made for it. Philly is not at all bad defensively, it is their offense that needs working. If Cheeks can't quickly remedy this, Larry Brown should probably come back down from the owner's box. Or at least some more competent coach should.

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