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Who's Got Your Back?

deepsixersuede on May 18 at 7:46

Brian, I still think winning will make his teammates tolerate Sam and may enable Sam to play to his potential,not an ideal thought process for a player but Sam is Sam.As far as getting a replacement, the Camby situation this past year should give us hope.Camby is a smarter defensive anchor than Sam will ever be, Theo is also. There were times this year when defensively this team was better with the old man in the middle than Sam because his insticts are just better.Nene is a physical, knock you down guy,not as athletic as Camby yet he, along with a better defensive p.g. along with some defensive role players have gotten Denver to want to defend this year.With Elton coming back and one defensive role player [Ivey] in place, the key will be adding guys that can defend to this group.Udoka, is a good example,a guy that can shoot and defend.Jason and Marreese both showed flashes of being a good weakside shotblocker and may,if the right coach comes in,become adequate at it, and adding a smart veteren to those 2 [Voskuhl type] may work.

Brian, you are right, but:

1. What about Jason Smith (as mentioned above)
2. What about Elton (ditto)
3. What about +/- (how many points can it really cost considering how many points, turnovers Sammy costs us, REALLY)?
4. Just bring in a shot blocker that can't and won't shoot.

But, on the other hand, as much as I am sick of Sammy, I can endure him for 2 more years (and who knows, maybe I will grow to love him!).


Brand is the wild card here. He's a very good weakside help guy, and he's been an excellent shot blocker in his career. If he's back, with lift, he could be the answer.

As for the points Sammy costs, his turnover rate really isn't bad for a center.

Turnover % (basically, turnovers per touch)

Dalembert: 13.6
D. Howard: 15.1
Z. Ilgauskus: 10.1
K. Perkins: 23.1
T. Chandler: 17.0
A. Bargnani: 11.2
S. O'Neal: 13.6
J. O'Neal: 14.2
Nene: 14.4
Yao: 16.0
P. Gasol: 11.3

That's just ten guys off the top of my head. The goaltends are a trickier proposition. We're talking mostly about layups that are interfered with, meaning, they're a higher than 50% shot. Probably more like 60%, maybe even as high as 70%. Meaning, when the ball leaves the player's hand, it's worth between 1.2 and 1.4 points (someone check my math on that). When he interferes, it's worth 2 points, so it's a net loss of .6 to .8 points. How many are we talking about, per game? Maybe 1 every other game? That's not a whole lot of points. Personally, I can live with the defensive goaltends, I'd much rather have him be too aggressive than too passive when it comes to blocking shots. And I'd rather have him jumping late and getting a goaltend, than jumping early, committing a weak foul and giving up a three-point play.

Jason Smith is a defensive liability on the level of Speights, except he's less athletic than speights...I don't get the Jason Smith love...is it cause he's injured and people forget what he truly is? He's a limited time bench player - nothing more nothing less - with some range.

If a coach is brought in with an offensive system (any ffensive system) Sam has to go because he will kill any offensive system that requires thought and him touching the ball.

Sean reply to john on May 18 at 10:54

Jason Smith is not capable of being the sole defensive stalwart, you are right about that. However, I do think if the Sixers new coaching staff committed to always having 2 bigs on the floor(preferably 2 of Elton, Sam, Smith or M16), you would see some improvement. Especially with a defensive system that might funnel the driver baseline where the bigs just have to get big and force a bad shot or block the shot if the opportunity presents itself.

IMO, Smith looked worse then what he is or could be partially because he was a rookie and partially because they kept putting him out there in small lineups. He ain't Dwight Howard, He ain't Sam, but he has his strengths.

john reply to Sean on May 18 at 10:56


I think he looked 'worse' than he really is because he's laterally slower than kyle korver, not particularly strong for his height, and has no low post presence, he's primarily a good outside shooter who is over rated by many - and I can think of one other reason for his over ratedness.

Smith is a nice bench guy - but the only real hope the sixers have a strong defensive presence in the middle at least as good as dalembert is Speights

Sean reply to john on May 18 at 11:32

Oh I do think he needs to get stronger, definitely. But that is a given for most rookies anyway. You are also right about him not having a low-post presence, but that is par for the course when a guy grows up admiring Dirk. I can remember Collins during a Sixers broadcast saying that he could see Smith becoming an Okur-like center, which I thought was not a bad comparison.

If he bulks a bit, he'll be okay. I have never been a believer of the whole "one big to guard them all" philosophy on D unless you have no choice. IMO, there is no reason that 2 of the 4(Brand, Smith, M16 or Sam) should not be on the floor at all times, period. Force the drivers baseline, let one of the two seal that side and the other handles the middle and backside. Not that hard, plus the potential for transition chances off blocks or missed shots are still there.

I agree with your premise. Honestly, I would only push to trade Sam if Smith or M16 improves enough to take his job. I think a new coach, especially one who can handle "difficult" personalities, might be able get something out of him. Other then that, I'd prefer if they went with a 4-man big rotation of Brand(34-36 min), Sam(20+ min), Smith(15-20) & Speights(15-20 min), with the outside possibility of Thad going to the 4 spot for 5-10 min.

I am hoping the next coach scraps the small ball thing completely. The Sixers possibly have the fastest group of bigs in the league, let them play. Besides, going small only works when you actually take advantage of the mismatches created(i.e. Thad being guarded by a 4) and have a big capable of controlling the paint(Sam on a good day, Deke in his prime etc). Since they would go small with Evans at center, I think the Sixers should lose the priviledge for the next year.

Goaltends should be an official stat. I think Sammy's production, by the numbers, would take a bit of a hit, albeit not large. You figure he is just giving 1/2 of a point away, minimum, per goaltend. That adds up over the course of the season. Charges taken should also be kept officially. A charge is worth more to a team than a blocked shot likely, since it signals an automatic possession change.

As for Smith, guy is still really young. I'm not going to consider writing him off as anything right now. I think he has some skills that could really make him into a decent player and I don't think starter is out of the question long term. I would need pretty damn good odds though to bet on Smith ever starting on a team that won say 46 games or more.

Was Speights more impressive? Yes, and by a large amount. Smith may have a 3 ball though when he gets back!

john reply to Joe on May 18 at 11:45

Who said write him off? No where did I say write him off - but the effusiveness of some peoples praise towards jason smith matches neither his production nor his potential in my opinion. He's a bench guy...he's a solid bench guy but he's a defensive liability.

Joe reply to john on May 18 at 13:54

meh. He is from a small college program and played one year in the pros thusfar. Put me in the "wait and see" category.

Sammy is the Sixers' most important player -- when he is playing at the top of his game, he controls the boards and is a defensive force -- but least consistent. You just never know what you're going to get from him one game to another. The problem is that for him to play well on the defensive end, he needs to be involved on the offensive end (Otherwise, he sulks) and we all know what happens when Sammy is involved on the offensive end - turnovers, missed turnaround jumpers, and offensive fouls.

I know we all agree that PG is this teams biggest priority in the offseason, but what about using our limited cap-room to pursue another 7-footer for the 40-games-a-season when Sammy doesn't show up? I vote for Marcin Gortat. He's a free agent and has put up consistently strong numbers in his NBA career. Because that career has only been two years and he's had limited minutes both years, he can probably be had for MLE. Thoughts?

I believe he's unrestricted. He was Phoenix's second round pick in 2005, not sure how he got Orlando.

If he's unrestricted, then yes, you could probably get him for the MLE. If there is any way to move Sammy, I'd definitely take a shot on the Polish Hammer as a replacement. If Sammy's still here, though, that's just too much money to spend on a crowded frontcourt. Brand, Sammy, Evans, Speights, Smith...those guys are going to have to get the job done at the 4/5 unless you can move Sammy and/or Evans.


I don't think the decision to trade or retain Dalembert can be evaluated completely from an objective standpoint of what he can contribute to the Sixers vs. what they will lose if he is traded. Sometimes, the time comes for a player to move on, and that time may be now for Dalembert.

Seems to many of us that most want Sam to leave. There are plenty of indications that Sam feels this way himself. Few of us would expect to land a point guard close to the abilities of Andre Miller if Miller departs, but many of us (and you appear to be clearly in this camp) are willing to say goodbye if Miller isn't enthusiastic about returning.

There are numerous examples from Philadelphia (and other cities') sports histories where more productive players than Dalembert left and the fans were willing or eager to see them go. So many fans can't stand Sam that trading him alone might bring back a modicum of enthusiasm for the team and its management. Dalembert himself might benefit from a fresh start somewhere with fans who might look forward to what he can bring to the team instead of fans who are simply sick of him.

fyi, I am not familiar w/ Smith and did not mean to spark a debate about a young, 1 year player that has very limited NBA experience.

I was skimming the book, Basetball Mac..... by Dark.... and Lou was mentioned as an above average potential for a combo guard. Point, we need to understand the it takes time for guys to grow up. Same w/ Smith.

Finally, I think we need to keep Sammy for atleast 1.5 years and see what happens. We don't need to have another new starter on the team. Our 2 new guards will be enough (assuming Miller does not sign).

Tom Moore on May 18 at 17:40

FYI: Sixers have asked for and received permission to talk to Celtics assistant Tom Thibodeau for coaching job. Ainge confirmed to Boston Herald.

john reply to Tom Moore on May 18 at 18:08

Good news - I guess maybe they were waiting until they were eliminated (thank hedo for needing a new contract)

Now contact that other dude in houston

Tom Moore on May 18 at 18:10

Apparently, the Sixers contacted Celts before Boston was eliminated Sunday night. Sixers have confirmed they'll talk to Thibodeau.

Definitely good news. Thanks for the update, Tom.

Tom Moore on May 18 at 18:23

Sure. Sixers won't confirm when, but likely this week.

Remember Thibodeau as a quiet John Lucas assistant on the bad teams from 1994-96.

Those were some horrible, horrible teams. They were middle-of-the pack defensively the first season, dead last the second. Of course, Shawn Bradley was playing major minutes.

deepsixersuede on May 18 at 19:44

Brian, if Thebodeax gets the job,I hope, I wonder what happens if Sam doesn!t GET his defensive plan. A head coach in football will cut the playbook in half for a young quarterback till he gets his feet wet,can he do the same defensively, I sure hope Elton can play a Garnett type role.And secondly, if your bringing in a defensive coach wouldn!t it be prudent to rethink the Theo isn!t coming back plan.

I'd bring Theo back regardless, but he didn't basically tell me to eat crap after game 6. I think he burned his bridge w/ ES and DiLeo. I really doubt he'd want to come back as well.

If Stefanski eventually selects a defensive-minded head coach like Thibodeau, might it be reasonable to assume that an offensive guru would be brought in as his assistant? With that in mind, who are the potential offensive-sided assistant coach candidates i.e. the Tex Winters to Phil Jackson or, to pull from the DC Universe, the "Bizarro"-Thibodeau?

On Kate's blog:

Celtics head coach Doc Rivers said he put a call into Stefanski to see where he could help.

Thought that was a very interesting comment. Says alot to me.

I assume it means Thibideau is interested in a head coaching position, which is, you know, an important step :)

MAS, very good question. I guess the thing is, can you get a guy like Turner to be your offensive coordinator? Would he leave the Rockets for a lateral move? Eddie Jordan? :)

MAS reply to Brian on May 18 at 22:49

If the head coach opportunities fall through for Jordan, then he would be intriguing. I didn't really see him being available though. In a google search for "offensive mastermind nba assistant coaches," a 2008 SI article popped up with Thibodeau (BOS), Budenholzer (SAS), Elston Turner (HOU), and Tyrone Corbin (Utah) as potential head coaches last year. Of course, google isn't always perfect i.e. Thibodeau and offensive mastermind, but it did give a hit on Elston Turner. Now, by accident, since I didn't know which turner you were referring to, I found Russell Turner (GS) when I searched for turner coach nba. He's worked with Don Nelson for the past five years and with Wake Forest when they had Tim Duncan. I really don't know anything about these guys, but I would think that a guy like Russell Turner might be the type of assistant coach who could be brought in. And, if I were to throw darts on the wall to find an offensive guru, then I might select a young, up-and-coming coach with a background in fundamentals (for the sake of argument, i just blindly assume that if you coached tim duncan in college, then you know fundamentals) and fast break offenses (i.e. school of don nelson). Anyway, I thought the subject might make for a good, future article.

And read on Wikipedia:

Thibodeau led the Celtics to the best rating in several defensive categories in 2007–08,[2] and was a key factor in containing Kobe Bryant during the 2008 NBA Finals.

He has a great resume and expectations are he will be an fantastic head coach.

Obviously concerns can be whether he will be a great head coach but, honestly, what do we have to lose? I would say he is a low risk, high reward type of coach, IMO.

Another quote about Thibodeau (we need to come up w/ a knickname for him if he becomes our coach):

Magic Johnson not so long ago said a team looking for a new head coach would be foolish not to hire Thidobeau.

Yeah, no offense to Magic Johnson but I care as much about his opinion of Tom Thibodeau as Michael Jordans opinion about anything that doesn't involve him himself playing basketball.

Thibodeau was the 'hot name' last year - and yet didn't get a job - why not?

Sean reply to John on May 18 at 23:34

From what I could find, a lot of it was because Boston had such a deep run in the playoffs, plus Boston did not breeze their early round matchups. Sometimes it is truly about timing. I was reading a great, detailed write-up on him on ReclinerGM, filled with all kinds of info about him. He is now my co-leader in the clubhouse. If they went with either Thibodeau or Turner, I'm good. Going with Thibodeau has the bonus of hurting the Celtics too.

bebopdeluxe on May 18 at 23:21

I'm down with talking to Thibodeau - Lord knows our D needs help.

Given how horrible our D was from the point guard position last season (with the exception of Ivey now and then), I would think that he would like to see an upgrade there...

Sign Thibodeau. Find some way to get Hinrich. Play defense - hard.

Win games.

I don't think Hinrich is going anywhere. More likely, Gordon leaves. Funny thing is I've seen them taking Lawson in a couple mock drafts. That make any sense to anyone? I guess if they did then they'd try to move Hinrich.

lol. You have been banging home Hinrich for a solid year now haven't you? (at realgm mostly. I am user jmon) Good to see you around these parts lately.

I still, as I always have, approve of the Hinrich idea. I just don't see how it could happen at this point.

john thinks Hinrich isn't a good enough shooter. :)

As for Thib, I'm down with it. I want D, mostly for the selfish reason that I can enjoy watching a great defensive team lose(07-08 Sixers) but can't enjoy watching a poor defensive team.

bebopdeluxe reply to Joe on May 19 at 10:03

Hey, jmom...what's shaking, bro?

I saw a proposed transaction by a Blazers regular that would work for all three parties, I think...however, I know that many Sixers fans (at lest the RealGM guys I know) wouldn't do it...

Sixers trade Miller (S&T) and Speights
Sixers get Hinrich and Joel Freeland

Blazers trade Joel Freeland and a ton of cap space
Blazers get Miller and Speights

Chicago trades Hinrich
Chicago gets a ton of cap space

To me, this trade is, in essence, Speights for Hinrich...because as of right now, Miller is worth NOTHING to us. Portland doesn't have to agree to a S&T - they can just sign Miller...they have the cap room. In order for them to agree to this deal, we have to give them something, and Speights becomes their backup PF behind Aldridge. Chicago isn't moving Hinrich unless they get cap room to sign Gordon, I would guess...and this trade provides that. Portland takes Hinrich and gives Chicago their cap room, and then they turn around and move Hinrich to us.

For many, trading Speights is a non-starter...but not for me. He clearly is a guy with promise, but with Elton Brand as our PF for the next 4 years, I'm not sure where Speights is going to get his minutes. In addition, I'm not exactly sure if Speights becomes a complete player, or simply a bigger Charlie Villenueva. We have Smith coming back to be our backup PF...and while I am not saying Freeland (a Blazers 1st round pick in 2006) is going to be anything great, his game is improving, he's only 22, and he could be a Luis Scola-like addition to our roster when we get rid of Sammy's contract in a year or two.

I am already on record being comfortable with trading Speights to move up and get Curry...so to move Speights to get a more known commodity who fits exactly what we need in a PG (a shooter who plays good defense) makes perfect sense. We then draft Maynor at 17, let him play behind Hinrich next season...let them split the position in 2010-11, and then, after Green's deal expires, Hinrich fills that role in the last year of his deal in 2011-12.

With any of these PG's that we are talking about for the draft, there is no way of knowing FOR SURE if they are going to be the next Mario Chalmers or the next Acie Law. Getting Hinrich (who sure looks like he has found his game again) allows this teams core of Iggy, Thad and Brand to stay intact, it allows the PG of the future to develop naturally, and we don't have to throw MLE money at a guy who may or may not be the right fit.

If Thibodeau turns out to be the guy, I bet he wouldn't mind seeing Hinrich at PG - particularly after how he played against the C's in the playoffs...

bebopdeluxe reply to bebopdeluxe on May 19 at 10:16

Sorry...forgot one small - but impoortant part of the deal...

Sixers trade Miller/Speights
Sixers get Hinrich/Freeland

Blazers trade Freeland/Rodriguez/cap space
Blazers get Miller/Speights

Bulls trade Hinrich
Bulls get Rodriguez/cap space

Bulls also get a backup PG in the deal...

I see a lot of people hoping for a Chalmers-like guy this season, but didn't Miami have off-court problems with Chalmers? Also, his stats weren't really that good at all. 10 ppg, 18.1% turnover ratio. He was an average three-point shooter. Got a good number of steals, but we know that stat can mislead. I mean, he's better than any point we currently have on the roster, but I hardly think he's what we're hoping for.

That's neither here nor there, though. As for this trade, I'd probably do it. I don't see any way Chicago would, though. Hinrich is a big, big asset for them, if they move him, I doubt it'll be for cap relief. I think they either let Gordon walk because his contract demands are insane, they trade Hinrich for a legit piece who will help them in the front court, or they sign Gordon and keep Hinrich. They aren't one of the poor organizations, from what I understand.

bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on May 19 at 12:20


You may know better than me, but my sense (from articles that I have read and posters on the Bulls board at RealGM) is that Reinsdorf is absolutely against paying the tax...for 2009-10, according to hoopshype.com, the Bulls already have salary committments of over $62 million for 9 guys (assuming that they renounce the team option for Anthony Robinson) - well above the cap...preliminary estimates for the luxury tax threshold are for a reduction from the $71 million this season to something closer to $68 million for 2009-10.

If they are going to sign Gordon for the deal he turned down last summer (assuming that Gordon even accepts that deal) of 6 years, $54 million, they are probably looking at a $10 million lux tax check. In addition, if they re-sign Gordon, they will have a MAJOR logjam at the 1, 2 and 3 spots when Deng comes back...Rose, Hinrich, Gordon, Salmons and Deng (even if Deng plays some minutes at PF).

So...what's more important to them - re-signing arguably their best offensive player or keeping their overpaid backup PG?

I am sure that everybody has had their fill of hearing about Hinrich from me...

Your observation about Chalmers only strengthens my viewpoint on why it is dangerous to just stand pat at 17 and cross our fingers that the guy we take (Maynor, for the sake of argument) turns out to be the guy.

I hadn't read that about reinsdorf. I think the latest thinking was that the cap/luxury tax numbers were probably going to hold, but that's immaterial right now.

If they really don't want to pay the tax, then you might be onto something. I like Hinrich, and I'd do this deal.

I need to do more research on Curry and I will predraft.

As for Speights, I like the kid a lot. His college numbers were on par with just about anyone not named Love or Beasley. His first month or 2 this year was stellar as well showing tons of promise.

I think Speights has a real chance to be very good.

One could argue, all the same, that Hinrich has been great in the past like he was in 06-07.

I like the foundation of the deal, but dumping some salary like Willie or picking up a 2nd rounder or 2 would make me a little more likely to consider it.

Actually, I really don't know why the Sixers would have to include Speights in the deal. Portland might have $7M in cap space. That's a $3M cut in salary for Miller and I'm not sure he's going to sign for that much. They may have to sign & trade to get Miller at the price he's demanding.

another interview, Dwayne Casey from Dallas. thoughts? Initially not to up on him. Another Assistant. Where is Houston's assistant?

Don't know anything about Casey. Hopefully will have some time to do some research in the morning.

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