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This is gonna be a tough game. Charlotte are making a run for the playoffs just like we were last season and they're very dangerous, especially with LB as head coach. Sixers have to play very well to win.

Yes, the team must take each game as it comes and try to win every one. As professionals they must fight the tendency for their minds to wander. If we play hard and play to our strengths we will win more games than we lose.

I still fancy us staying at #5 since Wade is playing hurt. Atlanta are too far to catch. I hope the Sixers prove me wrong.

Your question about EB is a good one. I personally think they would be much better and coasting in the 4th seed. I think most if not all 1-3 point losses would be wins w/ EB on the team and healthy.

When we get on a roll, we get excited. It would be really fun if they stay on the roll for the rest of the year (but let's not trash them if they don't). And I think they have a better than 50% chance since they beat the Lakers and Portland at home and many of our games are tough.

One thing is for sure, they would not be getting killed like this on the defensive glass if Brand was around. Not even close.

I think they'd have a worse record due to the fact that right before he got injured they still didn't have him integrated into the offense yet. Sure, they might have figured it out but they had a ways to go when he went down. I'm not putting it on Brand but without the shooter they couldn't get things to where they want to be.

Since you brought up Brand, I have question for you to ruminate on. Ed based the Sixers (tried to) on the Detroit model of 5 really good players without a star. But not all Detroit needs many shots, Sheed, Prince and McDyess don't shoot as much as Andre Miller. Next season (barring a trade), you have Brand (who is used to being the man), Iggy (who wants to be the man), Thad (probably should be the man) and Miller (who hoists a lot of shots for a non-scoring type point). All those guys need the ball, how are they going to integrate everyone with Thad now emerging too? Do you think someone will be traded or maybe Miller move on? I was actually wanting the Sixers to sign Calderon (Restricted FA) last summer as he is one of the better shooters in the game and doesn't shoot much.

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Tray reply to Chris on Mar 27 at 2:48
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Out of those four, I think Brand is the one you want to lose, from a win now perspective at least. It's pretty hard, I imagine, to find cases of big men who missed a whole season due to injury and returned to form, much less cases of big men who missed two consecutive seasons due to injuries and subsequently returned to form.

This has been gnawing at me, and I have a few thoughts on the matter. Ultimately, we aren't going to know what we have in Brand until October or November of next year, and honestly, it's going to take him a lot of time to knock off the rust, even if he's fully healthy for the beginning of the season. We can't expect a 20/10 guy right out of the gates, maybe that was the problem this season.

Long term, you may be right, maybe it wouldn't be in the team's best interests for him to be taking 15-20 shots per game. There's a big gap between defining, or redefining his role and moving him (if that's even an option), though.

No one is going to want to hear it, but this team may be best served to have an $82M defensive/rebounding specialist who's your third option on offense.

This isn't a perfect analogy, and it's something I'm planning on writing a long post about this summer, but there is a correlation that I'd like to at least plant in your mind now. When Wilt Chamberlain was 32 he went to the Lakers. They already had Jerry West and Elgin Baylor and they added a dominant big man in Chamberlain. Check that, they added THE dominant big man in Chamberlain. Instead of changing everything around, they told Wilt that he was there to clean the glass and defend the paint. He went from being the most prolific scorer in the game, the most prolific scorer in the history of the game, to the third option on those Lakers teams.

With Wilt, the Lakers went to the finals 4 times in 5 years and won a title.

Brand is not that extreme of a case, but if you can imagine this team with Brand inserted in the starting lineup instead of Willie, Thad and Iggy shifted to the 3 and the 2. Well, you're talking about a night and day difference on defense, a night and day difference on the glass, and another shot blocker on the back line. They're already top ten in the league in defensive efficiency rating. That could be top five with Brand.

Take Willie's 8.2 shots per game, give them to Brand, maybe take a shot or two from Miller and I bet Brand winds up averaging a double-double on 11 or 12 shots/game.

Just a thought that's been percolating, I'll flesh it out more when the season's over.

More grist for the mill. Here is a CSN article from tonight saying the team, including Iggy and Miller might be coming to the conclusion that Thad should be the primary scoring option.

http://csnphilly.com/pages/landing_homepage/?Raanan-Young-Quickly-Becoming-the-Go-To-=1&blockID=46613&feedID=717

Good article. Usually when he read about a Sixer talking about taking more shots it's Lou doing the talking :)

I really like the fact that the two Andres are telling Thad to take more shots, be aggressive and looking to set him up. You expect it from Miller, but coming from Iguodala, who is "expected" to be the star, well, that shows you what kind of player he really is. More concerned with winning than personal stats.

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Real and Speightacular on Mar 27 at 9:14
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Detroit can handle missing Sheed for a while, but no way can they absorb the loss of Hamilton. They're listing pretty badly right now, but they know this isn't any kind of chip run year so mebbe the superstars are coasting a bit thru the finish.

It'll prolly be a dogfight with Miami the rest of the way thru, assuming Wade heals up enough in the next while. He's got too much pride to let things fall off the rails too far. If he's healthy, it's on.

Let's mind our blood vessels and chill out til we see where things are in a week or so.

Re Brian's question re Brand: who knows. but i dare say if the coaching staff got over their evans mancrush and let brand take all of those minutes, then i bet they'd probably would've won a few more? but they'd never let brand play backup, so if he was the starting PF with thad @ 3? depends on how much they would've let thad develop (read: assume lead scoring role).

I think you're right on re the ideal way to use Brand going forward. He might think he's too young to take such a step back in the offensive focus tho. But if doesn't back off re expected touches, this could be a serious problem next season. Chemistry bogey at twelve o'clock.

The second half runs are a bit of a fluke in that it's been about the discovery and blossoming of ThadMonster.

I agree with Brian, that this year is in a lot of ways like last year. Maybe not as extreme, but both years a poor start and then a Spring run triggered by an increased role for Thad.

Last year they got to .500 ans the 6 seed and then lost their mojo and sort of limped into the playoffs the last 10 games (4-6.) I hope they finish stronger this time, because the difference between 5 and 6th seed is huge.

Some of it comes down to psychology. Its a lot easier to chase a team for that 5th seed than be chased.

The team is in some ways a reflection of Iguodala. Its best on the run, is athletic and young and offensively unselfish but inconsistent. It gets to caught up with the refs calls. Its well conditioned and does not break down as the year gets on. Like Iguodala it starts slow but then gets better in the Spring (and struggles in the playoffs?)

I'm not ready to say anything definitive good or bad about Elton Brand yet - and anyone who thinks you can make a conclusion one way or another is jumping to irrational conclusions (in my opinion)

Brand probably wasn't fully recovered and back into game shape before he suffered his injuries...then there's the new team, new city, new father, new system thing, then the coach got fired and he didn't really get to play much under the new coach.

So there will be a new coach - there will be players with new roles compared to training camp in 2008 - so much like lou williams 'first year' was last season since he pretty much didn't player the season before that, next year will be Elton Brands first season with the sixers.

I don't buy the 'he slows them down' nonsense - the suns have figured out how to run with Shaq, and Elton Brand isn't as slow as Shaq.

Guy has more offensive skill than any big man on the roster not named speights - and in all the 'love' of the run - people tend to forget that this team sucks bloody ass in the half court offense. Guys like Brand and Speights make em much much better.

I'm sorry - but I think having a big man with offensive skills who is also a passer is vital to the long term championship possibilities of this team...if guys can also improve their outside shooting - the whole double team thing to get the guy open is that much better - and Brand and Speights are the only big men on the sixers roster with strong half court offensive games to speak of.

Thaddeus Young isn't a power forward, and I'm fine with Iguodala in his 'early career' position of shooting guard - the sixers need a real power forward on this roster to play the position and provide a scoring threat there. A center with a scoring threat would work as well but who knows what position the sixers see speights playing right now.

I don't know if Brand will be good or bad but I feel they NEED to integrate him well on both ends of the court if they are a team that wants to go beyond the 'first round surprise' type of team

elton brand is not a passer,he will have like three guys on him and still take the shot

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John reply to crissy on Mar 27 at 10:17
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Just curios - how many clipper games you been watching the last few seasons?

As a sixer, not a bull or clipper

I tend to think we can't really judge Brand on his performance w/ the Sixers. He wasn't healthy, they didn't have enough time to get used to him and vice versa, and the coaching was sub-par.

For his career, he's been a pretty good passer, and efficient scorer, so I doubt that's just going to disappear.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 27 at 11:51
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And that was kind of my point in my original post and asking the question - people making judgements and conclusions about brand based on limited play with the sixers while he's still injured and making all the adjustments are making poor conclusions in my opinion. Now if it was a conclusion based on watching 5 years of clippers games - that would have been different :)


Interesting interview from sixers twitter page:

http://www.nba.com/sixers/video/2009/03/26/six.090326.practice.sixers/index.html

Theo, Coach and Thad from yesterday

Thad just really seems to get it.

It will be interesting to see how things play out as he polishes his skills and defenses start keying on him. Should be a good punch/counterpunch where Thad ends up hopefully a more complete player. As defenses key on him there should be a chance for him to get easy assists or at least open things up more for teammates.

I'm hopeful the light has come on for Thad in the Same way Iguodala exploded the year AI was traded.

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Mike reply to DeanH on Mar 27 at 15:09
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i love watching interviews with thad. he not only "gets it," but he's just got a great way about him.

Sammy is sick w/ the flu. I think it would be a good test if he is out on how we handle the inside if he is out. I would like to see M16 start and see how he handles it but I doubt that will happen....

Probably Theo gets the start. I just had an email conversation about this with Rob, a reader, both of us really don't want to see Reggie at the five.

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john reply to Brian on Mar 27 at 14:09
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Which fits nicely into the subset of the desire not to see reggie at all


Precisely.

This is not the type of game that Reggie usually has a positive effect on.

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Real and Speightacular reply to john on Mar 27 at 15:20
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"Which fits nicely into the subset of the desire not to see reggie at all"

*slaps table* LOL!


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