Later tonight, the Sixers will tip off their eighth game of the season in New Jersey, against a heavily depleted Nets team. I fully expect Eddie Jordan to pull out all the stops to get a win, the only question is which rotations he believes give the team the best chance. After the jump we'll discuss and take a look at the updated advanced stats.
One thing worth noting from Monday's game, the pace. Phoenix has been playing at a much higher pace than the game was played at. Did the Sixers actually impose their will on another team, was it the ass end of a back-to-back for both teams, or was it the offensive rebounding that brought things to a relative crawl? No way to tell, but I'm going with the Sixers slowing things down just so I can pull something positive from that game.
Now, to the rotations. If Jrue Holiday does not play tonight, there is something fishy going on. He showed more in his 15 minutes of action on Monday than any other guard has shown off the bench at any point through the first seven games. There's simply no justification for burying him at the back of the bench after that performance. Maybe if he has an off game against NJ you think about how you're doling out his minutes, but if you don't give the kid a chance to fail, he's never going to grow. Who knows, maybe what we saw against Phoenix is what he's going to provide on a regular basis. Point is, right now he's got the most upside of anyone on the bench and he you can't use the stick without the carrot when you're dealing with rookies. He earned the minutes, you damned well better give them to him.
I'm operating under the assumption Jrue will see minutes. That leads me into my wish list. These are the two lineups I want to see, at least for a couple of minutes each (neither has been used yet this season)Defense
The first lineup is the one I've been dreaming about since draft night. The best defender we can throw out there at all five positions (I'm giving Thad the benefit of the doubt for the time being.) This lineup has amazing size, rock-solid rebounding, shot blocking, ball pressure. You name it. It's about time we got to see them on the floor together.
The second lineup is dynamic. Offense from all five positions, drive and kick possibilities, pick and roll with two talented bigs, Kapono out there to make the opposition pay for doubling on the block or sucking in the lane to stop Iguodala and Holiday from penetrating. Princeton offense or not, this is the type of lineup that needs a natural PG. A guy who can probe the defense and find the weapon with the best matchup.
I'll have a preview up in the afternoon. Check out the rotations chart here
(.xls download) and let me know what lineup you're looking forward to in the comments.