If I told you Jrue only turned the ball over one time and went to the line nine times, how much would you guess the Sixers won by? 10? 20? In allowing the Detroit Pistons to pick up their first win of the season, the Sixers demonstrated exactly how badly they need Andrew Bynum. The Sixer bigs were an embarrassment last night, and the fact their performance stood out to me when the entire team shot 29% from the floor says something.
Before we get to how small the bigs played, I think it's only fair to point out that it took Evan Turner roughly 200 minutes of game action to land in Doug Collins' doghouse, and he's basically one hot shooting night from Dorrel Wright away from reclaiming his rightful spot somewhere below #5 on the team's depth chart. If we're going to be honest about Turner, picking up the option for next season was a mistake. I know everyone says he's a hard worker, but I don't know how a hard worker comes into the season pudgy two years in a row when his exit interview focused on getting in better shape.
And the "bigs"... Kwame Brown came back from injury to play in his second game of the year. His 12 minutes produced 3 points and 1 rebound. Spectacular. Lavoy's jumper was actually falling. Really, there isn't anything positive to say beyond Lavoy's jumper was actually falling. This team missed 59 of 84 shots from the floor, and 11 of 32 from the foul line. It was the worst shooting display I've ever seen, and Lavoy was pretty much the only one who was exempt from the horror show. 2/11, 1/6, 4/13, 3/12, 2/9, 1/5, 1/5. Absolutely the most pitiful shooting I've ever seen.
This team is lost in the half court. Essentially, Jrue is their only hope on most possessions, but now other teams realize that. He can't run the pick-and-roll game, because none of the bigs is even half a threat to roll to the basket. When someone sets a pick for Jrue, it's just an easy way to double team him. He can either give the ball up to a big man for a 20 footer (which he'll miss), or keep his dribble alive by (a) splitting the double or (b) bouncing the ball back out further on the perimeter. Last night, he did a much better job of splitting the double, but there was always another big waiting for him in the lane, his kickouts led to missed jumpers, or he pulled up for a questionable shot before he got into the lane (I'm pretty sure Jrue was short on every single non-layup attempt last night, save one jumper he hit off the dribble).
That's their offense. Jrue dribbles out top, sometimes someone sets a pick, which hurts more than it helps. Maybe a wing runs off a screen or two. Maybe a big flashes to the elbow and they run a little hi-low action off that. That's it. The crazy thing isn't that the Pistons made them look silly last night on the offensive end, the crazy thing is that this offense with these pieces actually works once in a while.
Player of The Game: Lavoy? Jrue? I'll go with Jrue for getting to the line 9 times, handing out 7 dimes and only coughing it up once. His defense was also superb in the first half.
Team Record: 4-4
Up Next: vs. Utah, Friday night