We're still at least three days away from Andre Iguodala's return from achilles tendinitis, but something Bob Cooney said in a video yesterday got me thinking. What's going to happen when Iguodala gets back on the floor?
Cooney sort of intimates in that video that once Iguodala returns, we may see him move back to the two, with Andres Nocioni remaining in the starting lineup as the small forward. Obviously, the odd man out would be Meeks.
My gut reaction was, well, nausea. Nocioni has played pretty well over the past couple games, at least on the surface. He's rebounding well, which is a plus. He's been scoring efficiently, and not taking too many shots. Offensively, he's been a plus, which he usually is not. His defense, however, is beyond terrible. If he's rebounding and scoring like this, fine. He's probably an overall zero sum on the outcome of the game. If he goes cold from the field, though, he's a team killer. When you stop and think about it, though, what options does Collins really have?
If you're talking about the long-term health of the team, Turner is your guy. If he's going to be a contributor in the long term, he either needs to step up and show he can play the two, or he needs to show that he positively can't. If Jrue, Turner and Iguodala isn't going to work, we need to figure that out pretty quickly and decide who of the three is essential to keep, and who should be moved. If that's the priority, I'm fine with giving Turner 30+ minutes/game and seeing what happens. Unfortunately, I'm pretty sure this isn't the best thing for the team in the short term, and I'm not even sure it's the best thing for Turner's long-term development.
You could stick with the status quo, but Meeks has been positively dreadful since his hot-shooting stretch when he first took over the job. Meeks isn't even hypothetically spreading the floor at this point. Teams don't worry about him in the least, and he's more likely to screw up a wild drive to the hoop than hit an open three these days. I think the time has come for Meeks to drop to the bottom of the eight-man rotation.
Lou is an offense killer. Leave him in the role he's playing now, I don't want to see him screwing up the first team's flow.
So what does that leave us with? It's not going to be Kapono. I don't think Collins will suddenly decide to go big with Thad at the three and Iguodala at the two. It's frustrating, deep down I know I don't want Nocioni starting for this team, but I'm having a hell of a time coming up with a better option. It would sure be great if Evan Turner would show up for the next two games and make this an easy decision. If he doesn't, well then we've come full circle. We're basically back to the same starting lineup Collins went with on opening night, the only difference being Kapono in for Nocioni as the weak link at small forward.
These days, when I look at the standings and see the Sixers in the eighth seed in the East, I can't help but think about what Rod Thorn can do to bolster this team. For the life of me, I can't make up my mind between an athletic big and a shooting guard.