COMMENTARY | Looking at the Philadelphia 76ers lack of success this season and the biggest areas they were deficient in and it seems clear that the 2012-2013 team was built around summer acquisition Andrew Bynum.
The team is in dire need of a big man.
Looking back in organization's history, the franchise has been lucky enough to have seen some great players, especially centers and power forwards, wear the team's uniform. The one player from years past that would really help the current squad most is Moses Malone.
The Sixers' two biggest weaknesses have been rebounding and shooting.
Philadelphia ranks 21st in the league in rebounds per game (41.2). Their individual rebounding leader is the six-foot-eight-inch Thaddeus Young. Only four teams have allowed their opposition to get more rebounds per game than Philadelphia (43.5). Philadelphia is 25th in rebounding average differential (-2.3).
Malone is one of the greatest, most tenacious rebounders in NBA history.
He averaged 12.3 rebounds per game throughout his entire career, NBA and ABA combined. He was a six-time NBA rebounding champion. He grabbed the most offensive rebounds in NBA and ABA history (7,382). He also holds the record for most offensive rebounds in a season (587) and in one game (21).
Malone would protect the rim and the paint. He was selected to the NBA All-Defensive First Team once and the NBA All-Defensive Second Team once.
As for his offensive help, Malone's first and most important job is to rebound. That doesn't mean he can't score though, as he averaged 20.3 points per game in his entire career, 20.6 points per game in the NBA.
He would get a lot of tip-ins playing with the current Sixers, who are in the bottom half of the league with a .446 shooting percentage.
Corralling all those misses and putting them back would be a huge help to Philadelphia, which is tied for last in the league in total points per game (93.0).
For a team struggling as much as Philadelphia, it would be easy to say that Wilt Chamberlain -- with his 30.1 points per game and 22.9 rebounds per game -- should be the guy Philadelphia picks from its past to help its present and future.
Malone would bring a lot more intangibles to this team in addition to his stats, however.
In a television special for his 50th birthday recently, Charles Barkley called Malone his mentor. Barkley has said before that when the 76ers traded away Malone it was "the saddest day in my life". Barkley's website says that Malone took Barkley under his wing and taught him both how to rebound and how to lead.
Barkley, especially in his early years, was known to be a difficult superstar to handle. Barkley listened and looked up to Malone, however.
The top players on the current roster -- Jrue Holliday, Evan Turner, and Thaddeus Young -- are all under 25-years-old.
Having a guy like Malone on the team who would willingly open up to his younger teammates and teach them basketball skills and how to be leaders would be an immense help right away and would also set the team up to be even better in the future.
Malone would get his stats, but it wouldn't be at the expense of the growth of his younger teammates.
The young Philadelphia 76ers missed out on having an impactful center this season. That's why Malone would be the man to bring back from the past.
Phil Shore lives in New Jersey and is the creator and editor of Shore Thing Sports blog. He's been published in The Boston Globe, Philly.com, FoxSoccer.com, LaxMagazine.com and New England Lacrosse Journal.
- Sports & Recreation
- Philadelphia 76ers
- Moses Malone
- Thaddeus Young