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One thing you sometimes seem to pass over is that it really doesn't matter if a lineup or strategy only matches up poorly against 4 teams, or 3 teams, or for that matter 1 team. Yeah, it matters in the sense that it won't be a huge handicap in the regular season. But in the playoffs, you'll note that we wouldn't be able to guard the 2 or 3 best teams in the East. So how are we supposed to contend? What's the use of getting, say, a fourth seed only to be quickly dispatched in the second round?

I'm not in favor of this lineup, I just think it's what we're going to get. Personally, I don't think the Sixers will be a legit contender if Sammy isn't starting and playing heavy minutes, or unless they replace him with another 5 who can defend the rim and rebound. But this seems to be the plan so I thought we'd take a look at how the front court matches up.

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Tray reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 13:55
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Sure. But doing this is like if some Western team, in Shaq/Duncan's heyday, said, "you know, why burden ourselves with a non-scoring Shaq/Duncan stopper when we could just load up on offense and win 60 games. Then hopefully someone else will take the Lakers or Spurs out for us and we'll make it to the Finals." Of course, this, in some ways, is the story of the Suns and prior to them the defenseless Mavs and you see how that worked out.

Yup, it's no way to build a champion, I agree.

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 5:08
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With offense as our new coaches strength, tilting the talent to maximize this side of the court makes some sense and may get us 50 wins but, like Tray said, can it succeed in the playoffs. Utah seems to get 50 wins every year out west but are they ever a favorite to come out of there the champ? If Sammy buys into a parttime energy type role,Birdman like,he could be a real factor against the teams we match up bad against but Sam will never look in the mirror and see a role player.Moving him for 2 role players, one of which is a big banger,may help if you go this route.N.Collison and Watson as an example.I like the idea of our big 3 getting the shots but it only works if our "little two", the backcourt can spread the floor for them.

"Sam will never look in the mirror and see a role player.Moving him for 2 role players, one of which is a big banger,may help if you go this route."

Now, that's a nice idea. Since OK City seems to be committed to the youth route, they may go for it.

OKC would be taking on an extra year of Watson's deal. I'm not really a fan of Collison, but I guess you'd have to consider it if they were game.

Like Barkley said, you cannot win without the ball. And I seriously worry about this frontcourt's rebounding.

Couple thoughts from last night's Laker blowout. If I'm Eddie Jordan:

1. I'm going to make Lou and Willie (assuming they stay with the team) spend two hours a day watching Kobe rub his guy off on picks. Love how he waits for the screener to establish, how he slows down as he's scraping his man off, how he ducks behind the screener as he passes him, putting his defender on his back. Have we ever seen the Sixers do this?
2. Rafer Alston is available.

I'm not so sure Rafer is available. They need a backup PG. Orlando has some serious issues this offseason. Gortat, Rafer and Hedo could all walk.

To me it sounds like he is hoping Smith or Speights impresses him enough to crack the starting lineup because he likes their offensive game. If Speights or Smith develop and Igulodala goes to the 2, this will be the best offensive lineup. I would hate to see another year of starting Willie Green. He would be more effective in spot minutes off the bench.

I agree. A Brand/Young frontcourt is a stopgap until Iguodala is shifted to SG. In this offense the 2 F's are inrerchangable and the 2 G's are interchangeable- but the G and F have different assignments.

I think SF1976 or EJ said the intention is for EJ to get Young and Iguodala comfortable in the F slot of the offense and then gradually shift Iguodala over to the G slot. This also buys some time for Speights or Sith to earn more minutes at F/C.

I don't think you can rebound or protect the glass adequately with Brand/Young and C/PF. Thad is a poor rebounder and lacks a defensive presence at PF. You can get away with that next to Sam or Theo, but probably not next to Brand.

Also, Thad strangely struggles more against smaller PF's like Jamison, Warrick and Lewis than he has against bigger PF's. Not sure why...

You can't defend the hoop or control the glass adequately with Brand and either Speights or Smith at the 4/5 either.

I'm going on record right now as saying if this is the plan going forward, the Sixers will be in the bottom half defensively this season. This is not a good thing.

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 11:45
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Brian, first off ,I agree with your last comment but it comes down to Elton versus Sam defensively.They seemed to play real well at times with Theo next to Thad last year,even at Theo!s age and limited quickness.His positioning really helped in that respect. Could Elton!s higher defensive I.Q. make up for his lack of size.The rebounding will be an issue though unless our 3 perimeter guys can be aggressive that way, Iggy usually out rebounds his opponent.

Iggy's rebounding isn't enough. I don't worry about Brand, what I worry about is having a terrible rebounder (for the position) at the four. And while Brand is a very good shot blocker for a 4, he's not in Sam's league, neither was Theo. If they're dead set against Sammy, then Gortat has to be the #1 target in free agency, though I doubt he is and I doubt they get him.

This was my huge concern in going with an offense-first head coach.

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Robert Drigan reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 13:55
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Yeah, I keep thinking the same thing. If we presume Sammy's not factored into Jordan's equation, you have to wonder who's backing up Brand at center. Looking at the roster, that person doesn't seem to be on it. It could be Speights or Smith, but I'd feel much, much more comfortable if it was someone else. You mention Gortat. Someone like him is exactly what I have in mind.

Of course, if we sign him as a free agent, we won't have money to sign a shooter. That would necessitate a trade of some sort.

Many questions, many questions.

So, off topic. would anyone trade Iggy, Lou Will, Willie? for R.Allen and Rondo? Would the celtics do it?

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John reply to sfw on Jun 5 at 12:32
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I love the quotes out there today about Rondo - dropping his trade value to indicate both his GM and Coach aren't fond of his attitude.

The trade mentioned above is an anal violation of the celtics worthy of Em City

I don't see why they'd want Lou or Willie. Basically, this is a trade for the future of Iguodala for Rondo. It would assume the Celts think their window has closed, and they don't want to build around Rondo as their "star" of the next generation, they'd rather have Iggy in that role.

This move would probably make the Sixers contenders this season, then they'd move forward with a ton of cap space next summer, and a core of Rondo at the point, Thad at the three and Brand at the four, with the other two positions being question marks.

Would I do it if I was Ed Stefanski and it was offered to me? Yeah, I guess I would. Take a shot with the starting lineup of Rondo, Allen, Thad, Brand, Dalembert.

I don't see any way in hell Boston would do it, however. For the record, I'd rather have Iguodala than Rondo long term, though.

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John reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 12:50
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THe hoopshype rumors page (again) has some interesting things on the celtics and how they 'feel' not only about their young guys but rondo specifically, purely speculative stuff I think...someone wants to shake up the celtics at least in the media, maybe keeping them relevant right now, who knows...but man, if those quotes on rondo are true, that's just harsh

Did you see the blurb on the Wizards' pick?

"The Wizards continue to consider moving this pick. However, it's a tough market right now. Teams aren't enamored with the talent here and appear reluctant to give up great assets, including a future first-round pick."

From Chad Ford.

The asking price for that pick may be reasonable on draft night.

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 12:44
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Jordan said on E.S.P.N. radio that he got to an eastern final with Mutombo as his center,my question is does Scott run the same offense as Jordan and if so are we overblowing the Sam issue, maybe this is just sending him a message.John, sounds like Rondo is pulling a Sam,"I am not a role player".He is forgetting who he is playing with.

Jordan ran Scott's offense during that year. So the answer to your question is yes

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 12:54
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Time for a H.Walker trade if the rumors are true.If your Minn. wouldn!t you give Boston all 5 [3 1st rounders and 2 2nd rounders] and filler for those 2 players.

no

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 15:27
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I told you after Monday's news conference that I thought starting Iggy, Thad and EB was Jordan's plan, based on what he said. Jamison was undersized at the "4" in Washington, but rebounded much better than Young. It's a good lineup on offense, but defensive matchups and boards would seem to be issues.

Yeah, absolutely. Jamison was an undersized 4 who rebounded better than Thad does, and they were one of the worst defensive teams in the league. That's not a model I'm particularly interested in following.

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 15:31
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As for today's workout, Lawson has grown an inch from last year. He's 6-foot without shoes. Weighs 198, bench-pressed 185 14 times. The Sixers seemed impressed and he apparently would like to play here, whether Miller is a Sixer or not. They could do a lot worse at No. 17.

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 15:33
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Sixers director of player personnel Courtney Witte said the team could try to get a later pick if there's a shooter out there they like (assuming they get a point at 17 or vice-versa).

Did he say anything about possibly moving up?

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 15:49
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Mentioned it, but I believe it's unlikely. More likely to add a later pick.

The Meeks kid really shot the ball well. He's deciding if he wants to stay in the draft or not. Said he will if people tell him he's a first-rounder.

He's probably going in the second round if he stays in the draft, I bet that means he goes back to school. Too bad, he'd be a good guy to take a shot on later in the draft if they could buy a pick.

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DeanH reply to Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 16:49
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Why don't we tell him yes for a first rounder and try to get the last pick in the 1st round for him or whatever?????? Not promise.

If this team grabs a sizable lead, then very few teams will make a comeback against their athletic lineup. Most of the league is predicated on perimeter play now, so I think this team would be OK with the lineup you referred to with EB, TY, and AI in the front court.

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Blackest_Guy_U_Know on Jun 5 at 15:58
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I think what we need to do is get a point and a center and were good. If iggy can fix his jumper he could be a very soild 2. Then Thad is the sf, brand is the pf and BAM!! We have a team that can potentially be a 3 seed and finaly get out of the first round

I don't disagree, I just don't know how they're going to address those things. Completely agree that Iguodala at the two is the best move going forward.

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 16:01
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Jordan said Iguodala wouldn't swing over to the "2" until December or January, which is when Iguodala would know small forward inside and out.

Is it too much for him to pick up both positions in the offense simultaneously?

Ugh, I just don't like what I'm hearing right now. Starting w/ those guys at 3,4,5 means we need to find 2 starters for the one and two, I don't think they have 1 on the roster right now. If you play Lou at one of the guard spots, how horrible is this team going to be defensively? I mean, we're talking about 3 positions where the Sixers are undersized and/or just flat out poor defenders, and that's without even adding another guard in.

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Sean reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 16:54
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Honestly, I am not holding EJ to anything regarding his proclamations about the roster. As it was said in your conference call, Iguodala's position is entirely dependent on the roster. His whole thing is that Iguodala is beginning at the 3 right now because there is not a true big he trusts on the roster other than Brand. That is one reason he talked about working guys out here during the summer, he wants to accelerate the learning curve and hopefully see something from Smith or Speights that would allow him to feel okay about trusting him.

If anything, I am reassured by the fact that he is virtually guaranteeing that Thad will be a starter next year.

I'm not really sure he guaranteed that, at least not in so many words. If he's committed to playing Iggy at the three, which he sure seems to be, then Speights/Smith having awesome summers could mean thad to the bench.

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Sean reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 18:20
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Well, considering his wording(per "transcript") was that if Smith and/or Speights saw time, Dala would play the 2, that to me would indicate that Dala's primary spot will be entirely dependent whether or not they find a starting caliber big(in-house or otherwise).

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 16:14
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Those are valid points, Brian. Other teams pounce on mismatches and weaknesses. Maybe Jordan is just blowing smoke, but he said it twice Monday about Iguodala and the "3" spot.

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 16:43
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If Marreese or Jason pick up things fast along with Iggy maybe the transition to the s.g. for Iggy happens quickly.Perhaps they get their starting s.g. at #17 and a p.g. later on and Miller comes back.Ellington or Thornton may be able to step right in till Iggy hopefully moves there.Thad!s father was 6!11", maybe he fills out a bit and gains an inch.Alot of maybes, well this season sure won!t be boring.

Speights, Brand, Thad, Iggy, Rookie, Rookie is a poor defensive lineup as well.

Speights/Smith, Brand, Thad, Iggy, Lou, Miller is a horrible defensive lineup.

Speights/Smith, anyone, anyone, anyone, anyone is a poor defensive lineup, as far as I'm concerned.

I believe you can hide a horrible defender at the guard position, I don't think you can do it with a center. They're far too important to team defense, as far as I'm concerned.

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Real and Speightacular reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 17:17
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"Speights, Brand, Thad, Iggy, Rookie, Rookie is a poor defensive lineup as well."

Why? Don't you have to see who the rookies are first and how they work in the system? Why is that automatically a sub-par defensive team?

Because Speights at the 5 is inherently a poor defensive lineup. I went on to explain one line down from the one you quoted.

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Real and Speightacular reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 18:00
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Oh I didn't know you had Speights at center. I assumed Brand, who has the same standing reach as most centers, would be at 5. In any event, Speights has shown difficulty guarding out from the paint but he's been a pretty good help defender. There's hardly a team out there with a great defender at every spot. It's about having enough solid hosses and the right system to compensate for the weakest link.

Anyway, I doubt they're going too deep this coming season (mebbe one round, depending). In my eyes, this is a season to threaten and show off Brand and Thad and season the newbies. It's the year after that's the big move.

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Sean reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 18:23
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IMO, even if Speights or Smith are starting, they would be the 4 and Brand would be the 5 defensively for me, and would be responsible for the toughest big man assignment in each game.

That would probably be the best of a couple bad options, but Brand really isn't a five, on either end.

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 16:47
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Wouldn't count too much on Smith. Guys in the first year back after major knee surgery usually take another year to approach where they were before injury. He'll play, but I'd guess more spot minutes than 25 a night.

Even if he hadn't had the surgery, I don't think we could've counted on him for 25 minutes/night. May never be able to. He showed a decent jumper (not good, not great, just decent. .354 efg on jumpers) in his 1,100 minutes of action his rookie year. He was also a pitiful rebounder (7.5 rebounds/36 minutes from a big man?) I don't see how he's an option at center unless he's somehow drastically improved without playing a minute of real action in over a year.

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 16:51
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Brian, here's the quote from Witte on moving up that I found while transcribing: "Right now, at the 17th pick, we’re happy with the pool that’s around us. But you’re always looking at what you can do to get above and what players are there."

I'd love to be a fly on the wall and find out what they think about Curry, Holiday, Harden and Rubio, probably the only four guys worth moving up for based on team needs.

What do you think our starting lineup should be?

If you're asking me, I think the starting lineup has to be PG TBD, Iguodala, Thad, Brand and Dalembert until someone on the roster proves he can rebound and defend at the five, or until someone is brought in who is capable of doing those two things at the five and playing starter's minutes.

Eddie Jordan's job should be getting Dalembert to buy in, because this team cannot defend without him on the floor, or without a legitimate 5 as a replacement for him.

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DeanH reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 17:08
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I think Jordan is trying to get Dalembert to show effort and win his job. I agree we need a rebounder but Iggy has to become a 2 over the summer. I assume Jordan has told him that and he is working towards that goal this summer?

If all of this talk is purely to motivate Sammy, then fine. I'm in favor. Both Eds talked about how they have to convince Sammy that you can be a star in this league playing a Ben Wallace (with the Pistons) type of game. That's the brainwashing they need to do.

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Tom Moore on Jun 5 at 16:59
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More Witte: "Maybe we can acquire another pick a little bit lower. I think this draft is loaded with perimeters. It’s an option to get another pick to get a shooting guard if we would go with a point (at 17). That’s an option that Ed and we’ll all look at."

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 17:09
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Brian, sounds like Lawson and Spieghts together is better value to them than the players you mentioned, I hope they are right.Your top lineup with Lawson at the point works for me.Brand ,Thad, and Iggy all should be quality rebounders at the 4,3, and 2 slots and Lawson!s ball pressure should ignite our brake.When Jason gets healthy I don!t see why he and Marreese, if Sam doesn!t get it, can!t get 10 reb. and 2 blocks a night between them.Not many centers to worry about that can put 30 up and a better team concept defensively may work with our upgraded offense.

Here's the thing about using the "team concept" to cover up for bad defenders. It almost always relies on one of two things, wings sagging into the lane to overhelp on drivers, OR relying on a shot-blocking center to erase mistakes made by the perimeter guys. I'm not sure how you can use a team concept to hide a poor defensive center. If anyone has an idea, please share it. I suppose if you had superior defenders on the perimeter maybe you could do it, but we don't, and we won't.

Video from the Sixers' workout today, from Sixers.com. 13 minutes long, check it out.

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 17:29
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We have one of the best interior defenders in the league in Elton, him and Sam,along with Thibodeax could have been something I believe, but E.S. has this vision of what he wants and hopefully he is right.Getting players to "buy in",like Denver seemed to achieve this year after loosing Camby will be important. My problem with it is can the players, Elton and Iggy in particular, show this group how to give effort on that end every night because so far this coach seems more about the other end.Denver had the same coach, same players except for Billups.Camby and Anderson I consider a wash, so Billups made a hell of a difference.

Camby and Anderson aren't a wash, Camby's the superior player and they still improved defensively. For me, the biggest change came from Melo. He actually cared about defense this season, I'm sure Billups had a lot to do with that.

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deepsixersuede on Jun 5 at 17:50
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Brian, that is my point,Iggy and Brand have to lead by example.Anthony and J.R.Smith played harder this year than ever, same in Boston once Garnett got there,it is possible to loose Sammy and improve but it takes each player to by in.

Eh. You can replace Sammy w/ a lesser defender. You can't replace him with a sieve.

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Sean reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 18:31
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Hey Brian,

One of the things EJ mentioned in your CC is the fact that they need 3 things(A PG, a shooter and a big who can bang and defend). Assuming they draft the PG and use the MLE for the shooter, I was looking at who might be out there for cheap as a big that can bang. What do you all think about Sheldon Williams? He is a smart, physical big who can block shots. Some people called him a better Brian Grant. Plus, he could help us with the shooter if he can talk his brother-in-law Anthony Parker into signing here. Off-season of Lawson, Parker and Williams.

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Real and Speightacular reply to Sean on Jun 5 at 19:01
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That's a great idea, if he's available. Not great at anything in particular but at least he's steady (in a steady-decent way not a steady-Willie way). But if Gortat's gettable, that's option #1.

Yeah, Williams is an unrestricted free agent per ESPN. I would look hard at Gortat, but I'd rather spend the MLE on Parker or Korver and get Sheldon Williams for cheap. Maybe Brand(a fellow Dukie) could recruit him on board?

When we say that Speights is a poor defender, what we really mean is that he is a poor low post-on the ball defender right? Seems to me that defense involved with coming from the weak side or defending the rim against driving players is a little bit easier to learn since one can rely on athleticism. And Speights has plenty of that.

In that sense, I'm fine with starting Speights at the 5. Dwight Howard of course will tear him apart, but it's not like Dalembert did an amazing job of defending Dwight during the playoffs. If we don't move Speights during draft night, and if Brand is going nowhere, then I think you have to play Speights and Brand together. Call me crazy, but I think they could play well together. Speights has the kind of outside range (or at least the potential) and hands that complement Iguodala's game no?

However, none of this matters if we can't find another guard to play alongside Iguodala. I don't care if it's Rubio, Jennings, or Curry. Just not Louis Williams. Guy can't run a freaking break to save his life.

From everything I witnessed last year, Speights can't handle any part of being a defensive big man in this league. Now he was young, granted, and he'd have to be a total zero not to improve upon some of these things, but these were the problems I saw:

- on the ball, he consistently let his man go by him, and tried to block the shot from behind. probably a sound plan in college, where he was a much better athlete than everyone he played, very poor defense at this level, and it leads to a lot of dunks, a lot of fouls and the occasional blocked shot to pad the stats.

- when providing help defense at the rim, again, didn't move his feet, didn't establish position, typically waited to rotate so he could go for the spectacular block. led to fouls, dunks, made layups, and-ones, and the occasional block.

- pick and roll situations, didn't show hard, didn't double, didn't switch. typically lagged off his man in the lane, allowing the offense to do whatever they wanted on the play.

Those are pretty much the three areas of defense you worry about w/ a big man, and as far as I'm concerned, he failed horribly at all three. He can, and should improve in each area. Some of it is coaching, but until he makes significant improvement, he's a liability on defense, plain and simple. I guess you can move him to the four and hope he doesn't hurt you too much, but that's not really a trade off I want to make. Just a personal preference, but for me, defense comes first when assigning minutes in the front court, especially when you don't have guards who can stop penetration and the rules are tilted to let any guard with a pulse penetrate at will.

You know what, that's not entirely fair. Speights made a handful of nice defensive plays, especially at times when he left his man to help or double and used his athleticism to create a turnover, or a forced shot. There is potential there, but I just don't think his defense is ready for heavy minutes.

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raro reply to Brian on Jun 5 at 23:56
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All valid points. I forgot about the pick and roll and it's probably why he saw so little time in the Orlando series...

Not sure we have a stat to measure this, but it would be interesting to see Speights' defensive efficiency in those three categories you mentioned. Also, do we see leaps in defensive efficiency or is this something that a player has to develop over a long period of time? Would explain all the wily defensive specialist veterans maybe...

On a side not, I've read that Chris Bosh might be available? What do you guys think of pairing him with Brand? Dalembert, Speights, and a first and second round pick for Bosh? If it doesn't work, we get cap space the year after plus we send Sammy home. Just my two cents.

Think Toronto would want a bigger return for him, but if they'd accept that deal, I'd do it. Worst-case, we shave a year off Sammy's contract and quite possibly get involved in a sign-and-trade for Bosh next Summer. Maybe even move him again at the deadline, although I believe there would be restrictions on the second trade due to a rule in the CBA.


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