Jan 21, 2010

State of the Sixers: Mid-Season Report

* I am not an expect, nor professional analyst, just a fan that has watched every game and truly loves this team, and as a fan I feel that my opinion matters. So here it goes this is my take on the first half of the Philadelphia 76ers 2009-10 campaign*

Basketball is like photography, if you don't focus, all you have is the negative.
-- Dan Frisby
41 games down... 13 wins... One hell of a disappointment. Listen I am not saying this team should be a league leader (cause we all know they don't have the talent) but .500 would be nice, hell a team that had a legitimate offensive strategy would be nice. Halfway through this season the only thing the Philadelphia 76ers are doing is ruining their draft chances. For those of you that haven't paid attention to the first half of this 76ers season (trust me I don't blame you) I am going to go through position by position and look at what is doing wrong, because there is A LOT wrong with this team. But before we look at the talent on the court we must understand how we got this way.
Summer Moves Gone Wrong:
5/30/2009 - Eddie Jordan hired to coach Sixers- If you are a fan of the Sixers you would note this as the trigger that the team had a long LONG season ahead of them. Before coming to haunt the sidelines in south philly Jordan spent six seasons running the Washington Wizards into the ground before owner Abe Pullin (r.i.p) finally canned him 11 games into the 2008-09 season. Jordan led his team to a 1-11 record and one of the lowest attendance rates in NBA history.

The reason Eddie was hired in Philly is quite simple. Ed Stefanski is an ass clown that hired his pal Eddie cause he does not know a damn thing about running a team. Jordan and Stefanski were both in the Nets organization from 1999-2003 when they went to the playoffs in back to back seasons. This was a safety pick for Stefanski and thought that Jordan could coast the team long enough for Stefanski to finish "How to run an NBA franchise for DUMMIES."
Jordan has a career 230-288 record (.444) and is the last living person that thinks the Princeton Offense can work in professional basketball. For those of you that don't know what the Princeton Offense is CLICK HERE. I did an earlier piece this year explaining it and how it has failed in Philadelphia due to personnel reasons. Needless to say the Princeton Offense is like a run and gun on crack. For it to truly work Reggie Miller needs to come out of retirement and play with a back court of J.J Reddick and Mike Miller.
Now that I got that frustration out lets talk about the people that contribute to the terrible play
Center: Samuel Dalembert; Jason Smith (Elton Brand)

I know every person in the country is sentimental toward Sammy D right now and this is understandable. In fact as it goes right now I have no beef with the 7 foot Haitian. He is playing out of his mind and recently has been averaging a double-double. He is still over paid (sorry its true) but right now he is playing with more life then ever.

*sidenote- I was going to add a Brittney Murphy joke (shes showing more life then the Sixers front court) but I felt it too soon.*

The problem with the center position is that Sammy is only playing 25-30 minutes a game. So when he sits they either have to bring in Elton Brand to play the 5 or god forbid they bring in Jason Smith. We think things are bad, imagine what would happen in Jason Smith had to start for this team.

The main problem at the center position is that Sammy is a bit of a stick and when it comes to game when he has to face a larger more bully center (Nuggets games were a perfect example) Sammy gets manhandled and easily boxed out from the offensive glass. Denver had 22 second chance points and most of those came from Nene.

Front Court: Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Elton Brand

For the last month Eddie Jordan has committed to Andre and Thad as his starting forwards, typically Thad at the 3 and Andre at the 4. This combo has seemed to work and with Elton Brand coming off the bench and taking up a lot of minutes as the sixth man the forward position has become a little more reliable. The problem is this. Neither Brand nor Iguodala have the makeup to be the top forward for any team in this league. They are meant to be secondary players as complementary to more high profile power forwards.

Ever since he was drafted out of Arizona there has been this weird syndrome that has swept through the Sixers financial department that causes them to pay him ridiculous amount of money to be a mediocre forward. Andre is young and talented but he is no where near a franchise player.

As for Thad Young. He is a young talent and still raw. The problem is the coaches have no clue how to develop young players. Thad can crash teh boards but is still just a young large forward that tends to get into foul trouble and still cant get an offensive board. No to mention he takes way to many three pointers. At his age Thad is going to be a 14-15 ppg. 5.5 rebound player until he can develop with a vetran forward.

Now lets get to the supposed "Veteran Forward" the team spent so much money on. Elton Brand makes too much money for a player past his prime. That's right PAST HIS PRIME. He took the money that Philly was offering and got injured. Now when he has flashes on his former self (17-of-20 games off the bench with a double-double), every runs for the Maybe Card. Listen I am as guilty as the next guy. When he can get a double-double off the bench and shoot over 50% I will give him his credit but he was not the investment the higher ups promised us and for that I say shame on you front office SHAME!!!!.

The one good thing I have to say about Brand is this. He knows what he is and is not the type the thinks he can somehow develop and outside shot or be an all star. Elton takes high percentage hook shots and when he is not in traffic can be a hug producer and eat minutes for this team, and for a team with limited depth this is crucial.

Backcourt: Lou Williams, Allen Iverson

It is still kinda funny for me to write about the Sixers and include the name Allen Iverson but hey tha's the crazy events that have made this season memorable. When the season began the Back court was a mix match of Lou Williams Willie Green and Jrue Holiday.

For Allen Iverson the season began a bit differently. After a short yet memorable tenure with the Memphis Grizzlies in which he: got hurt, bitched, shot 40 times a game, complained, got hurt, then bitched again, Iverson was permitted to leave the team and subsequently released. After this event and the injury to Lou Williams that sidelined him for 6 weeks it seemed as if it was a aligning of the stars for an A.I. return.

In one of the top Allen press conferences in history (that didn't involve practice) Allen cried, showed signs that he was completely stoned and professed that he was happy to finally be "Home". The season was falling apart and no one was in the arena to care but A.I. returned and for some reason people felt like a 40 year old point guard could help a team that was sinking faster then the titanic.

Even after fracturing his jaw Lou Williams was still the undisputed champion of the Sixers backcourt. Most players after having your mouth wired shut would be hesitant toward running in the lane but Lou is a different type of player. If any player should be the face of this franchise is should be sweet lou.

Lou is averaging 15pts and 5 asst per game and even though he is not piling up the stats hes the point guard and hes not meant to be the scorer. It was even made clear in the preseason when Jordan explained the "Princeton Offense" concept that if it was to be successful it would be in Lou's hands. As a young kid (4th year out of high school) Lou plays with composure well beyond his years. So if there is one thing to take out of the first 41 games is the Lou is here to stay (as long as he doesn't get a better deal).

For now the backcourt combo is solid. Iverson is getting you 15-20 a game (in his usual 30 shots a game) and Lou seems to be in command of the offense. So this is something to take a look at cause If there is a distinct problem with this team it really isn't the backcourt.

*Sidenote: On Examiner.com Sixers Examiner Andy Jasner wrote that he doesn't feel that the Sixers should have kept Iversons contract and given him the guaranteed 650,000 it would cost to keep him for the rest of the season..... YOUR RETARTED.... Take away the name and tell me you wouldn't take a 10 year vet that gets you 20 pts and 6 assist a game for only 375,000 (what the Sixers are responsible for after January 11th)... If you say no you have issues*

After thinking long and hard about this team I am come to the true reason this team is losing.....

Sixers Bench Players:

If I told you you had the choice between two players and I gave you stats age and potential what would you take.A 18 year old that had one year of college at a mid level program. He was a backup point guard that upon entering the league averaging 5 points and just under 2 turnovers a game where he averages 17 minutes a game.


A point guard that came from a National Championship winning power house. Strong basketball i.q that could immediately start for your struggling franchise. He comes into the league and in only 20 minutes a game averages just under 10 points and five assists a game.

Now lets play G.M.... who would you take. You would think a sane man would take option B (the pg from a national powerhouse) RIGHT?. Well if you were the Sixers and your franchise was circling the drain you would choose the ladder. The Sixers chose rookie Jrue Holiday as their first round draft pick in the 2009 NBA draft. To choose the 18 year old Holiday the Sixers passed up IMPACT PLAYER Ty Lawson and allowed him to immediately go to the Denver Nuggets and contribute.

Holiday is like a step child brought in the middle of a really messy divorce. Its not his fault he entered the draft but guess what ladies and gents were stuck with him. Holiday is the beginning of the issues on the Sixers bench but I put him first cause well hes going to be a problem for a while so I wanted you guys to know what were dealing with.

Off the Bench

The Sixers have a few options when it comes to bringing shooter off the bench. You would think seeing their off-season moves and the fact that they are trying to run the Princeton Offense that a three point specialist would be the first off the bench... then again that would be logical and this year logical just isn't their game.In the off-season the Sixers picked up former Raptor and 3pt specialist Jason Kapono to help a team that ranked last in the league in three point shooting.  Kapono was the ideal forward guard combo to help a team that was not only lacking in experience but perimeter talent. unfortunately Kapono is so far back on the bench he is sometimes seen selling water ice during time outs.

Coming off the bench for the Sixers as a backup guard has been Rodney Carney. Rod has been mildly public with his dislike for the offensive strategy of head coach Eddie Jordan and it has shown with him only being seen about 10 min a game in the games Jordan allows him to make an appearance (either slop time or injury time). He has become a suprise in close games from outside the arch. Carney can be very streaky and when hes hot can be an ideal cooler knocking down 3's and hitting clutch free throws.

Among the other rag tag contributors are Marresse Speights and Willie Green. Both are hybrid guards that have become substantial contributors. both have averaged around 25-30 minutes and can be counted on for 10 points and around five assists a game. Not huge contributors, if they wernt in Philly they would be 5-10 minute guys but given their circumstance they have shown mounds of potential.

The rest of the slop time is taken by the previously mentioned Jason Smith and the rare yet comical appearances the Sixers saw from Primoz Brezec at the beginning of the season. So as you can see the team is not really assisted by depth, more or less its like a middle school dance. All the awkward wallflowers sitting there with no one courting them yet every once in a while they get there shot. stumble over their feet and make us all laugh (I dont care if you liked that reference I was a wallflower so I reserve right for ridicule).

Tonight begins the beginning of the second half of the Sixers season. Oddly enough they are taking on a division contender in the Dallas Mavericks. I expect things to stay the same. But hey every loss is getting them closer to a possible #1 draft pick. It has worked in the past (Bulls, Lakers, Celtics) maybe we could be next. It doesn't matter no one cares about basketball in Philly anyway (*Sigh*)

Love or hate its my opinion

Leave me your comments- Eternal Mulligan


No comments:

Post a Comment