STEFANSKI: Going in, up against a formidable opponent, I knew we would compete. That's the makeup of our team and our coach. I'm happy how the young guys reacted. Thaddeus Young, in his rookie and second season, was one of our best players in the playoffs then, so we knew he would perform well. Jodie Meeks played well in his first playoffs, and the big one, Jrue Holiday, the guy who is instrumental in getting us to that next level, was very, very good. Talking to people in Miami, they were blown away at how good this kid is and how much better they think he is going to be.
As for Evan Turner, it was definitely an up-and-down kind of year for him, which is not unusual. But for him to end where he was, a very good basketball player in that series, for him to go into the offseason with that confidence level is a win-win situation for both the player and the organization.
I also thought Spencer Hawes acquitted himself well. We know we need more bigs, but he did a nice job. I think our young players, the ones that I've just mentioned, got a lot out of [the playoff experience].
Q: Since it was your first year with the Sixers, did you sit back and evaluate more than you normally would in your position?
THORN: Having been in New Jersey [for 10 years] I think I had a reasonably good feel as far as [the Sixers'] talent goes. I've always tried to be prudent, try to look at what you have and what you need, ascertain how you can get what you need. It's not always easy to get what you need. Bigs are at a premium. Teams that have them are unwilling to trade them, so it's not an easy thing to do to get them. You may not have the pieces to get something that you need. That happens frequently. As one who has made many trades in this league, I've always tried to make sure that whatever you're doing is a push in the right direction. Sometimes a trade is not equal talent for equal talent. Sometimes a trade is done for a change in the locker room, shore up a particular area. It might not be equal talent being traded, but you don't want to push back your talent pool; at the end of the day that's what makes or breaks you. With what's going on now [the collective bargaining agreement expiring on June 30] no one knows what's going to transpire at this time, knows what the rules are going to be. It's much more different now than it usually is as far as moving forward.
But for me it's always about having talent that can play together. We play very hard and we play together. Our coach did a terrific job of having players in the right position all season. We have to look at how we can get better. Everyday, Ed, Doug and I are looking and trying to improve our team. But to me, making a move just to make a move doesn't make sense. I will only make a move to make our team better.
Q: Andre Iguodala is probably your best bargaining chip this offseason. He wasn't forthcoming at the end of the season about whether he would be back with the team next season. What is his future?
THORN: I don't know how to answer that. Unless you're a championship team or one small move away from a championship, your always looking to improve. There are some players that are less likely to move than others. If you can make a deal that makes sense, either in short or long-term, you always look at it. It's obviously about acquiring talent, and obviously Andre is a very talented player who can help a team in more ways than most players can. I'm just trying to look at ways we can help our team.
Q: Why weren't there any moves made during the trading deadline this season?
STEFANSKI: As a group we talked about it. Rod has the final say and the decision was we were not going to just make a trade just for the sake of making one. But there was nothing that we felt we could have done that would have made us a better team. We really wanted to make the playoffs. We wanted to see how the young players would react and handle a playoff series. In recent years when we made the playoffs we did it with an older team, with an older point guard. The difference and the excitement about this year is that we made it with a very young team and with a 20-year-old point guard. We're excited about the future of the young players and the way they played against the Heat in the playoffs.
Q: With the way the playoffs have unfolded, does it tell you more about your team and where you stand in the Eastern Conference?
STEFANSKI: I think it tells us we are not far away from the better teams. We know we need to get bigger and more physical inside. I honestly feel our perimeter is real good. We like what we have but we know we have to add to it. We have a high-character team and with the coach we have, we can get a lot out of them. But we have to add more people that are big and physical.
THORN: I think after playing Miami I had tremendous respect for that team. Arguably they always have the two best players on the court, then [Chris] Bosh is somewhere in the top 25 players in the league. They have a triumvirate that nobody else has. They have to have one of their role players play their role in a game, but after playing them they're very good defensively, particularly when [LeBron] James and [Dwyane] Wade are playing well on defense. They close out so quickly, they are one of the best in the league, have tremendous firepower. You can make the case that we were every bit as competitive as the Celtics against them. Chicago hasn't dominated the playoffs, but their best player [Derrick Rose] has.
Q: That being said, can a team like the Sixers win without a superstar?
THORN: If you look historically, the teams that ultimately prevail are the teams that have star players. Getting them is the hard part.
Q: What did you think of the progress of Evan Turner?
THORN: I think he got a lot better over the course of the year. I think he is a winning player, a hard-working player who has a feel for the game I think a team can be successful with an Evan Turner playing a significant role.
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