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We Are All Being Cheated

http://www.depressedfan.com/img/jrueiskillingit012710.JPG
As a fan, I feel a little bit numb after 44 games. I feel like I've been beaten into submission, beaten to the point where I've come to not only expect the worst, but settle for things that simply are not acceptable. After the jump, I'll give you a glaring example of what I'm talking about.
Earlier in the season I was filled with righteous indignation over how Jordan was treating the rookie. The kid would get in a game occasionally, defend like you wouldn't believe, then disappear for several games. As the season wore on, his minutes were all over the place and, to be honest, I grew tired of beating the drum. You can only ask, "Why is Lou Williams in the game getting abused on the defensive end when we need stops?" so many times.

So fast forward to three games ago. Jrue Holiday was inserted into the starting lineup along with Elton Brand. For the first time since very early in the season, the Sixers were starting a sensible lineup (probably their best lineup), and I took it as a positive sign. So much so, actually, that I was more counting my blessings that we were getting to see Jrue play in a real lineup, than questioning why he was still being limited to 15 minutes or so, and hardly ever seeing the floor when it mattered in the second half. Essentially, I'd become so accustomed to asinine decisions that I was willing to take what I could get.

The problem with settling for table scraps is that sometimes you miss the big picture. Over the past month I've commented frequently about Jrue's contributions when he's been on the floor, but his minutes have been limited to the point where his stats rarely amounted to anything. Five points, 3 rebounds, 5 assists looks mundane in the box score, and while his defense would usually stand out I just don't know how much you can glean from the sporadic minutes we were seeing.

Of course, if you're Eddie Jordan, it's easy to ignore Jrue's contributions when they come in small doses. You aren't going to hear much about not playing the kid more when his stat lines never jump out at you. I'm not saying this is his motivation for holding the kid back, for all I know his motivation could simply be because he doesn't want to overexpose him. No matter what the reason is, though. The fact of the matter is that Jrue has earned a bigger role, and I'm not simply talking about his defensive prowess, or any anecdotal evidence I can come with about how he runs the offense and his natural point guard instincts. I'm talking about his production, his statistical production, over the past month.

Check out these numbers over the past 14 games. He's averaged 15.5 minutes/game, the numbers below are his numbers per 36 minutes:

  • 4.48 FG / 9.95 FGA (45% from the floor)
  • 1.33 3P / 2.82 3PA (47.1% from three)
  • 1.33 FT / 1.99 FTA (66.7% from the line)
  • 1.66 offensive rebounds
  • 3.98 defensive rebounds
  • 5.64 total rebounds
  • 6.14 assists
  • 2.82 turnovers
  • 2.18 assist/turnover ratio
  • 1.16 steals
  • 0.66 blocks
  • 4.81 fouls
  • 11.61 points
Over that stretch of games, 14 of Jrue's 37 assists have been for field goals at the rim (layups or dunks). As a point of reference, Lou Williams also has 14 assists on at the rim finishes over the past 14 games. Lou has also played exactly twice as many minutes as Jrue. I'd like to see him cut down on the fouls and turnovers, and get to the line a bit more, but overall, most teams in the league would take a 12/5/6/1/.7 stat line from their PG, especially from their 19-year-old PG.

Simply put, Jrue's production on both ends of the floor probably warrants 30 minutes a game at this point. At the very least, he's earned the right to prove that he's not ready to handle the point for 30 minutes a night.

Forget about the team's atrocious record. Forget about the fact that we believe he's the future of the team and we want to see him developed. Forget everything about the guy and just look at how he's played when he's been on the floor. He's earned it with his play, and none of these stats even reflect the biggest strength of his game, his on-the-ball defense, which the team sorely lacks whenever he's on the bench.

Like the headline says, we're being cheated.

Here's a quick look at the advanced stats worksheet, which we haven't really examined for a while.

http://www.depressedfan.com/img/advancedstatsgame44012710.gif



Here's some early morning reading for you as well. A quote from Bob Cooney's article:

"When we feel like we should've won, it's a little chippy," said guard Lou Williams, recently demoted from the starting lineup in favor of rookie Jrue Holiday. "Guys are getting after each other. Today was one of those days. It's a good day for us, for guys to be competitive, to kind of yell and scream at each other, get that frustration out. I don't know if it's encouraged [by the coach]; it's like organized fighting almost; I'm not sure if he encourages that. Guys come in pretty fired up."

If you recall, Jordan was infamous for this crap in Washington. He essentially encouraged a dispute between Brendan Haywood and Eton Thomas to the point where Thomas punched Haywood in practice. Reportedly, the two players came to blows at least three times. So not only is our coach throwing his players under the bus at every opportunity, but it sounds like he's now playing mind games to pit teammate vs. teammate. Encouraging, huh?
by Brian on Jan 27 2010
Tags: Advanced Stats | Basketball | Jrue Holiday | Sixers | Stats |