As much time as I've spent worrying about the Sixers starting lineup this season, I really haven't given much thought to the overall rotation. Now is as good a time as any to kick off the discussion. The best place to start is the sixth man.
The way I see it, there are three viable candidates for sixth man: Jason Kapono, Marreese Speights and Jrue Holiday. Forget Willie Green (please), Jason Smith...eh. I think it comes down to those three guys, assuming the starting five is Lou Williams, Andre Iguodala, Elton Brand and Sam Dalembert, as it should be.
Here's a quick look at what each guy as sixth man would or could do for/to the team:
- He'd probably come in for Sam and the Sixers would transition to a small lineup up front with Brand at the 5 and Thad at the 4, but they'd remain big at the guard positions with either Iguodala or Kapono playing the two. This would be an offensive lineup, with five guys on the floor who can fill it up, and Kapono out there to really stretch the floor and open up driving lanes. This should be a night-and-day difference from the starting lineup, which features great size, rebounding and overall defense (outside of Lou). This lineup will struggle to defend and rebound, but could really push a lead if playing against the other team's second unit. Another option is to go really big by bringing Kapono in for Lou and playing Iguodala and JK at the guard positions. Huge size mismatches here, added shooting from Kapono, but Iguodala isn't the shadow point anymore, he's the only real ballhandler on the floor. The upside is that there are plenty of defenders out there to make up for Kapono's matador impressions on the perimeter. I think I actually prefer this to Kapono for Sam, if he winds up being the sixth man.
- A straight Speights for Sam swap is most likely, and should immediately change the dynamic on both sides of the floor. Brand immediately takes the tougher post matchup, rebounding takes a hit, but the falloff isn't nearly as dramatic as going small would be. On offense, you now have five legit threats on the floor, and a five who can step away from the hoop on pick and pops to do damage. If you start sluggish on the offensive end, but the game is close, I like this move. We won't know if Speights has progressed on the defensive end until the season gets rolling, but sharing the front court with Brand (a great weakside shot blocker) should help hide some of his warts. The added offense should open things up for the other guys in the PO as well.
- A straight Jrue for Lou sub would simply put the Sixers' best possible defensive unit out there and would be a great way to disrupt the other team's offensive flow. You have excellent size at every position, if Jrue's ball pressure translates, which it should, this unit could go on big runs by forcing turnovers and getting out into the open floor. The biggest question is what happens on offense. Will Jrue grasp the PO enough to run the show, or will he have to defer to Iguodala too much? If the answer is the latter, then we're back in the same situation Jrue struggled through in college, playing off the ball. In order to be successful early on, he's really going to have to hope all those jumpers he's taking this summer pay dividends. If he's up to the task of running the point like an NBA point, the offense will be fine. He's going to have to make smart decisions and force more mistakes from the other team than he makes on his own.
Those are the three options as I see them, give me your thoughts in the comments and let me know who your sixth man would be.
By the by, I think Jordan will go with Speights for Sam as his first sub, just my gut feeling.
Also, here's an interview with Lou
you may find interesting. I don't know about you guys but I can't get enough of this practice footage. Wish it was October already.