Less than 1 ½ seasons in, it’s pretty clear that the Philadelphia 76ers’ signing of Elton Brand is a complete disaster. Once one of the elite power forwards in the ultra-talented Western Conference, it seemed Brand’s transition to the smaller Eastern Conference would give him a boost as he returned from 2007’s Achilles’ injury.
However, Brand struggled from the start last season and posted just 13.8 points and 8.8 rebounds before a shoulder injury shut him down for the season. It seems those who thought Brand would be a beast in the East were completely and totally off base. Morons!
It just seems Brand does not fit with Philadelphia – a development so obvious that his minutes have begun to shrink. That’s something of a surprise considering the new offense installed by coach Eddie Jordan should fit a big man like Brand, who passes well and can shoot a midrange jumper.
However, perhaps the Brand that passes well and shoots a nice mid-range jumper is gone for good. His assist and turnover percentages are currently the worst of his career and his true shooting/effective field goal percentages are a far cry from his prime with the Clippers.
Brand has played less than 30 minutes in five consecutive games, playing less than 20 twice during that span. And foul trouble was not a factor in any of those games. It simply appears that the Sixers are more comfortable playing a smaller, more athletic lineup that better suits Marreese Speights than Brand.
It’s already at the point where we have to ask whether Brand is in a slump, still recovering from his injuries or finished as a fantasy force?
My preseason projections had Brand pegged as a mid-8th rounder with averaged of 16.3 points, 8.6 rebounds and 1.7 blocks. Nice numbers, but hardly All-Star caliber and his mediocre .475 FG% and poor .716 FT% along with 14 projected games missed hurt his value.
At this point, Brand owners would kill for him to wind up with 8th-round value. He’s currently averaging 10.1 points and 5.6 rebounds with more steals (1.1 per game) than blocks (0.9), which puts him at 120th overall in eight-category leagues, according to Basketball Monster’s payer rater.
Keeping in mind that his .833 FT% – which is nearly .100 percentage points better than his career average – is likely to plummet, he’s performing like a player who should barely have been drafted.
That has got to hurt for most owners since Brand’s average draft position in Yahoo! leagues was 39th overall. Personally, I’m not sure what those owners were thinking, but thusfar it has been an awful return on their fourth-round investment.
While it’s possible that Brand may still be getting into game shape following two seasons of serious injury, he’s clearly on the downslide. His only chance and regaining superb fantasy value is to wind up on a team that makes him the focal point. That team would certainly be making a foolish move, but it would revitalize his fanttasy prospects.
Brand is definitely a buy-low option at the moment, but I’m talking REALLY low. As in try and acquire him for a player you’re thinking of dropping. Because unless an injury befalls Speights, the Sixers seem to have learned that Brand is not the $80 million answer.