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First Half Review: The Swings

Thumbnail image for The Dynamic Duo. (Photo by Nathaniel S. Butler/NBAE via Getty Images)
Day two of Operation Dominate The Second Half, brings us to our look back and look forward on the production from the Sixers dynamic wing duo. Thad Yound and Andre Iguodala go under the microscope after the jump, check out the first part in the series here.

The Sixers are blessed on the wing, but also heavily dependent on the health of these two guys. Luckily, they've both proven durable. We'll start with Andre Iguodala: most minutes, to fewest. (Minutes are a per game average, all stats are per 36 minutes to normalize everyone.)

If we're looking at the first half, as a whole, then I don't think you can complain about the numbers Andre Iguodala has put up. He's had a much better first half this season than last, statistically. His 1.3 points/shot ratio is excellent, he's turning the ball over less, his shooting percentage is up while his 3PT percentage is even, as compared to the first half last season. His rebound and assist numbers are both dramatically higher.

It's a good thing we didn't do this study by quarter seasons instead of half, though. Iggy's start to the season was horrible. His cumulative numbers look good because he's been absolutely on fire since the first of December. His shooting percentage over the past 24 games has been 50.8%, as opposed to 39.8% over the first 17. He's shot the three at a 35.1% clip since December 1st, 25.6% before. Only his assists and rebounds were consistent throughout the first half.

Still, we're taking the longer view of the first 41 games, and over that stretch, he's been the man. His slow start has been completely erased, statistically, by his insanely strong past 24 games. The good news is that he's typically been a much better player in the second half.

  • Overall: I'd say the numbers say he's met expectations over the first half. Broken down further, he woefully underperformed for the first 17 games, since then, he's been more than we could've hoped for.
  • Projection: The wild card here is Brand's return. I think Coach DiLeo has come to lean on Iggy over the past fifteen games or so, so I don't think EB's shots will come out of Iggy's share. I'm expecting a bigger second half out of Iggy. The best part about his 2nd half numbers in '08 was the dramatic decrease in turnovers. We've seen Iggy take better care of the ball recently (the Mavs game excepted), I'd love to see that trend continue.

Thad is up next, here are his numbers:

When you look at the numbers, keep in mind that Thad is only 20, he was asked to switch positions from the 4 to the 3 to start the season, then moved back to the 4. He's growing, he's learning and his defense has remained excellent throughout, including doing a spectacular job on Dirk Nowitzki on Monday, without needing a double. (Early in the game, not on that fina shot).

That being said, the only number that really makes me happy for Thad from the first half of this season is his 3PT%. Otherwise, he's underperformed in every category. Two categories scream for improvement, sooner rather than later: rebounding and free throws attempted. Thad has driving ability, he's shown it regularly this season, he needs to start converting these drives into free throws if he's going to become a truly effective scorer, which is what he should be.

The rebounding numbers have come up recently, but not enough. When he's hustling and aggressively crashing the boards on both ends of the floor, this team becomes much, much harder to hang with. When he's passive on the boards, and/or more concerned with being the first one down the floor on the break, too many balls find their way into the other team's hands.

I wouldn't draw too much from the 1st half/2nd half splits from last season. Thad never got regular minutes in the first half last season.

  • Overall: It pains me to say it, but Thad has been a disappointment. It's not that I think he's been bad, it's just that I expected a step forward from him this season, and it hasn't happened in any area other than his outside shooting. In fact, he's taken a step back in several key areas.
  • Projection: I'm hoping recent play will be a sign of things to come. I've especially liked the way Iggy and Thad have been feeding off each other when they're both on the court. If we see more hustle, and more plays called for him, we should get the Thad we were expecting in the second half.

Tomorrow, we'll take a look at the bigs.