We've got nothing but time on our hands, but that doesn't mean we can't keep ourselves busy. The season is over and done with, but there's plenty left to digest. Over the next month or so, we'll look at the season that was from a number of different angles, today is about housekeeping and awards.
First things first: All game capsules have now been completed, check out the full schedule right here
. The full rotation chart is complete (with all 87 games), download it here
and do what you will with it. And finally, the advanced stats worksheet has been updated, download it here.
Finally, the awards:
Most Improved Player:
Hands down, this is Jrue. He was all promise in his rookie season, this year he was a player. There were ups and downs, but as a 20-year-old he did much more good than harm, won a handful of games for the Sixers and dominated at times. The sky is the limit for Jrue. He's also the runaway winner of the "reason for hope" award. Jodie was runner-up.
Closer than you might think, but I'm going with Thad. Brand has a legit claim, but I think Thad's return from the abyss was more dramatic. Somehow, it's like Thad's second and third years never happened. He looked like a more polished version of the guy we all fell in love with as a rookie. I'm not sure exactly how he projects for the future, it may be that this role is his ideal fit and they'll never get more than this out of him. If that's the case, and they can sign him to a reasonable contract, that's probably enough. He changes games off the bench with his speed and athleticism, that's a valuable commodity. Brand was runner-up.
I'm going with Lou. He made me shake my head about 10,000 times, but you really can't look at his season objectively and say he did anything less than exactly what was asked of him. It's rare for a gunner to take exceptional care of the ball, but that's exactly what Lou did. He scored in bunches off the bench, he carried the offense through dry spells, he got to the line, and he took care of the ball. Thad was runner-up.
Brand. Iguodala was unbelievable defensively this year, and he put up excellent overall numbers, but he missed too many games. Brand played 81, some of them hurt, and he never really wore down. Coming into the year, the Sixers really had zero bigs they could count on for any kind of production, Brand righted the ship and really carried the team for long stretches. Basically, no matter who he was paired with in the front court, he had to cover for them in one area or another. He provided the team with a viable threat in the half court and consistent scoring whenever they needed it. Brand wasn't without his flaws (18% defensive rebounding rate, to name one), but he was definitely the most valuable. Iguodala was runner-up.
Turner. Despite the glimpse we got of the player we hope he'll be in the playoffs, he still showed very, very little this year. He was supposed to be the most NBA-ready guy in the draft, he was supposed to be the shooting guard of the future, he was supposed to make an impact from day one. Now, we have to hope he'll make an impact from season two and we're left with reminders that it took him a long time to adjust at every level. Whether you're buying it or not is up to you, the one thing that's clear is that he's got a lot of work to do. Speights is your runner up, though I wasn't expecting a whole lot from him anyway.
Biggest waste of money:
Easily the most competitive category. Hawes was on his rookie contract, so he's out, which leaves Kapono, Songaila and Nocioni. Songaila basically did absolutely nothing for his money. Nocioni played well in a couple of games. Kapono takes this one down for actually costing the Sixers a decent amount in his 111 minutes of game action. The former three-point king shot a dramatic 1/8 from distance on the season and missed a wide-open corner three that probably made the difference between losing to Miami in the first round and having a decent shot at beating Boston (OK, that's not completely fair, but Kapono was garbage).
Your award winners in the comments, and check out the spreadsheets available for download above.