Elton Brand Fills Carl Landry Void

Apr 5, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand (42) attempts to block the shot of New Orleans Pelicans guard Tim Frazier (2) during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Philadelphia 76ers won 107-93. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

After cutting productive power forward Carl Landry, the Philadelphia 76ers have re-signed power forward Elton Brand

When the Philadelphia 76ers waived power forward Carl Landry, center Tibor Pleiss, and signed point guard Cat Barber, there was an opening in the roster. The team has decided to fill that last opening with the esteemed services of power forward Elton Brand.

Waiving Carl Landry sent mixed signals about the 76ers plans. The team has consistently emphasized the need for veteran leadership on a roster filled with young players – particularly in the front court. Waiving Landry was the antithesis of bringing veterans to the roster.  We knew there had to be more to the story.  It was Derek Bodner who filled in the blanks:

So while the move made sense for Landry, it opened up a void in veteran leadership in the front court. Was there no veteran who would be willing to “pay-it-forward” to the Philadelphia 76ers young front court? Of course there is.

Elton Brand.

Mar 29, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Elton Brand (42) lands on the scorers table after saving a ball from going out of bounds against the Charlotte Hornets during the second half at Wells Fargo Center. The Hornets won 100-85. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Brand Knew Basketball

He rejoined the team initially in January 2016. At that time, his article about why he agreed to return to basketball as a Philadelphia 76er was moving. Now, it seems surreal.

I cannot overstate this. Elton Brand is a class-act star NBA player.  No team could engineer a better mentor their players.  No veteran player is a better role model for younger players.  While Landry played just 36 games for the 76ers last season, Brand – who arrived in January 2016 – appeared in just 17.

Last season, Brand contributed  4.1 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.1 assist per game on just 13.1 minutes per game.  Despite arriving in January, Brand did not make his first court appearance for the team until chalking up 13 minutes in a home game against the Miami Heat.  In the game, he scored eight points and hauled in 4 rebounds.

This season will be an entirely different matter than last year. Brand is beginning the season with the Philadelphia 76ers, not mid-season.  This year, the team is optimistic, as the addition of Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Dario Saric to the roster has elevated the talent level of the team.  The Philadelphia 76ers have even addressed their back court.  Brand simply needs to play his game, and share as much as his younger teammates can absorb.

Jun 24, 2016; Philadelphia, PA, USA; Philadelphia 76ers chairman of basketball Jerry Colangelo watches on during a press conference at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Colangelo Favorite

Some are surprised at the move. I am not. Jerry Colangelo handpicked Elton Brand to bring to the Philadelphia 76ers as a favor to the team. While many believe the veteran “presence” is addressed by the additions of Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, and Jerryd Bayless, they are all back court players. Front court physicality is a far different aspect of basketball, and one that can only be appreciated by a veteran who made a living banging boards and bodies for basketballs.

But more so, Colangelos reward loyalty.  Elton Brand agreed to help out the Philadelphia 76ers last season when he needn’t have done so.  This season, the 76ers have restored Brand to the roster, and I will not be surprised to find him on the team’s 15 man season roster either.

The Philadelphia 76ers will only be able to play 13 of the 15 players on game night.  While that was nothing to address with a Joel Embiid on rehab for the season, the team will face the complication of who and how often to carry players inactive on game night.

Brand “gets it”, and will be more than happy to work with players from a limited minutes/appearances perspective.  He understands the challenge and complexity of the game, and his career gives him the authority and respect needed to help young players understand what they are facing.

We’ve discussed why the Philadelphia 76ers won’t be in the NBA basement this season.

While fans settle in to enjoy the basketball of the new players, I for one and thrilled to find one more familiar face in a 76ers’ jersey.  Elton Brand may not show up every night in the stats, but his impact will be felt every night.

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