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One Man Wrecking Crew

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After Elton Brand's dominant performance against the Hawks, the logical focus of a "wrecking crew" post would be the offensive show he put on, but instead let this post serve as exhibit A in the "Do not re-sign Spencer Hawes under any circumstances" trial sure to happen in about three months.

Since my contributions to the game threads since returning from vacation have mostly consisted of a four-letter word and Spencer Hawes' last name, I decided to take use the magic of Synergy to look at double-zed's contributions on the floor last night, focusing on the offensive end.

If you recall, the prevailing logic during his absence was the Sixers needed Hawes' passing skills to loosen up their offense. Since his return, the offense has sputtered more often than not. My theory revolves around one truth (Hawes is a terrible basketball player) and a theory (With Iguodala, Jrue and Turner all on the floor together, the last thing they need is a big man to handle the ball and make passes). So without further adieu, here are the results.

Hawes played 27 minutes (in the 27 minutes, the Sixers were out-scored 53-50. In those 27 minutes, Hawes was involved in 16 possessions, either as the primary passer or the shooter. Those 16 possessions resulted in 8 points scored, or an offensive efficiency rating of 50. Hawes was charged with a turnover on 4 of those possessions, and dropped a pass at the rim for a fifth turnover which was charged to Iguodala. For some perspective, the Sixers scored 88 points on their other 69 or so possessions.

I realize this is a supremely small sample size, but I do feel like it signifies a trend. People love to ooh and aah at the nice backdoor passes Hawes makes every once in a while, but the team pays a steep price for those rare contributions. In the beginning of the year, he was shooting an absurd and unsustainable percentage on long twos which made him a viable contributor on the offensive end. Now that he's come back down to earth with his jumper, he mostly gets in the way. It's not as if the team has many options to choose from up front, considering Vucevic's implosion after a promising start to the season, but the front office, the coach and most importantly the players need to realize Hawes is not the answer.

Something was definitely different in the Atlanta game. They only ran that maddening play where Hawes catches the ball 21 feet from the hoop and looks for cutters two or three times the entire night. He was posted out there, calling for the ball, several times, but the Sixers looked elsewhere, usually to the other side of the floor. Whether this was something the coaching staff called for, or just common sense on the part of the players on the floor, it's a trend we need to see continue. Drive and kick. Drive to score. Give the ball to Brand with his back to the basket. Look for a size mismatch on the perimeter and go to it on the blocks. Run Meeks and or Lou off a series of screens to get a catch-and-shoot. These are all much better options than giving the ball to Hawes, and they have the personnel to do it in their starting lineup (and most other lineups) they run out there.

Here's the funny thing, I just spent all this time talking about how Hawes hurts the team on the offensive end. The offensive end is clearly his stronger side of the floor. The damage he does on the defensive end is much, much worse most nights, especially when the other team is willing to exploit his weakness. The good news in the Atlanta game is that he only gave up two offensive rebounds due to being the weakest player on the floor, and/or having his feet glued to the floor. Those two o-boards led immediately to 5 free points. I say good news, because most nights he's responsible for a lot more than 2.
by Brian on Apr 2 2012
Tags: Basketball | Sixers | Spencer Hawes |