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Lingering Questions

I don't comment a lot, but am an avid reader. I have to say that by far the most disappointing thing is Jrue. Now is the time for him to work out the kinks and Eddie seems reluctant. Also, I see Speights having a terrible year. One of the things that Hollinger pointed out about him is that he already had a low turnover rate. For whatver reason, rookies with low turnover rates do not improve as much in their second year overall. I don't agree with Hollinger, but everything about this year points to a bad year for Speights in my opinion.

Also, Brian can you repost your twitter name... just got into it and am having a ball following all these NBA guys, absolute hilarity.

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deepsixersuede on Oct 15 at 8:24
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Brian, if Jordan is gonna sub 5 for 5 than swapping Sam and Jason would help both units, but if Sam takes it as a negative he will fall into one of his funks.The key seems to be Elton or Sam being out there at all times.As far as the Willie/Jrue issue, I don!t like it but I have to trust his feel as far as their readiness.Missing Carney may have hurt the 2nd unit some because putting a shooter next to Willie [Ivey,Jrue ?] may allow him to just pass or drive instead of taking long jumpers.Maybe in the earlier practices [prior to Carney being hurt] the Willie/Carney/Kapono trio stood out offensively, we will have to see.

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deepsixersuede reply to deepsixersuede on Oct 15 at 8:32
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By the way, another reason they may be struggling alot with the P.O. is the best 5 capable of running it may never be out there together because of the rotations. Who spreads the floor for the starters, who is the [Iggy] for the backups.If I picked my best 5 to run this offense now it would probably be L.Will.,Iggy,Kapono,Elton and Jason with Carney next because of our coaches rave reviews before the injury so have these 5 been on the court together much?

Yeah, for some reason I get the impression that Coach Jordan sees Jason as a substitute for Elton and Marreese as a substitute for Sammy. Frankly, IMHO, Jason has more of the qualities you normally equate with a Center than Marreese does. Marreese is a gunner who doesn't rebound and can't post up effectively... few people would call that a recipe for playing Center. So, why not sub Jason in for Sammy, as you suggest? He's playing tougher, from what I hear, and his body is more Center-like that Marreese's as well. He might complement Elton nicely down low.

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Real and Speightacular reply to Crick on Oct 16 at 12:10
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" Marreese is a gunner who doesn't rebound and can't post up effectively... few people would call that a recipe for playing Center."

Hm. The option is a guy who rebounds even less and spells post-up the long way, "three-point-jack-from-deep." Speights is mebbe 10lbs heavier than Smith while being about two inches shorter and is actually willing to go to the post from time to time. It'll be interesting to see over the course of the season which one is easier to label euro-soft.

Speights, imho, is a more natural PF, but it's a choice between lesser evils for the b/u C-spot.

p.s. gunnerism is mitigated if you can at least make the shots at a good rate. Marreese did well enough last season, but so far, he's developed some kind of wicked hex that has to go away but soon.

The team has enough talent to beat bad teams- even if they look ugly doing it. I hope this helps keep them afloat until they start learning the offense and defense. But because it will remain chaotic on both ends for a while, so we may no see much of Jrue for several months.

Not an ideal situation, but it is temporary, and not surprising. Honestly, I expect next Fall's preseason articles to focus on how much improved the team will be now that they are finally comfortable with the new schemes. The team is young,so there is no rush (except the whole Brand contract thing), which is good since picking this up will be more of a marathon then a sprint. So basically be patient and focus on the positives.

I had a few more trite sports phrases to put in there, but decided to save them :)

You gave it 110%

Brian,

- Lou the PG - agree. so far so good
- Elton Brand's health - at the nets game, he looked active but playing below the basket. That leg is significantly less muscular. Be happy with 32-34 minutes of 16 and 10.
- The Princeton Offense - we'll see but expect improvement with or without it.
Willie's diminishing role - happy with 8-12 minutes.
- Team defense - optimistic.
- Thad and Iguodala: continued development - Iggy should be fine. Thad will have issues facing the basket in the offense but should be fine as season goes on.
- Speights and Smith - Young players with upside pushing for Sammy's minutes and backing up Elton. Perfect competitive opportunity. Looking forward to watching their development.
- The three ball - Kapono looks to have Kyle's shooting skills with a decent handle. Can even create a bit for others. This area has to be better.
- Coach Jordan - Won't be able to fully evaluate until January or February.

regarding the speights/smith rotation. I suspect that a sammy/speights combination on the court with the PO and defensively just isn't working right now. So, Smith for Brand and Speights for Sammy is the way it is for the time being.

thoughtful analysis, thanks sfw.

It's funny, I feel like people are shifting toward optimism around here recently.

Brian, This is the time to be optimistic. These are my only concerns.
- Don't think Sammy will ever fit into an offense especially this one. It will be interesting to see how the time is allocated at the center position as the staff becomes frustrated with his performance.
- Lou Will needs a capable backup for those physical backcourts. Not sure there is one on the current roster today. Hopefully, Holliday develops as the season progresses.
I expect Iggy to develop at the 2, Thad at the 3, Elton to compete at the 4 and Lou to prove that he can be a Sedale Threat type player for this team which is fine if Jrue develops. I'm very impressed with Kapono as a swing player(2/3) off the bench(Hopefully, not a mirage. Don't know exactly what happened in Toronto). Smith & Speights at worst will be solid bigs off the bench. If we can get lucky and find a good center we could have a true contender in Philly.

Every Sixer fan is optimistic this time of year, generally it turns to disappointment by December and comes back right around all-star break.

Lou the PG:
Thus far, color me impressed. He is playing the role I figured they would have him play, given the type of offense and personnel. He is doing damage while playing under control and seems to have displayed better defensive focus also(especially during the Nets game).

Brand's Health:
Incomplete, given that it might be more of an issue later, after 4-games in 5 nights &/or back-to-backs. But I do agree with your basic point, that even a hobbled Brand is a substantial improvement on both ends.

The Princeton Offense:
One of the pluses that I have seen from it is better team play. An example of that would be the Knicks game in the 2nd half, when they actually went away from it to standard sets. One play in particular comes to mind, when Dre had a post up, spun baseline and hit a curling Thad with a bounce pass for a layup. They rarely had that level of off-ball movement in the past several years, especially a flash-curl into the lane. Any off-ball Movement in the Cheeks/Brown era tended to happen along the baseline.

Willie's Diminishing Role:
Green is a reserve, which is progress. Eventually, Holiday will be the 2nd team 'PG.' However, Green has been solid, with the exception of the Knicks game.

Team Defense:
One of the benefits of using the Princeton Offense is that it also can help potentially improve your defense by practicing against such a dynamic system everyday. It forces the defense to remain hyper-aware. Also, given that Ayers is apparently the Def. Coordinator and is a Brown disciple, I am optimistic.

Thad & Andre: Thad's handle has improved. He is a work-in-progress as a playmaker but as a finisher, he is quite potent. Andre's shot has improved, he is also hitting his free throws thus far.

Speights/Smith:
M16 is a natural gunner with a great scoring touch. Seems as if he is being groomed to take Lou's 'Instant Offense' role off the bench. Time will tell if they can actually teach him better court awareness and tone down his Uzi-spray. Smith has stretched his range out the the arc, have not seen him have much opportunities to finish inside. They both need improvement setting screens.

Three-Ball:

Dre has improved. Kapono is a huge plus, Carney is a plus, Smith can now hit that shot too. Jrue has hit it when he is on the floor, with a good stroke. If EJ decides to use a 10-man rotation with a bench squad of Green, Carney, Kapono, Smith & Speights, there are 3 bonafide shooters in that mix, with Dala and Lou still improving among the starters. The more important thing about Lou's shot is that the defense is actually honoring him taking that shot, especially if he does a shot-fake, which has given him countless driving lanes. Another benefit of the PO thus far has been much improved spacing, which also helps.

Jordan - He is an improvement, yet he is also an incomplete until the All-Star break. I like his offense, I like his approach with several of his players thus far, but cannot really begin to evaluate until the real season starts, with his rotations and in-game strategies as well as game-plans.


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