Retiring GM Nash: 76ers Have a Solid Nucleus
Outgoing General Manager John Nash says the Philadelphia 76ers should stay with their nucleus, but try and add a premier shot blocker and a big guard to contend for the NBA title.
Nash, who has submitted his resignation effective at the end of the month, refused to make any excuses Thursday for the 76ers’ elimination from the playoffs by the Chicago Bulls. The Bulls beat the 76ers 4-1 in their best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal series.
“We lost to a better team,” Nash said. “They won more regular season games. They were the favorites.”
Nash, who might change his mind about leaving after meeting with owner Harold Katz in about a week, analyzed the 76ers.
“First, it’s been my experience it’s best not to make any decisions the day after (elimination),” he said. “You should step back and let the dust settle. Then begin evaluating from top to bottom.
“I would expect the organization to be satisfied with the nucleus, the starting unit” of guards Hersey Hawkins and Johnny Dawkins, center Mike Gminski and forwards Charles Barkley and Rick Mahorn.
“The first and second players off the bench (forward-guard Ron Anderson and point guard Scott Brooks) are fine. But we do not have a premier shot blocker, and we may not be able to acquire one. We also need a big guard, 6-5, 6-6, who can play both the point and off guard.”
Nash said the guards, 6-foot-2 Dawkins, 6-3 Hawkins and 5-11 Brooks are small at the position, and the 76ers often are undersized.
“We need an all-purpose guard,” Nash said. “Beyond that, we have to look for improvement where we can get it.”
Nash said that if the 76ers have to go next season as now constituted they still are good enough to win 55 games.
Where will the 76ers find a big guard and premier shot blocker? Philadelphia doesn’t have a first-round pick in the draft. It went to Minnesota in the deal for Mahorn.
“I don’t believe these players are in the draft,” Nash said. “That’s why we traded for Mahorn.
“We would have picked 20th and I don’t think we could get a player we expected to step in and contribute. Our needs are now. We can’t wait for a prospect.”
Nash said the Sixers would have to go the free agent or trade route to fill their needs.
“Free agents are a viable possibility,” he said. “But they aren’t inexpensive. The competition for quality free agents is fierce.