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Opportunities Earned

This didn't deserve its own post, but I wanted to say something about Sam's comments in yesterday's paper.

The Heat commentators were up in arms over them, but they really aren't news. Sam talked about how things were early in the season and basically all he said was that he didn't understand why people were blaming him, or calling him inconsistent because his minutes were inconsistent. Meaning, one game he'd only have 5 boards because he only played 15 minutes.

None of the quotes were directed at DiLeo, in fact he said things have gotten better since he took over. This is a non-story, basically dragging up stuff from earlier in the season.

You heard Brian, Tony. That's what you do for the remainder of the season.

Even though I'm harsh on Speight's effect on defense, I think he can only be about as bad as Willie. Offensively it would be a real boost to the rest of the team because we all see that when Speights is focused and up for it, he's really tough to stop. He is our most efficient scoring option.

With Sammy & Speights together we have enough length which is better than having Young or Evans at the 4 because we always lose out in size.

Ratliff and Marshall have played well for us when called upon, they deserve more minutes. Now I understand that they are veterans meant to play spot minutes, but their good play has a good impact on the team and will foster a winning mentality/mood. Besides, the kids can only learn from watching them play and playing with them.

Good post. I was hoping Speights would have gotten a chance to chart after the original brand injury- but you are probably right that he needed to earn it.

If the future is supposed to be Iguodala/Thad at 2/3, they should be working on that now, before Brand returns next year.

My only small issues are:

1. Thad may just not be ready to play SF for heavy minutes. His defense, shot and handle are all works in progress. I want him to get minutes at F, but is he ready for 25+ min at that position?

2. Green can guard PG's. This bails out Miller when they are starting against the quicker PG's in the league. Miller shifts over and defends the SG. He will get less defensive help if Iguodala starts at SG, since Iguodala will be covering the better wing.

3. Speights and Thad will shoot A LOT in this lineup. They are the only offensive minded players. Do we want them shooting 20 shots a game each? (Eventually yes, but now?)

I don't think Thad's the type of player to take 20 shots/game, Speights may be. Truth be told, I don't have a problem with either of them getting a greater share of the shots, especially if you're taking attempts away from Willie and Lou to give it to them.


Willie: .453
Lou: .424
Thad: .510
Speights: .537

I don't think shots for either of them would come out of Iguodala or Miller's shares.

As for the defense, even if Willie is used to cover opposing points, do you think he's particularly effective at it? Like, having him on the floor at the two means he locks down the opposing point? I've never found him to be a particularly effective defender, regardless of position, actually, I think it's quite the opposite. Small, quick guards would give this lineup problems, just like they give the current starting lineup problems. The defense, as a whole, would be better, in my opinion. Iguodala is a far superior defender to Willie. Speights is not as good of a defender as Thad, but he also wouldn't have the size mismatch Thad has on a nightly basis at the position.

Thad is a downgrade at SF from Iguodala. Even if there's a marginal downgrade overall, which I do not think exists, it would be erased by the drastic improvement in defensive rebounding.

Real and Speightacular on Feb 22 at 14:52

Really well-written article. This is the best Sixers blog going, hands down. That said, I can't go in with you all the way re the "handling" of Speights bit tho. Most rookies are infamously inconsistent. From Chalmers to Rose, they need reps to work through the bad/off nights which inevitably come and often enough in small bunches. Marreese is no different. I'd say there's probably at least the same correlation between his bench time and his getting into foul trouble as much as for a low rebound night.

The Sixers obviously weren't committed to giving Speights consistent playing time this season and so yank him when he's having an off game, instead of letting him play through it like Love or Chalmers or [insert any number of other rookies with lower PERs getting more playing time].

There may be something re DiLeo and his attitude towards Speights though, some coaches (see Nelson) like to play the pet doghouse mind game. From my armchair, it sure looks like Speights is doing/saying the right things, being above it all and exhibiting uncommon patience and maturity. FWIW, DiLeo's at least giving Speights the floor time at the end of games and that's something.

Love your lineup suggestion for all the reasons you mention. It plays to their strengths while limiting weaknesses. We can only hope they get around to figuring this out. Honestly, it kinda seems like they don't want to believe what their eyes are telling them about Speights. They bought and paid for (and are stuck with) Brand and they weren't ready to see this from Speights right now. It's like they're waiting for some dramatic fail so they can breathe freer. It hasn't happened so far.

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