It's not tough to figure out why the Golden State Warriors are three wins away from their second title in the last three years.
“You never have too many shooters. You need shooters on the court if you want to play any kind of style in today’s world of the NBA," Jerry Colangelo said Friday in an interview with Chris Carlin and Ike Reese on 94 WIP.
Colangelo, a special assistant to the Sixers and father of current Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, spent about 20 minutes on the show and addressed numerous other topics:
How to build a contender
Colangelo mentioned what we all know about the league's current structure: It's built for players to stay put and not jump ship in free agency. They can get longer, more lucrative deals by doing so. Some players are willing to take less money to win, but, for the most part, contending teams are built through the draft. (See: the Cavs)
“You have to build through the draft. You have to look to develop players who have the potential to become all-stars in this league," he said. "You can only be attractive to a free agent when you are competitive and young and on the way up the ladder, and it’s appealing to a veteran player who’s willing to pass up a little bit of money to get somewhere to be a part of that. Philly’s kind of in that situation."
The combine and draft
The absence of most of the top prospects at the NBA Draft Combine was obvious. But Markelle Fultz and De'Aaron Fox were there and met with the Sixers.
"Both impressive young men," Colangelo said. "Two players who can be really good in the NBA if you have a little bit of patience."
The next point addressed was the standard draft-day dilemma: need vs. best player available. Colangelo kind of danced around this one.
"Don't overlook the fact there's a couple of maybe three outstanding wing prospects too in this draft too along with the guards," he said. "It's deep, maybe one through nine as I would look at it. And I think we're weighing all the probabilities, the possibilities and how it all fits together.
"It's not as simple or black and white as 'we're taking a guard' or 'we're taking a wing,'" Colangelo said. "... You have plan A, B and C in place. I love the fact that we have all the options available to us right now."
Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons
The idea of inside big men fading from the NBA came up. It's a shooters' league that often favors teams that can space the floor and let it fly from beyond the arc. But Colangelo wasn't worried about the Sixers' future with a player like Embiid in the middle. He said people can adjust to fit with Embiid, and that he loves the big man's game and work ethic.
"What he showed in a third of a season was just a glimpse of what he can become," he said.
In terms of Simmons, Colangelo did mention that we all know he is best with the ball in his hands. He also said he wasn't necessarily sold on the idea that Simmons needed summer league to get back in the swing of things.
"The most important thing is to have him ready on opening day this year," Colangelo said.
Free agency plans
Signing capable free agents is the most direct route to more wins, and Colangelo said "ownership is committed to winning."
He reaffirmed his belief in Brett Brown and his son, and stated that the Sixers need to take things one step at a time right now — basically saying they need to "trust the process" without uttering the phrase. However, one sentence showed just how important of a time this is for the Sixers — free-agent signings, draft selections and trade possibilities included:
“We’ve got a good hand, and now it’s important to play out the hand in the right way,” he said.
The Ball family
Is Lonzo Ball worth the potential headaches that father LaVar might cause?
"I think Ball is a terrific prospect and could have an outstanding NBA future," Colangelo said. "I think it's going to be challenging with the people around him without being specific, and yet I don't think teams should bypass the player because they have those concerns. I think at the end of the day what wins in this league is talent and this is a very talented young man."
After the Sixers used the pick swap to get the third pick in this year's NBA draft, Sixers owner Josh Harris gave Hinkie an effusive "thank you."
Colangelo's thoughts on the Sixers' former general manager?
“I respect the fact that he thought so much out of the box, which he really did, in terms of being the analytical guy that he is,” Colangelo said. “And of course, people can look back on decisions that were made — good or bad — and most everyone’s track record is full of both and [they] come to their own conclusions.
"Since the change in management, there’s much more of a defined game plan in terms of going forward, and that’s very positive, in my opinion, for the franchise. Sam left some good stuff in place, no question about that. Along the line there was a lot of pain in terms of incredible losing and that could only be sustained for a period of time. And I think in Philly’s case, I think he probably ran out of time.”