This afternoon we had the opportunity to talk with new Sixers President Rod Thorn.
As usual there were a few other bloggers on the line asking questions and I’ll link to their write-ups as they publish.
Here’s what I was able to decipher from my chicken scratch notes during the call…
Note: All quotes are paraphrased.
Rod Thorn Conference Call Notes
Any plans to extend Thad, Hawes or Jason Smith before the deadline?
Thorn: “We’ve had preliminary discussion with some of them. With the CBA running out after this season, I think you that there won’t be as many extensions getting done. I mean, a guy like Durant who is already considered a great player will sign, but outside of guys like that I don’t think there will be as many extensions. Time will tell.”
What kind of improvement are you looking for from Young and Hawes?
Thorn: “I think young will have a really big year. I’ve been impressed with what he’s done so far. He improved his body, he’s is stronger, his shot looks good. I think that’s really important, his ability to make jump shots. Last year he had a set back and didn’t play as well as expected, but his attitude is right and he is flexible and can play many positions.”
“I think Hawes is good passer, perimeter shooter and an easy guy to play with. I think our players are really going to like playing with him. He is a different player than Sam. Sam is a better defender, but our guys will like playing with Hawes.”
Have you use advanced stats to make decisions and do you plan to incorporate that with the Sixers?
Thorn: “All teams depend on statistical analysis, including us. It’s a tool that helps. When I was in Jersey for 4-5 years we used it and hired a statistical analyst.”
Why did you decide to come to the Sixers, what did intrigued you?
Thorn: “Good personnel, good young players. I think they underachieved last year and have the opportunity to be much better. They had the 2nd pick and drafted Evan Turner (more on this later).”
Are you concerned with all the court time Iguodala has logged this summer?
Thorn: “I think his experience with Team USA has been exhilarating and exciting for him. So he is coming in on a real high. Coach K. was very positive when talking about him. We obviously won’t kill him in training camp and the first few games.”
What is the Sixers financial situation after the Dalembert trade?
Thorn: “We are a cap team. Not a luxury tax team. If we would have had a sizable under the cap opportunity if we kept Sam and he expired at the end of the season. And the Sam trade was before I got here, but we just wanted to go in another direction.”
Now that you’ve been here do you plan to make win now trades or do you view it more of a rebuilding situation?
Thorn: “Trades happen when you least expect them. Many times you work on a trade for weeks and then they just don’t happen. 98% don’t happen. I just like to keep an open mind. We will always look to improve and keep an open mind. If something comes up that we think can help the team we will take a look at it. But we don’t plan to blow the team up or anything like that.”
What is a better value, Iguodala at $56M over the next four seasons, or Carmelo Anthony at $82M over the next four years?
Thorn: “Melo is a great scorer, shooter, post up play. Iguodala is a great all-around player (passing ability, rebounding and a great defender) but not the offensive player Carmelo is. Melo is a great player, Iguodala is a great player but they are different. It’s like comparing apples to oranges. Iguodala showed this summer with Team USA he could play with great players.”
What are your realistic expectations or goals for this season?
Thorn: “We want to make the playoffs and make a connection with the fans. Last year left a bad taste in people’s mouth. We have a lot of changes with the coaching staff and the players. We are committed to putting the best product on the floor. We are not starting over. We have young players to bring along and sprinkle in some veterans as well.”
What is the time line for the young players to develop and really compete for a championship?
Thorn: “You’re always concerned with age. Players primes are usually between 28-32 so it’s hard to predict. I know we have a lot of really good people here.”
What do you think are the strengths and weaknesses of the team and how do you plan to address the weaknesses?
Thorn: “We are very flexible with players that can play many positions. We have depth, wing talent and athleticism. The key is going to be how our bigs play. We need Elton to return to form. Make no mistake about it, we need our bigs to play well. The attitude is great, everyone is buying in to what the coaching staff wants them to do.”
Finish this sentence, at the end of the season the Sixers will be successful if…
Thorn: “We play hard and to our ability and connect with the fans.”
Whose decision was it to draft Derrick Favors and what was the thought process?
Thorn: “I always make the final decision. It was between Favors, Cousins and Johnson. Since we had Brooke Lopez that eliminated Cousins. I went with Favors because I think he can be the prototypical power forward when it comes to defense and rebounding. Not right away, he isn’t ready for heavy minutes this season. But with Brooke Lopez I think they can be a center/power forward combination that can compete with any in the entire league.”
What about Evan Turner, if he was on the board would you have considered picking him?
Thorn: “Our staff absolutely loved Evan Turner. We would have considered choosing him if he was on the board.”
Who do you think is the best team in the East?
Thorn: “Miami. They might not be the best at the beginning of the season, but I think they have 2 of the 3 best players in the entire league. With Wade and LeBron they can draws fouls and are unselfish. Then you have Bosh who is top 20 at least, maybe top 15 in the entire league. They are going to be very good, difficult to beat at the end of the year.”
What measurements of wing players do you look at and value?
Thorn: “I first and foremost look at talent and a player that understands how to play. Many players with talent have no clue how to actually play. And those players are hard to play with. I like length, so reach and wingspan. Body is important. Look to see if a player can get bigger or is he is more mature and is what he is. Shooting ability is key. There is a lack of good shooters now. But most of all I really want players that understand how to play. No one thing is best. You really gotta talk to a player and find out what’s in his heart. Does he love the game or is he just talented and really doesn’t care. You gotta be tough and competitive.”
That’s about it.
I thought there were some things you could pick out to get inside the mind of the man running our franchise now. But as a whole President Thorn’s answers were vague at best.
I got the feeling that he was still learning all the ins and outs of the Sixers in terms of their personnel and financial situation. If we were to speak with him again a year from now, I’d think he would have more to say and more specific answers as well.
We appreciate the opportunity to speak with Rod Thorn. Thank you again Michael Preston and the Philadelphia Sixers for extending us the invitation.
Others on the call