On the heels of losing Thad Young for three weeks, the Sixers suffered through a terrible loss at the hands of the Pacers last night and found out they'll be without the services of Jason Richardson for the remainder of the season. Richardson has been pretty pedestrian this year, and they've made due without him for the past three weeks, but he's an able body. Something this team is lacking more and more each day.
Let's start with a quick word on last night's game. Horrific. Good, now let's move on.
Without Richardson and Thad available last night, we saw Collins essentially go with a 7-man rotation. 9 guys played, but Kwame only played 6 minutes and Ivey played less than six. The team has made it through this easy stretch of their schedule (easy in terms of days off, not necessarily level of competition) fairly easily, but the schedule to end the season is going to be brutal. They won't play their next back-to-back until February 23rd and 24th. Over the following six weeks, they have nine back-to-backs. They finish the season with 16 games in 28 days, 12 of those games are on the road. Assuming Thad and Bynum are both back by then (which is not a safe assumption), they're still undermanned, especially on the perimeter.
They haven't had a legitimate backup PG all year. Jrue's minutes have been climbing over this stretch (Collins seems to sit him briefly in in the first and the third in important games), and now without Richardson and with Shelvin Mack's departure, Collins will either need to lean on Ivey and Wilkins much more, or push the starters further. Up front, well, if we're lucky Moultrie will be able to gobble up 20 minutes or so a night and fill that void.
It's hard to guess what's going on in the mind of the Sixers front office. Boston hasn't lost since Rondo went down. The Sixers are probably in a dire situation until Thad and/or Bynum return. The playoffs may be out of the question no matter what they do, but if they're dead-set on making the playoffs this season, a move might need to be made. Who they're going to trade is another question entirely because everyone of value on their roster is in their limited rotation and their picks through 2015 are spoken for.
I firmly believe if Collins could make a move to bolster the team's chances this year, he would. I'm just not sure such a move is in the cards. Unless some opportunity for a big upgrade presents itself (packaging Nick Young and Dorell as expiring contracts and maybe someone takes a flyer on Turner), I think it's going to be at best another guy on a 10-day contract, hunker down, grind it out and hope the dream isn't dead by the time you're full strength, if there's a time when you're full strength (minus Richardson, of course).
Anyway, two days of rest before the Bobcats on Saturday. Hopefully, another shoe won't drop before then.