8 Philadelphia 76ers In trading for sharpshooter Keith Van Horn, the team gets a much-needed second scorer--at the expense of some of its vaunted grit

October 28, 2002

At first Keith Van Horn thought it was a joke. While returning to
his Utah summer home from the wedding of Nets teammate Kerry
Kittles in August, Van Horn got a call from his agent, David
Falk, who told him that he had been traded to the 76ers with
center Todd MacCulloch for center Dikembe Mutombo. "I didn't
believe him," Van Horn says. He wasn't surprised that he had been
dealt--not after Kenyon Martin had blasted him for failing to
"bring it" against the Lakers in the Finals--but the destination
was a shock.

Before the 1997 draft Van Horn had declared that all things
considered, he would rather be anywhere but Philadelphia. He
refused to work out for the Sixers, who nevertheless took him
with the No. 2 pick and, hours later, shipped him to New Jersey
in an eight-player deal. Though Van Horn insists now that he
would not have demanded a trade or staged a holdout in Philly if
the Sixers had kept him, he's glad his arrival was delayed five
years. "Times have changed," Van Horn says. "This team is better
now, and I've matured as a player. I think I'm a very good fit."

The big question is how well Van Horn fits with the Answer. Allen
Iverson won his third scoring title last season, with a 31.4
average, but the 6-foot guard needed 27.8 shots a game and
connected on a career-low 39.8%. The 6'10" Van Horn has averaged
18.2 points in the NBA while never shooting worse than 42.6% from
the field in a season. The knock on him is his unremarkable
defense and rebounding; that he led New Jersey last season with
7.5 boards a game--and his average of 7.6 over his career--belies
his Mr. Softee image. "Our league has a tendency to harp on what
a guy can't do rather than what he can," says Sixers coach Larry
Brown. "Keith can post up, he can score on the perimeter and he
understands how to play. He'll be playing with a great offensive
player in Allen, and that's going to open up opportunities for
him."

Van Horn's ability to make a perimeter jump shot, long the
Achilles' heel of Brown's tough-minded teams, should help him
gain acceptance from Iverson and the Philly fans he spurned in
'97. Brown is also excited about free-agent signees Monty
Williams, a 6'8" forward, and Greg Buckner, a 6'4" guard; the
coach likens both to former Sixers forward George Lynch, whom
Brown admired for his gritty play. Another plus: Unlike last
year, guards Iverson, Aaron McKie and Eric Snow will not be
starting the season on the injured list. Whether all this will be
enough to propel Philadelphia back to the top of the East,
though, may well depend on a man who once did all he could to
avoid playing for the Sixers.

"The trade was shocking at first, but as time passed, I felt
better and better about the situation," Van Horn says. "To go
from last year's Eastern Conference champs to the Eastern
Conference champs of two years ago, there's not a lot to complain
about." --Pete McEntegart

COLOR PHOTO: MANNY MILLAN ALL OR NOTHING Under pressure to carry the offense, Iverson had the worst shooting season of his six-year career.

FAST FACT
For the third straight year Allen Iverson's average (31.4 points)
more than doubled that of the Sixers' No. 2 scorer (Derrick
Coleman's 15.1).

ENEMY LINES
an opposing team's scout sizes up the 76ers

"When I think of the team that went to the Finals two years ago, I
think of a club that was tough defensively and that mentally beat
you down. I just don't see them having that kind of energy
anymore.... This is a beat-up team. The only guys who played 80
games for them last year were Matt Harpring and Dikembe Mutombo,
and both are gone.... When they traded Mutombo [to the Nets],
they gave away a big defensive presence, and in return they got
more scoring with Todd MacCulloch and Keith Van Horn. But both of
those guys are soft.... The Sixers like their defenders to
overplay on the perimeter, but will they be able to do that
knowing they don't have a shot blocker covering their backs?...
You could argue that Derrick Coleman might help them defensively
around the basket, but he's coming off knee surgery, and he has a
long history of being unreliable.... Eric Snow's injuries haven't
affected him, because he's an overachiever who never played above
the rim anyway.... Aaron McKie seems like he's always hurt, but I
don't see him changing his physical style. That's how he has to
play.... Allen Iverson is constantly banged up, because he plays
harder than anybody. He is the toughest pound-for-pound player in
the NBA.... It will be interesting to see how much they try to
establish Van Horn. In the past the only guy they've run plays
for has been Iverson.... Whenever Iverson and Larry Brown are
having one of their tiffs, I find myself asking, who is going to
be the first to break--Allen or Larry? I never find myself
thinking it's going to be Allen.... It seems like they have a lot
of problems, but that's always the way it is in Philly. There's
always some kind of soap-opera drama going on--somebody's hurt,
something's going on with Iverson or Coleman, somebody's asking
Brown if he's going to quit. They should call their pregame show
As the Sixers Turn."

DEFENSIVE RATINGS

Tough D
SNOW

Fair D
MACCULLOCH
IVERSON

No D
COLEMAN
VAN HORN

PROJECTED LINEUP
2001-02 record: 43-39 (fourth in Atlantic)
Points scored: 91.0 (26th) Points allowed: 89.4 (2nd)
Coach: Larry Brown (sixth season with 76ers)

STARTERS PVR* 2001-02 KEY STATS

SF Keith Van Horn[1]51 14.8 ppg 7.5 rpg 2.0 apg 43.3 FG% 34.5 3FG%
PF Derrick Coleman 155 15.1 ppg 8.8 rpg 1.7 apg 0.88 bpg 45.0 FG%
C Todd
MacCulloch[1] 137 9.7 ppg 6.1 rpg 1.3 apg 1.44 bpg 53.1 FG%
SG Allen Iverson 11 31.4 ppg 4.5 rpg 5.5 apg 2.80 spg 39.8 FG%
PG Eric Snow 102 12.1 ppg 3.5 rpg 6.6 apg 1.56 spg 44.2 FG%

BENCH PVR* 2001-02 KEY STATS

G-F Aaron McKie 141 12.2 ppg 4.0 rpg 3.7 apg 1.17 spg 44.9 FG%
G-F Monty Williams[1]183 7.1 ppg 3.5 rpg 1.4 apg 0.72 spg 54.7 FG%
G-F Greg Buckner[1] 259 5.8 ppg 3.9 rpg 1.1 apg 0.70 spg 52.5 FG%
G John
Salmons (R)[1] 264 13.1 ppg 6.0 rpg 6.1 apg 1.78 spg 46.1 FG%
C Samuel Dalembert 318 1.5 ppg 2.0 rpg 0.38 bpg 44.0 FG% 38.9 FT%

[1] New acquisition
(R) Rookie (statistics for final college season)
*PVR: Player Value Ranking (explanation on page 92)

WILL THE SIXERS OVERPLAY ON THE PERIMETER KNOWING THEY DON'T HAVE
A SHOT BLOCKER?

HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
OUT
HOLE YARDS PAR R1 R2 R3 R4
IN
Eagle (-2)
Birdie (-1)
Bogey (+1)
Double Bogey (+2)