Throughout the week, basketball writers from the major sites have a number of chats and run rumor columns. Every once in a while, they actually talk about the Sixers. In this column, GoSixers has aggregated the relevant stuff from the chats. You'll see stuff in here that will make you scratch your head, but keep in mind, these guys are experts.
Peter in Vancouver:
Hey Bill, I had great time chatting with you and Steve on deadline day :) Did Battier demanded a trade back to memphis? I don't see why Morey would turn down the Kapono&Speights trade for Thabeet unless Shane doesn't want to go to Philly.
Peter - I'm glad you got in with the first question and that this was it. I spent the weekend in Houston and have a pretty good feel for the way this went down. Shane's first choice was to stay in Houston, but the Rockets knew they wouldn't be able to keep him next season - he's in his prime and the Rockets, well, aren't - so trade for younger pieces with longer contracts was the best answer. Out of respect to Shane, they took into account his wishes, and he didn't mind going back to Memphis. The Rockets got the best they could get, which was the first round pick in that came along with Thabeet. No one - NO ONE - believes Thabeet will be a contributing member of the team. In fact, Adelman laughed at the very suggestion.
Poto in Canada:
The Knicks, Bulls, Magic and Celtics are going to dominate the East for the next 6-7 years. So chances of Philly and Indiana going into the finals are super slim. Will Iguodala and Granger look to go west to increase their chances of winning?
What if Dwight leaves? What if the NBA puts leveler language in the new CBA that doesn't allow the super teams to be created? Where could Granger or Iggy go to win a championship?
There are no guarantees . . .and neither the Sixers nor the Pacers are looking to deal their guys.
Pete in Canada:
Which of the following stars will get traded first? Kevin Love, Iguodala or Danny Granger? I highly doubt minnesota can turn their franchise into a contender in the next 4-5 years. So i'll go with Love.
Actually, of the 3 . . .and I don't think any of them get traded . . .I would go with Granger. Lots of contracts run out in Indy this summer, and a new regime could choose to go in a new direction. That said, if the team continues their turnaround they could all be there for a long time yet.
Mattt in Houston, Tx:
How good are the sixers? They are 27-16 (63% winning Orlando or OK City type ball) since the dismal 3-13 start. Can they get out of the first round?
I actually really like what they've done, and talking to the guys they are really feeling Collins' system. His enthusiasm and his positive approach has them believing in themselves, and Brand and Iggy have been fabulous. If they can continue to bond and play like they have, they're not a team anyone wants to face in the first round . . .especially Orlando. The Magic look ripe for an upset, and this is a much better Sixers team than the one the Magic struggled to beat two years ago.
Victor in Bell Gardens, CA:
Hey Eric, Are Andre Iguodala or Danny Granger on Neil Olshey radar for next year?
Sure Look at the top small forwards in the league and there you go - that's what the Clippers need.
Josh in Atl:
Kaman for iggy? who says no and what does it do for clippers?
The Clippers say no, and it makes them worse.
Andrew in Jasper, IN:
What are the odds of the 76ers moving up to 6th in the East?
What are the odds of the 76ers winning two more games than the Knicks?... pretty good... especially if Chauncey Billups deep thigh bruise becomes a problem.
76ers4life in phila. pa:
what can the 6ers do in the offseason to improve? is danny granger or an option?
Finally have some real hope and it already isn't enough?
Sixers will be better next year doing nothing. Jrue, Turner, Young, Sixers have a wealth of young talent that is improving - and a coach who has figured out how to develop it.
Bill in Falls Church, VA:
How about Doug Collins for Coach of the Year? Does he get your vote?
As a Bulls homer, I'm going with Thibs. Doug Collins would be second. Anytime you take a team that was struggling mightily in the first month of the season and turn them into a playoff team you deserve a lot of recognition. I also like what 'Pop' is doing out in San Antonio. It's hard to argue with the best record in the league.
Jason in Oxnard,Ca:
Who in the west that is not top five and in the east not top five could come out on top as a sleeper to be in the finals
In the West, I would go with the New Orleans Hornets. They're definitely a notch below the elite teams in the conference, but they have always felt that they could play with the top teams and have something to prove. Chris Paul is hard to bet against and he poses problems for guys like Derek Fisher, Tony Parker and Jason Kidd.
In the East, it has to be the New York Knicks. They're better than their record indicates and are much better than the teams like the Philadelphia Sixers or Indiana Pacers that sit near them in the standings. That's a good team, and Chauncey Billups is playing excellent basketball right now. He's never had this many offensive weapons around him, and he could lead this team on a deep playoff run.
Jon (Fairfield, CA)
Chris, in the top-heavy East, no one seems to be talking about the Sixers resurgence. How far can they go in the playoffs?
I assure you they are talking about it in New York, because the Sixers have been nipping at the Knicks heels for a while now and threatening to send them into the seventh spot. The thing of it is, I don't expect the Sizers to have much of a chance against the Heat, Celtics and/or Bulls, and this is a year in which being the No. 6 seed or the No. 7 seed might not matter so much because it depends on how the 1-2-3 race shakes out at the top. After last night, I'm sure the Knicks would be glad to fall into the No. 7 seed if it assured them of a matchup against the Heat. But Miami might fall to No. 3, in which case the Knicks must hold off the Sixers because they alternative might be the Celtics in a 2-7 matchup. All this, mind you, because the Bulls are a legit threat to be No. 1 coming out of the East.
Jon (Fairfield, CA)
Chris, game on the line, one shot needed to win. Who takes it for the Sixers?
If it is not Iguodala, I like their chances better. I've seen him miss too many at the end of games.
What are your thoughts about the Sixers, who have really put a nice stretch of play together?
Doug Collins has done some job, hasn't he? Weren't the Sixers something like 3-14 to start the season? And now they're over .500. If the Knicks had lost that game to Miami last night they'd have dropped to the 7th spot in the west, one behind the 76ers...No way people would have had the 76ers fighting for the sixth spot, but this is the difference a good coach can make and Doug Collins is such a fine coach. You know that Elton Brand is averaging more rebounds than Amare Stoudemire? Doug is getting the max out of his team and they're a threat now...
Unbelievable what a difference Coach Thibs has made for the Bulls. Is he the coach of the year?
He is in my book. As hard as it is to dismiss what Pop has done in San Antonio, or Doug Collins (my preseason pick) in Philly, or the underrated work Rick Carlisle has done with a rather imperfect roster in Dallas ... it's gotta be Thibs for how ridiculously they've overachieved at the defensive end.
What are reasonable expectations for the Sixers in the playoffs? Any chance they upset the Celtics, Bulls or Magic? I know we're not built to play the heat.
I'm not sure Philly's style translates well to match-ups against any of those four teams, but they seem to have played Boston fairly well the last couple of years. But basically, I'd suggest just enjoying the two home playoff games.
Andre Igudala is a better defender than Tony Allen.
I won't go that far, but I do think his defense is vastly underrated. People who dump on his contract don't understand how rare it is to have a wing player who can do what he does at both ends ... but now that the Sixers are winning he's likely to be viewed more as "part of the solution" and less as "part of the problem."
John (Philadelphia, PA)
Kapono has been out of the rotation for months - why wasn't he bought out?
Thanks for reminding me to check on that. I know it was being discussed, even though he's an Arn Tellem client and Arn generally doesn't negotiate buyouts. Ask me again next week and I might have an answer for you.
ESPN.com - Marc Stein
16th (previously 16th) Collins is a factor in the main COY race now and has East Coach of the Month for February wrapped up. The Sixers went 9-3, passing .500 for the first time all season with their best month since February 2003 (8-2).
NBCSports.com - Kurt Helin
13th (previously 13th) We said this in the game recap but it bears repeating -- the Sixers are over .500 for the first time since they were 2-1 under Eddie Jordan. Doug Collins should get some coach of the year consideration.
AOL/Sportingnews.com - Sean Deveney
16th (previously 15th) Making a move into the East playoff race was enough to convince the Sixers to hang on to G/F Andre Iguodala.
Hoopsworld.com - Eric Pincus
14th (previously 16th) The Sixers thought about blowing it up earlier in the season but the team came together. Now they're on a four-game win-streak and one over .500.
Sportsillustrated.com - Britt Robson
12th (previously 13th) Like Memphis and Phoenix in the West, the Sixers have moved into the bottom of the playoff picture on the basis of increased depth and a commitment to defense. Yes, they lead the NBA in points off the bench (due largely to Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young and Evan Turner), but the real change has happened at the other end of the court. After ranking 24th in defensive efficiency under Eddie Jordan last year, the Sixers have jumped to eighth under Doug Collins, reducing their points per 100 possessions from 110.3 to 104.8. The leadership for this defensive emphasis comes from Andre Iguodala and Young. The biggest improvement has probably been exhibited by backup center Marreese Speights, who was poor defensively while playing for Jordan. But with Speights on the court this season, the Sixers allow only 97.65 points per 100 possessions, according to Basketball Value.
Foxsports.com - Zac Johson
15th (previously 17th) Win in Cleveland Sunday wasn't beautiful, but it was Philly's fourth straight and showed how these guys have been doing it. Balanced scoring included three reserves in double figures, and a young, versatile and athletic lineup makes these guys flexible and a tough guard. It was just Cleveland -- and it won't be this year -- but the 76ers are on the climb.
NBA.com - John Schuhmann
11th (previously 13th) The Sixers are over .500 for the first time since they started last season 3-2. Statistically, they're the second-most improved team in the league from last year, behind only Chicago (and, yes, more improved than Miami). Clearly, Doug Collins deserves a lot of consideration for Coach of the Year.
Catching up with Evan Turner (on a sneaker blog)
Coach Of the Year (blogtable NBA.com)
Weekend Dime - Second Trimester Awards
We've got a game tonight at 6:00pm. Game thread/preview will land 90 minutes prior.