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A Dangerous Premise

"It's questionable whether the original ever helped his team win (I believe he did, but there are credible arguments that say he was always bad for team success)."

I'm as down on Iverson as anybody, but there's no doubt that he helped the team win in the 00-01 season and in seasons prior. Recall that he was literally our only offensive threat. How terrible would the team have been without him? Our second leading scorer was Ratliff; after he left it was Mutombo, followed by Aaron McKie and Eric Snow. Yeah, he was only shooting 42%, but obviously without him, all those other players' shooting percentages would drop drastically as they'd be forced to carry the offensive load. Now, yeah, it's true that attempting to win a title with one really inefficient volume scorer and a bunch of garbagemen/defenders isn't the way to go, and that once Iverson was given some talent to play with, he generally made them worse, but, given what the rest of the roster was, he certainly made us better.

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john reply to Tray on Mar 23 at 13:30
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There's doubt as to HOW MUCH he helped his team win.

David Berri was the first to elucidate the issue in Wages of Wins - one of his more 'controversial' chapters I think for many - the volume shooter who needs the ball in his hand doesn't help his team win as much as you think.


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john reply to john on Mar 23 at 13:32
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Click Here and start around page 70 I think. I don't have my copy of the book with me at work...


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Tray reply to john on Mar 23 at 16:59
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I just think this. The 00-01 team scored over 94 a game and gave up 90. I think it's pretty obvious, given who was on that roster, that they would've been one of the two or three worst offensive teams in the league without Iverson, perhaps scoring just 89-90 a game. Making them merely a .500 team.

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john reply to Tray on Mar 23 at 17:30
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And where did that 90 PPG rank defensively? Was it near the top as one of the best defensive teams in the league?

Iverson hurts team defense cause he over plays for the personal (steals) stats

They were 5th in the league in defense and Iverson's defensive rating was 99, which is excellent.

If you're trying to make the point that their improvement on defense would've negated an offensive drop without Iverson, I don't think your argument holds water.

Steals can be an indicator that a player gambles too much, but getting a ton of steals (and he averaged 2.5 per game, which is a ton) isn't a bad thing in and of itself. I mean, does Chris Paul kill his team's defense because he gets so many steals?

That roster was built to function around Iverson both offensively and defensively. They had defensive stoppers at every position and supreme shot blockers at the hoop which allowed Iverson to grab all those steals without giving up something else. Just like the offense was geared to stand around, watch him take all the shots, and have everyone else fill specific roles.

I firmly believe there is not another player in the league who could've taken that team to the finals. And not another coach in the league who could've taken that team even to the playoffs.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 19:06
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Well, I've heard people say that Paul does hurt his team defensively.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 19:09
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Oh, and I firmly believe that Kobe could've taken that team to the Finals and done better with it. Suppose it were Kobe and the Sixers Role Players facing Iverson and Shaq.... that would've been a more competitive series. Even T-Mac, not back then, but a few years later, might've been able to take them to the Finals.

I don't think anyone else in the league could've scored like that while being double and triple teamed on every single possession, not even close. And I don't think the Sixers had anyone on their team to really make teams pay if their star was constantly passing out of the doubles. Neither Kobe nor McGrady at any point could've done what AI did.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 20:23
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So you're saying that Iverson has some kind of triple-team eluding ability that, in spite of the fact that he's indisputably not nearly as efficient or as good as some of the other great swingmen in the league, made him better suited to play on a team where he was the sole focus of defensive attention than anyone else in the league? I mean, you look at Kobe's non-Shaq, pre-Gasol years, he was pretty damn productive when he didn't have much help himself. As was T-Mac in several seasons.

Yes, I'm saying exactly that about Iverson. Kobe always, ALWAYS, had more offensive talent around him than Iverson did that year.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 24 at 1:34
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Well we'll never know because Kobe will never have Billy King and Larry Brown for GM's... but I suspect Kobe would have scored 35 a game on a team as bereft of offensive talent as those Sixers teams were.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 19:19
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Not the point I'm trying to make.

My point is that without the defense being that good - the sixers wouldn't have made the NBA finals probably and Iversons season would have just been a lot of points and no rings..or even finals appearance - like most of his great seasons.

The thing that was different that season was that he was given the ideal supporting cast to minimize his weakness and not suffer from his selfishness.


Yeah, that was my point as well. Perfect situation for him, and he was the perfect man for that situation. I'm drawn to things that work despite themselves. And the rat is a great coach, no matter what type of person he is, he's a great coach.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 19:47
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He was a great coach...that's my opinion - a great coach doesn't have the sense of self importance to the detriment of the team that this megalomaniac has

I agree with you Tray. Had a feeling that comment would lead the discussion, rather than everything I wrote after it. Nothing gets people going like a good old iverson debate.

I actually didn't read that article cause I found the headline preposterous on my google reader - unless he has the answer about how to do a dorky dance or be on the radio (and dude - your hair looks ridiculous - cut it)

The quoted paragraph just verifies the impression i got on the google reader.

Willie Green and Lou Williams each have a touch of Allen Iverson in them - but contrary to popular belief - Iverson was better at creating for team mates than both of them COMBINED - and Allen Iverson was a freak of nature athletically (and body shape)

Not to mention that his 'helping a team win' status isn't exactly high as people want to think.

The team that went to the finals was a fluke in a weak east that would get DEMOLISHED in today's league with the new rules

Eh, I don't buy comparing teams from different eras and saying one could never compete in today's game, under today's rules. they played under the rules they had at the time.

As for the east being weak, they split their series w/ every single one of the 50-win teams out west that season, and they were only 2 games off their pythag. I don't think you give them enough credit.

By the way, this is what I miss most about the 2000-2001 season:

Arena: First Union Center ▪ Attendance: 805,692 (5th of 29)

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 13:57
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I don't deny Iverson drew the crowds at his peak (and neither does Berri) but his 'contribution' could be over valued and I do think you have to take into account that the rules changed, and those rules hurt Iversons game, plus the rat jumped ship - iverson should have been traded the moment the rat ran away

My statement about attendance didn't really have anything to do with Iverson. I was just saying I miss the days when the FU Center was packed to the gills. I also think it means that putting a legit contender on the floor will bring the fans back.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 14:00
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I just miss when it was called the F.U center - it seemed more appropriate for the city image :)

negadelphian :)

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 14:06
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Oh come on - i know you were there and booed Santa (yes i know what year it was ;) )

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deepsixersuede on Mar 23 at 13:52
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Brian, how they finish building this team would be better determined if L.Will. has a defined position.I feel if he isn!t the backup p.g. with a taller spot up shooter that can defend next to him than I want him gone because do we really want to have to get a bigger backup p.g. to play along side him or a bigger combo guard that can play with him because he doesn!t seem to be worth the trouble, to be honest with you.John, the kid Woodside did well against Kansas. Did you see him play and is he a possible N.B.A. STARTER?

He's 5'11", right?

Sadly Woodside isn't an NBA starter (and oh yeah - he's listed at 5'11 on the ND State web site, so you gotta think that's generous)

personally I think he makes a great back up PG regardless of height because he has some pretty good shooting range. He can get to the basket pretty athletically - like a lesser steve nash - but right now his height just makes him non starter material.

He's a guy who probably won't get drafted and the sixers should SERIOUSLY bring in for a look at summer league though - i feel he's a better back up PG than anyone on the team right now

As an aside, I think eFG% does NOT take FT's into account. It just is weighted for 3's. PPS is a better measure of scoring effeciency, and that includes FT's. But since 2 FT's at the line does not count as a FG attempt, PPS is a little biased too.

Lou scores about 1.2 pps, Green closer to 1.0.

You're correct. 1.18 PPS for Williams, good for 7th on the team, slightly ahead of Sammy.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 14:39
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That's just sad

Your big men should be one of the higher PPS players on the team

If it's in front of you - where's speights?

1.25, 6th on the team. Evans is first, believe it or not.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 14:50
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Wow - but he averages less than two shots per game :)

I'm not fond of seeing Thaddeus Young so low - only major rotation guy lower than him is Willie - that's not good.

he's picked it up greatly recently, 1.29 over the past dozen games.

BTW, I just use points/FGA for PPS. Thought it was a literal interpretation, right?

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Chris reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 15:21
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Thad is getting to the line more lately which is pretty promising. I'd like to see him like Kevin Martin when going to the line (as in going all the time).

Since you guys were yakking about David Berri and Willie Green, you know he did an article on Willie a few years ago and it wound up WG was the least efficient starter in the league. I think there were 2 or 3 players worse (getting some minimum minutes a game) but weren't starters. That is pathetic. They should have replaced him with a draft choice or someone from a trade. When you are identified as having the worst of something you *need* an upgrade.

Yeah, I looked it up earlier this year and he and DeShawn Stevenson were neck and neck for worst SG in the league. I think DeShawn had the edge in most categories, but Willie was just terrible.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 15:35
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Willie is consistently terrible - I think it's hollinger who likes to pooint out how bloody inefficient willie green is year after year after year

which is my primary problem with willie (and any player really) - it's an OBVIOUS problem that doesn't get better

He's 8th on the team in TS%, behind Reggie Evans this time. Willie's worse, though.

I like PPS as in...

Points-per-shot = [PTS-FTM]/FGA

I don't know if it has an alternative name beyond PPS, but I like it.

It incorporates 3s, it rewards you for getting to the line.(assuming you can make them) It does both.

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Joe reply to Joe on Mar 23 at 14:49
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And according to this, Lou, Reggie, and Ivey are really dragging this team down. Willie isn't helping much either.(but he is 1% higher than Rush)

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john reply to Joe on Mar 23 at 14:55
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That's not PPS that's average FG% and I don't really like it as it ignores FT's which should be a factor I think...especially on 3 point plays (the old school) since you get the made FGA as well

Is that points minus free throws missed?

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Real and Speightacular on Mar 23 at 14:54
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"You cannot have a guy running the point for 23 minutes/game who owns a 1.59 assist/turnover ratio."

It really should end right there. Nuff said, say goodnight.

Thing with combo guards is that they shouldn't be horrendous at either position. It's okay if you're not scoring 25ppg -- but, geez alou, you can't be scorin, like, 8. And it's alright if you can't drop 9 dimes/game with a 3:1 asst/t.o. ratio, but, mother of gosh, you can't be droppin 5 at 1:1.

Williams should aim to be more like Rod Stuckey, who's probably never going to be a scoring champ or league assist leader, but he's going to hum along nicely at better than 20 and 6 when he reaches his prime. 'Course it sure helps Stuckey being 6'5" rather than Lou's 6'2".

Lou likes to score. He passes cuz he figures he's supposed to every now and then, not because he truly enjoys getting the ball into the right spot at just the right time (that said, he does seem to have a pretty good connection with Speights. Not that that's not reproducible with someone else). He's the Anti-Magic.

Anyway, Bri, you're so right about his development. It has to be now or else he's never going to get it. Habits set in the early years.

If you want to watch Lou with the intention of keeping your hair, you just have to accept he's going to erratic from game to game, quarter to quarter.


I'm still not sold on Stuckey, I don't know if he can run the point for Detroit, and if he can't, who will?

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Real and Speightacular reply to Brian on Mar 23 at 15:15
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I hear you, jury's still out, it's only year 1.5 for him. He's got to develop a more consistent/reliable jump shot. If he does that, he'll be pretty scary, but otherwise he'll always be in that second tier of point guards. He'll be less aggravating than Lou tho, that's for certain.

Also, re the "he gets to the line" argument, that's only useful if he's being guarded by one of the opposing team's best players (one who isn't a ball hawk who will drive up Lou's already too-high turnover rate). Otherwise, with his shooting/hogging, he's just wasting possessions.


That depends on how the possession turns out

And fouls always help - get the other team in the penalty - get bench guys in foul trouble matters too - guys can't get rest.


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Real and Speightacular reply to john on Mar 23 at 16:48
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"That depends on how the possession turns out"

Well of course. If he makes any and every shot he takes, there's not much reason to pass, right? The point is that a guard with Lou's shooting skills (non-stellar) and poor court vision/IQ needs to be swapped for a guy with prowess in at least one of those areas, if not both.

And, okay, it's not to say that getting to the line has zero utility, but you orta be ansty if that's his primary benefit (combined with the fact that he kills ball movement, etc). Ball hogging volume shooters with no other real compensatory skill sets ought to be given wide berth. Sez here ;-)

Going to the free throw line can be seen as a productive outcome as well - whether the shot is made or missed

Every foul lou draws puts the TEAM one step closer to shooting the penalty

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Real and Speightacular reply to john on Mar 23 at 17:58
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John, you're missing my point. I've already conceded there is more than zero benefit to going to the line. Honestly, I get that. I went on to say a little more tho.

I'm sure you did - however your original statement mitigated fouls drawn by Lou Williams based on who he draws the foul against - and that if it wasn't a star - he's just hogging the ball - and that's it - that's all you said - you said more later when questioned on it - but I still don't buy your original premise

Drawing a foul is a positive outcome more often than not as far as i'm concerned

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Real and Speightacular reply to john on Mar 23 at 18:53
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"I'm sure you did - however your original statement... (blahblah)"

John, this is a thread and these things tend to evolve (or, as mayhaps this case, devolve). I've moved on from my first point and directly addressed your counterpoint (that drawing a foul is useful no matter who it's drawn against).

You seem to be stuck in first gear?


Your argument is based on a primary misunderstanding of what I wrote - purposeful or not - i differentiated between lou and willie and one thing lou can do that willie can't is draw fouls and get to the line - which makes him a more efficient scorer.

The argument for better defense is esoteric at best - as both suck as far as i'm concerned - height issues or not.

Now i want a torta

I orta get one

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Real and Speightacular reply to john on Mar 23 at 21:04
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"Your argument is based on a primary misunderstanding of what I wrote - purposeful or not - i differentiated between lou and willie ... The argument for better defense is esoteric at best - as both suck as far as i'm concerned - height issues or not."

Aha, as I suspected John, I think you're confusing me with someone else. Remember this thread began with your response to my post, not the other way around. I didn't make any argument about Lou's defense specifically. And this is the first time in this thread you've mentioned Willie.

We're talking past each other now and things are getting muddled, but I have confidence anyone following this line understands us better than we do each other here ;-)

If nothing else, we've certainly disabused any notion that we're the same person under different names. :-)


Both WG and Lou have limitted games, but things they can do well. The biggest issue is getting them to stick to what helps the team, and avoid being a chucker.

WG, to his credit, has played more within himself this year. More of his shots have been catch and shoot as opposed top off the dribble, and he has handled the ball less. he also drives less, but they have better options for that.

WG also is a reasonable defender against PG's and smaller SG's. This allows Miller to get the easier assignment.

What hurts is that somehow the offense get stuck with WG with the ball and Sam posting up. Its sort of pick your poison- in a bad way. The best is when he just passes out of those situations...

As for Lou, he is younger, and more up and down. He can have more of a positive impact than WG when he is on, but he also can hurt more since he handles the ball and tries to play PG.

Lou has a decent 2 pt jumper (nearly 40% is not great, but better than Iguodala and Thad), but he needs to cut down on 3's until he proves he can hit them at 33%. Its not like his 3pt shot is opening up drives for him.

Lou is a potentially valuable player because he puts pressure on a defense. If he is not chucking too much, this can help open things up for teammates. The 22 year old thing means that he might learn how to apply his talent better, and likely will improve as a shooter.

Also, I think Lou is more effective playing alongside smart offensive players (like Miller and Iguodala) and good shooters (Speights and Marshall.) he can make the simple pass for a good assist, but he can't run an offense. They are doing him no favors teaming him with Evans and Ivey. Thats like tying a hand behind his back. That's 2 players who he can't pass the ball to and expet them to convert when open.

Agreed on that point definitely. This goes pretty much for the entire team, if there is no Andre on the floor, this team is going to have trouble scoring.

been gone all day. I think I indirectly started this Lou thing. I think Lou thinks way to high of himself (as does Sammy and Reggie). I also think we are way too critical of Lou based upon who he plays with most of the time. Reggie wants the ball but turns it over regularly. Ivey does not belong on the floor. I still think Lou can be a good player (not sure what number) when he grows up. I do think his defense is good at causing turnovers and can generate O if the other guys are decent. Is there a way of doing his stats w/out Reggie on the floor?

I can't do his stats alone, but i could probably do team stats w/ any lineup that has lou in it w/out reggie. i'll put it on my growing list.

speaking of Lou, check out the Fantasy ratings, Lou is #1 in guards for the past week!

on yahoo sport's page.

The league as a whole is young, and there are plenty of young guns able to understand their own shooting limitations. This is the biggest reason I'm fairly down on the Lou Williams experiment.

I admittedly did not read all of these comments, so I apologize if this has already been said.

But, as I've said before, many of you put WAY WAY WAY too much importance into these bogus advanced stats.

ANYONE, and I mean ANYONE, who watched Allen Iverson during his tenure on the Sixers (save maybe that horrific season in 03-04 where he was hurt for about half of it) could not possibly say that he wasn't the primary reason they even won 20-25 games, nonetheless consistently over 40 without being in danger of committment to a mental institution.

Of course Lou is no AI. But he is much more of an offensive spark than the stats indicate. He is a major pain in the ass for other teams to guard. He brings great hustle and energy. He is capable of taking over a game for stretches.

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Bryon reply to Mike W. on Mar 23 at 23:23
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Couldn't have said it better myself, Mike W., as these advanced stats are just as hollow as the formulas used to come up with them.

Interesting that one guy or computer can come up with an off the wall formula and give it a name and it then be considered a useful statistic. While it may help individuals 'evaluate' a player in this day and age of fantasy, they have absolutely no bearing on the games themselves and this is proven each and every night on the court.


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