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Maybe They Need A Gunner?

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I think the Jodie Meeks Experience has probably run its course. It's not that he can't possibly be a rotational guy, capable of getting hot from distance for stretches, but as a starter he's getting exposed, on both ends of the floor. He's trying to do way too much on the offensive end, and teams are going after him on the defensive end, mercilessly. Forget about defense for a second, though, let's talk about what the Sixers seem to need on the offensive end.

Last night's loss wasn't about Andre Iguodala, it was about the team's hodgepodge of offensive personnel and honestly a poorly thought out offensive scheme. There wasn't a second during the game when the Sixers didn't have at least one offensive advantage on the floor, and they almost seemed to avoid these mismatches.

Nate Robinson guarding Jrue? That needs to be attacked. Jrue didn't get the ball in the post one time.

Shaq guarding Elton Brand? I can't remember a single pick-and-roll with Jrue and Brand. Maybe one pick and pop. They should've gone to that play continuously. Shaq may be the worst big in the league at defending the pick and roll.

Marquis Daniels on Iguodala? Again, why not go to the post instead of isolations?

When they forced Boston to switch, why let off the gas and let them recover? One time in particular, Iguodala wound up with Glen Davis covering him 20 feet from the hoop, with no help on that side of the floor. Instead of attacking, he pulled the ball out and set the play up, allowing Boston to switch back.

This team doesn't have a "go-to guy," that much is clear. When you don't have that, you absolutely must go to the best matchup. If you go to Jrue in the post, Boston is going to be forced to help. They're going to be forced to get out of their comfort zone defensively, and then you can move the ball and get an open look. If you go with the pick and roll, bodies have to move. Plays have to be made. There's an opportunity for something to happen, and something is better than Iguodala driving one-on-four, hoping to make a circus shot or get bailed out by the whistle that's just not going to get blown unless your name is Dwyane Wade in that situation.

When I look at this roster, the glaring weakness I see is the center position. They need a legitimate defensive presence at the five. When I watch games like last night, though. I think they might need a guy with no conscience just as much. Lou sort of fits the bill, sometimes, but he's more likely to kill the team with pump fakes and ill-conceived drives. They don't have a superstar, but maybe what they need is a guy who's a superstar in his own mind and will carry the team through dry stretches with some kind of regularity. Usually, I hate gunners, but a guy like JR Smith, who won't hesitate to pull the trigger and will demand the ball when he has a mismatch (or doesn't) might be a pretty good fit on this team.

Meeks was great for the team when he was shooting the three unbelievably well, but even if he just shoots it pretty good, he's not the answer. There's really nothing more to his game, and he needs to be absolutely open to get his shot up, off and in. A guy like Smith just needs a sliver, and sometimes not even that much. And he's not going to pass up shots for drives like we've seen Meeks doing recently. He's a finisher of possessions, which is desperately needed when Jrue and Iguodala are on the floor. They'll set the table, they just need a guy to eat the meal.

Anyway, there are so many holes that need to be filled, and I'm not even talking long term. Today, I'm just questioning what type of player would have the biggest impact in the short term. Say they got a defensive center and their defense improved even more. Say they were the fifth-best defensive team in the league with the same offense they have right now, would that be a better team than the tenth defense with a more dynamic offensive attack? Tough question.
by Brian on Dec 23 2010
Tags: Basketball | JR Smith | Sixers |