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Ugly Loss Decided By Ugly Call

My biggest concerns haven't changed after the wizards game.
-Lou Will was out muscled by the Nova grad. There are much stronger guards in the league.
- The Wizards center has bypassed Sammy in his play and makes much less.
- Elton is earthbound. Let's hope for 14 and 10 with good defense.
- Still too much dependency on Willie. Need Rodney back ASAP.
As discussed previously, Iggy's shooting form is new and improved. Looking good. Looks like a 38-40 win team. Hopefully, coming on in the 2nd half of the season.

Iggy's improved shooting, if it continues, will be an excellent addition to his arsenal and would shore up his one true weakness. If he shot just OK (enough to be a legitimate threat and have to be guarded away from the basket) he'll be a stellar SG.

I'm very interested in seeing some improvement from Brand to get back (to a large part) to where he was a few years ago. My thinking being, even if he isn't a good fit on this team, then some other team would likely be interested in him and we could free up a lot of salary space.

Everyone knows Speights has great offensive moves and potential. What needs to be seen is whether he is going to put the effort in to be a serviceable defender. So far, he hasn't shown that inclination on consistent basis. If he does, we have a real steal. If he doesn't he is never going to be a decent player.

Thad has to develop or show progress in becoming a Carmelo-lite (last year's model of Carmelo), in that he needs to rebound more, pass some and play some defense. Even if he doesn't score much more than last year, something like 18, 6.5+ and 3 ought to be achievable for someone with his athleticism and length. Last year, he took steps to becoming a slightly more efficient version of Rudy Gay (scores and that is about it). He should be better than that.

Jrue has to build on his last games (playing a complete game and holding TOs down). His tenure at UCLA really docked his confidence and set him back. If he continues playing defense the way he can he can be earning decent minutes very soon. Nothing screws up normal NBA offenses (other than Triangle or Princeton O) like a stout defender at the point. If he starts getting his confidence and his offense back as well he'll be a steal as big, well rounded, unselfish PGs are incredibly rare.

I don't mind WG having a role on the team. I do mind if WG winds up getting starter minutes and more than a few shots a game.

I think Lou could be a great instant offense (Vinnie Johnson) type role player for us. I think if we get 2/3 of the season in and he is still getting the lion's share of the PG minutes it would be a bad sign for us. Even if he shoots and scores at reasonable clip he isn't even an average defender and he is more selfish than most points. I don't think this team needs or wants an Agent Zero type point.

Smith I'd like to see stay healthy, hustle, grab a few boards and hit a few shots a game. Coming off his injury and the fact he really wasn't an established player to begin with I think it might be unrealistic to ask for anything more.

I agree with all of the points raised so far. Just to add:

-Iguodla looks ready to take another step forward in his development as a star and leader on the floor. He is only 25 and still gets better every year.

-Thad still looks to be a while away from tapping into his potential. He initial played good D on Butler, but the Butler broke through. And on offense he has spurts, but still may be a year or two from being a consistently dominant scorer.

-Lou has a much better mentality on offense then many expected. I think he is willing to play in a team concept when his teammates have skill. Last year he often was on the floor with a collection of offensive cripples. I do still worry about his inneficient jumper. he was a high volume horrible 3pt shooter last year, and lousy on 2pt jumpers too. He either needs to shoot better (maybe shot selection) or not take 3's.

-Brand- I've said my peace. But Jordan needs to integrate him more in the P.O. Sam is getting 3X as many touches as Brand. Maybe have stretches out there with Brand as C and Speights or Smith as PF (on offense.)

-Ivey is just not an NBA rotation player. He gives effort, but you cannot send a Green-Ivey backcourt to start the 2nd Qt.

-Speights could be such a beast. I guess the big question is to what extent he will ever tap into his potential. Even on defense he could be a solid defender and rebounder, but who knows if he will ever develop the mentality to give full effort on that end and not give up on plays? I'm glad to hear Brand is working with him... maybe bring back Moses?

I didn't see the game last night, but I'm curious to explore the Brand question further. Everyone's noticed his lack of explosion and wondering whether he'll get back to what he was four years ago. But I'm wondering whether he's even lost something compared to what he was last year, prior to the injury. Because I don't remember that he couldn't jump and was getting all his shots blocked. There were a couple games, in fact, that I remember he pretty much dominated (Knicks and these same Wizards). So what's going on? He just had a shoulder injury, not a back or knee injury, right?

He does look a little bit more earthbound then last year. Last year he was getting blocks and O-Boards. Hopefully at least that level of activity will soon return. I'm sure at least some of this is rust and frustration.

But even last year he shot at a very low % and could not finish in traffic.

Statman reply to tk76 on Oct 21 at 13:20

I just took a quick look at Brand's game log from last year, and at the end of November he was averaging 17-10-1.5 on 46% shooting. I think we'd all take that in a heartbeat at this point. Given how he's looked this year, I'm wondering if 11-7-1 in fewer minutes is more realistic ...

I'm not going to hit the panic button until I see him in real games, in real rotations, when the team has a better understanding of the offense. What I've seen so far is Brand getting the ball too far from the hoop, where he has to make a move off the dribble to get a shot off, or right under the hoop with a couple of guys on him. Rarely has he caught the ball in a position to make a simple move and shoot. Rarely has he gotten the ball within 8 feet of the hoop in a one-on-one situation. I need to see the PO to work to get him those looks.

Also, as was mentioned above, Sammy seems to be getting more touches than Brand in the offense, that's got to change. By touches, I don't strictly mean shots, I mean, he's flashing to the top of the key and getting the ball there to make a play.

I think you are probably right. Maybe Jordan is trying to deal with Sam's personality to keep him onboard. Eventually he will dial back Sam's role and get Brand more involved.

As for numbers, I don't see why he couldn't get 14/10/1.5. Other than less touches or minutes there is no reason why he should be less effective.

Statman, here's some good stuff:

Brand per 82games . com

FYI: Inside FG% excluding dunks:
Brand: .626%!!('06/7) but only .455% Last year :(
Duncan .583%
R. Evans: .415%
Young: .600%

Brand's shooting breakdown:
Last year: Inside shots .523%...excluding dunks .455%...outside .415%

'06-'07: Inside shots .683%...excluding dunks .626%...outside .470%

All areas of his offensive game suffered. But the drop in inside FG% points most strongly to loosing lift.

Looking at inside non-dunks going from .626% to .455% is like going from better than Duncan Duncan to nearly Reggie Evans.

Statman reply to tk76 on Oct 21 at 18:34

tk76: thanks for the stats, which are quite compelling (and fit with what I remember last year). How are you able to access inside FG% excluding dunks? Anyhow, one could point to recovery from the Achilles injury (and a lot of people did) as the reason for the decline from 06-07 to 08-09. But if anything, the Achilles should be healed and his jumping ability should be back. Maybe Brian is right and he is holding back. I'd think, though, that a two-handed dunk (were he able to do that right now) would be among the "safest" shots and better than getting the ball sent back at your head, which is what I saw more than once. I say this, of course, with no personal experience at having executed a dunk ;-)

He might not want to go up strong in traffic for fear of landing on someone? I don't know, I'm just guessing/making excuses at this point.

Last night, I saw one strong move, basically, he used his body to clear his man out and finished off glass from about five feet away. It was a bad camera angle, though, so who knows.

I have seen him dunk, a couple of times, once on a follow, and he seemed to get up fine in those cases.

I just find this whole thing terribly troublesome right now.

We'll find out sooner or later. Hopefully Brand will dispel our concerns once the season gets going.

Iguodala and Miller have started of seasons poorly and finished strong. Hopefully Brand will do the same. But for now, with that huge contract, the concerns are legit.

These stats (as well as 2pt and 3pt FG%) are available at 82games . com

Statman reply to tk76 on Oct 21 at 19:15

I see inside FG% at http://www.82games.com/0809/FGSORT7.HTM but I don't see where they exclude dunks. Including dunks, Iguodala was #1 in the entire NBA in inside FG%, one of my favorite stats from last year ...

"Inside" is a combo of "close", "tips" and "dunks."

So close is inside shots excluding dunks and tips. Tips are so rare they don't effect your percentage much.

The 2pt and 3pt%'s are on a separate table for all players:
www . 82games.com/0809/FGSORT7.HTM

Does anyone think that he may just be tentative right now? Thinking back to how he was playing before he hurt his shoulder (and even how he was playing on the very play that hurt his shoulder) and even when he came back (especially in the Houston game), he didn't seem this earthbound. Maybe he's playing at three-quarter speed until the games start to count?

He may be tentative in the offense, but that does not really explain him not being able to finish inside. Unless he is still protecting the awhiles.

Sean reply to tk76 on Oct 21 at 22:48

This might sound a little crazy, do any of you have this feeling that Brand might end up being the Jim Thome to Speights' Ryan Howard? There are some interesting parallels between the two situations...

I sincerely hope that's not the case, but I suppose it's possible. I wish I could see some old game footage of Brand from before the Achilles injury so I could see how much he's changed.

Ultimately, though, I'm not sure Speights will ever come close to being the defensive player Brand is right now.

Still not pushing the panic button, won't do it...yet.


Alvin reply to Brian on Oct 22 at 7:03

The best (worst) thing about Speights is that he doesn't seem to want to defend at all, let alone be better than Brand.

Sean reply to Brian on Oct 22 at 9:24

I get what you're saying. I guess it comes down to the feeling. CSNPhilly.com has a really good article up about Speights and his work ethic, which is what sort of prompted it.

We can see he has potential monster written all over him. One benefit is that he and Brand could conceivably play together if he improves his d and rebounding.

EugeneBWhitaker reply to Sean on Oct 22 at 22:14

Until Mareese Speights shows growth and development on the defensive end, a dedication to improving more than just his offensive game, he will not even be worthy of starting in an NBA game, let alone replacing perennial (in his prime) all star player like Elton Brand.

All concerns about Speights and his work ethic are still very much in play until he demonstrates commitment and dedication on both ends of the floor.

here I was thinking that this was a good game. well IMO the TEAM play was much better than in the Phoenix game. naturally they got outrebounded, thanks to Brand and Speights. not sure what everyone is expecting from the starters but they just missed shots, there was effort on the offensive end.

We have to remember they had a practice in the morning. Legs may have been heavy last night. First half reminded me of the Nets game. Can't wait to see how this team responds in the regular season. I don't think these preseason games are any kind of indicator. Wonder what the rotation will be like when the real games begin?

My guess on the rotation if the season started tonight:

SD, EB, TY, AI, LW starting
4 minutes left in the first, Kapono for whichever big is either (a) in foul trouble, or (b) tired. Run small for the remainder of the first quarter, unless someone else gets in foul trouble.

Start second quarter with Speights up front and Green in backcourt. Probably MS, EB, JK, AI, WG

That's your 8-man rotation. Then he mixes in Jason Smith and Jrue/Royal halfway through the second quarter.

The only thing I have no way of being able to estimate is where Carney fits in. Supposedly, he's going to play Friday, but the injury has to have dropped him down the depth chart, right?

10-man rotation would be

1. AI
2. Thad
3. EB
4. Lou
5. Sam
6. Kapono
7. Speights
8. Willie
9. J. Smith
10. Ivey/Jrue

That sounds good to me.

I certainly hope Ivey is the 10th man, but he has been starting the 2nd quarters next to Green so far. That can't continue much longer.

I'm guessing Carney's limitted handle means he could play with AI/Green, but not with Green/Kapono or Green/Young.

iggypop on Oct 22 at 5:48


Lou williams has been undersized since the minute he has come into the league. He is athletic in the sense that he can get up but it's because he has no bulk...i saw randy foye just abuse his ass on a drive into the lane...and lou just got pushed out.

iggy's shot does look good.

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