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Positional Strengths and Weaknesses

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Rebuild, retool, blow up...whichever is your preference, it's important to take stock before any decisions are made. After the jump, we'll take a look at the current roster, broken down by position, in an effort to identify needs on a production basis.

Point Guard

Players: Jrue Holiday
Strengths: On-ball defense, transition game, outside shooting, pick-and-roll offense, court vision, true point guard play, rebounding (offensive and defensive), defensive playmaking
Weaknesses: Turnovers, body of work (only 1,700 NBA minutes), depth, pick-and-roll defense, off-ball defense, getting to the FT line.
Overall/needs: I'm one of those who believe Jrue will lock down the PG position for the Sixers for the next decade. He has work left to do, but I believe he has the work ethic to address any weaknesses in his game. The glaring weakness at this position for the Sixers is a glaring lack of depth. No one else on this roster is a viable point guard going forward. They can possibly steal minutes with Lou running the point, but that's a huge step backward. Iguodala is a serviceable PG for short stretches, but he's needed elsewhere. This team needs a guy who can man the point without being a minus on the floor when Jrue is on the bench. A veteran would probably be ideal, a guy who can teach Jrue some of the finer points of the NBA game, but won't be pushing the kid for minutes. This isn't an immediate need, and not something they need to spend serious money on, but it's something I'd like to see addressed this offseason in some way, shape or form. If they go into the season with Lou as their #2 PG on the depth chart, I'll consider it a glaring mistake.

Shooting Guard

Players: Lou Williams, Jodie Meeks, Willie Green
Strengths: Streak shooting, streak scoring, getting to the line, taking care of the basketball, finishing in transition.
Weaknesses: Defense, in every imaginable way. Size, they're all undersized for the position. Three-point shooting. Playmaking. Rebounding.
Overall/Needs: I'm going to count Andre Iguodala as a three for the time being, simply because as currently constructed I don't believe this team has another wing starter and Iguodala's best position is probably the three. If a three is acquired in the draft or via free agency, you can shift Iguodala to shooting guard and then all the weaknesses above disappear, save three-point shooting. As it stands, however, shooting guard is a gaping black hole of need. Combine these three players and you might have a serviceable offensive two guard off the bench for scoring punch. On their own, I think Williams is the best bet to be a legitimate rotational guy, but he can't play heavy minutes for you unless he drastically improves his defense, becomes a 40% three-point shooter and grows 4 inches. Best-case scenario, you need a starting caliber two guard who can stretch the floor and play passable defense on the lesser guard on opposing teams. Worst-case, you need a similar player to back him up as well.

Small Forward

Players: Andre Iguodala, Thaddeus Young, Jason Kapono
Strengths: Among all three players, you've got everything you need. For 40 minutes/game, everything but outside shooting is a strength. For the other 8 or so, outside shooting and/or transition would be the strengths.
Weaknesses: For 40 minutes/game, outside shooting is a weakness, for the other 8, everything but outside shooting. Notably, defense of any kind, rebounding and playmaking.
Overall/Needs: The Sixers are pretty much set here. Iguodala is a tremendous asset at the three, assuming you can address the long-range shooting woes at the two. If you switch Iguodala to the two, you have to find a viable starting SF to play 35+ minutes who will give you outside shooting and passable perimeter defense. By passable defense, I mean they need to be capable of guarding the third-best offensive perimeter player on the opposing team, because Jrue and Iguodala can handle the two best. Rebounding and playmaking are nice to haves, considering the abilities of Jrue and Iguodala. Shooting, especially from three, and not being an extreme defensive liability are the key needs. It would also be great if the SF could be your primary scorer.

Power Forward

Players: Elton Brand, Marreese Speights
Strengths: Scoring, from pretty much anywhere within the three-point line.
Weaknesses: Defense of any kind. Defensive rebounding.
Overall/Needs: There's no doubt in my mind that these two could split the minutes at the four any way you want and score a combined 20-25 points per game. The concern is that they'd give up 25-30 points in the 48 minutes. For the long term, one of these guys needs to either learn how to grab defensive boards, or remember how to do grab them. More than that, though, they need a guy who's going to be willing and able to defend the pick-and-roll in a somewhat effective manner. Part of this is system, part of it is effort and part of it is athleticism. It's possible these guys could man the four going forward, and I'd probably be willing to give it another year under a new coach before saying this position absolutely needs to be addressed. You can also sprinkle Thad into the mix for a change-up, but that lineup would have to be used sparingly.

Center

Players: Samuel Dalembert, Jason Smith
Strengths: Rebounding, interior defense, offensive rebounding, finishing within two feet of the rim, post defense.
Weaknesses: Offense further than two feet from the rim. Catching the ball. Pick-and-roll defense. Stupidity. Depth.
Overall/Needs: Sam is fine as a starter as far as I'm concerned. It would be great if he was smarter, it would be great if he had some kind of reliable post move, it would be great if had better hands. But on the whole, his interior defense and rebounding make do so much for the team, you can live with everything else. The only problem is his price tag and his uncertain future. I've completely ignored Jason Smith here because, frankly, he's useless. He is not a viable rotational guy in this league. He should be playing in Europe, if they'd take him. A long-term starter is needed here, because I don't believe Sam is going to be here beyond this season, if he even lasts the season. My preference would be for a defensive-minded center with some offensive upside, but above all he needs to be able to protect the rim, clean the glass, catch the ball and finish at the rim. Defensive depth is absolutely needed at this position.

In summation:

PG: Veteran backup, capable of 15-20 minutes in a pinch, probably 10-12 on a regular basis.
SG/SF: A starter at one position or the other, capable of playing 35+ minutes/night, shooting a high percentage from three and contributing something on the defensive end.
PF: Possible long-term solution is needed. Definitely need an upgrade on the defensive side of the ball either from current players or fresh blood.
C: A long-term replacement for Sam Dalembert. Defense comes first. Also need a defensive big to come off the bench, which could possibly be Dalembert if he could be signed to a reasonably cheap contract when this one expires.
by Brian on Apr 17 2010
Tags: Basketball | Offseason | Sixers | Team Needs |