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Let the Brand Bashing Begin

deepsixersuede on Oct 30 at 8:09

Brian, I am still holding out hope that all this is to keep Sam interested early and get him to buy in before they start to go to Elton, like you say.Sam!s strength is just catching a lob pass from the weak side and not having to do much, while Elton is supposed to be a guy who can faccilitate the offense with the ball in his hands, right now they are NOT in the right roles.But there are a few things worrying me:Elton, though not a rookie had something to prove this preseason; the teams we played had weak p.f.!s for the most part:and finally maybe it isn!t our coaches fault and maybe his teammates don!t have confidence in him getting open and making a play; this last part I hope is not true, we have heard all good things but if he can!t attack the likes of Yi and R.Anderson than that may be the case.

Good point about his teammates. There was a possession where he was literally clapping for the ball and Iguodala and Thad just ignored him. He wasn't in the post or anywhere near a make-able shot, so I don't think it was that big of a deal, but still.

I agree that switching Brand to Sam's position on the offense makes sense. Honestly, I have not seen enough of the old Brand to know his ideal position on the floor. He seems to want it in deep, but I thought he was supposed to be a bit more effective 10-15 feet out, facing up his man.

He definitely looks lost once he is more than 17ft from the basket- on both ends of the floor. Should be interesting to see how he and the team adapt. I will always wonder if they could have really clicked last year had the should not killed his season. He certainly showed some signs of rounding into form.

Yeah, that stretch right before the shoulder injury is pretty much what I'm clinging to now. I mean, nothing has happened between then and now that should've sapped his explosiveness, other than rust. Right?

The fact that Orlando doubled might have much more to do with 1. Ryan Anderson was his defender and 2. teams still not respecting our outside shooting and baiting us to take threes than them really being concerned with Elton Brand inside.

I'd wait a few more games before I would believe teams are going to immediately double Elton (or double at all) before he proves he deserves to be again.

Besides that I question whether the players on this roster will ever be capable of running this read and react offense successfully (i.e. killing teams who double in the post).

The hardest thing for the brain to do is unlearn. And we have a team full of guys that need to unlearn standing and watching offensively.

Most of the time the ball went inside no one was cutting they just stood and watched. Sam took 8 shots in his first 16 minutes of action (18per36 because he would get it look see everyone starring and doing nothing so he shot it. More often than should have happened our bigs got the ball in the post and went one-on-one out of pure necessity. Time will tell but I am not optimistic even a little bit.

I think all the Elton Brand stuff is overblown anyway. Right now he sucks. And I will say that and write that until he proves otherwise. It's less about giving up on him and more about talking about the moment.

The answer to whether he can turn it around can only be maybe. But right now he stinks in general and really stinks in relation to the strangle hold his contract has on this organization right now.

Optimist will hold out hope and the glass half empty group will be more guarded with their hope but really the answer can only be maybe he will get better. But is it likely?

The point about "unlearning" is a good one. Athletes can look horrible if they are having to think to much about the scheme they are trying to execute. But once it becomes internalized they can free themselves to play to there potential.

For someone like Iguodala, Thad or even Jrue this can be the difference between looking like a bad player and a great one (although who knows this early w/Jrue.) As for Brand, the issues run deeper, beyond just his touches or the scheme. The bigger red flag is seeing how he struggles to finish in close in traffic. If he can't finish when he gets a good look in close then he really has limited upside.

It's not really about being optimistic at this point, it's about perspective. The team has played one game, against the best defensive team in the league last year, under a new system, and honestly, scoring wasn't their problem. The starters did a fine job of putting the ball in the hoop, when they were on the floor as a unit to start the game and start the third.

It wasn't pretty, and I thought the movement was poor, but they were effective and efficient against all odds.

As for Brand, again, I'm not optimistic, but I think it's way too early to judge. Honestly, Garnett looked more earthbound than Brand did in Boston's game against Cleveland and I haven't seen one story written about him being washed up.

Pessimism: Brand = CWebb = Ruland

Webber was really productive after his physical skills left him (before he got to Philly). My fear is that he winds up like Corliss Williamson when he was with the Sixers. Under-sized four with a low-post game, but only really effective when he had a size advantage, which didn't happen often because he was undersized.

No stories were written about Garnett because chances are many/most don't share your opinion of the situation. But more so because even if he was more earthbound than his former self or Brand he was still effective (13-10, 3 blocks on 50% shooting against the 2nd best defensive team last season) , unlike Brand. I would take those numbers from Brand right now. Don't really care as much about how he looks care about the production.

Judging someone on the merits of their current play seems just fine to me. He wasn't good in the preseason and wasn't good in the first game. If he doesn't stink tonight or the next game he should be judged equally as well on good play. When half a season or more goes by a more concrete, overall judgment of him as a whole can be made.

Funny thing is we are only talking about this because it's bad play we are talking about. If he played really well in the preseason and the first game I doubt people would be saying oh it's only been one game.

I was optimistic in general coming into the season but you probably knew that.

Eh, perspective works both ways. Had they beaten he Magic I wouldn't be saying they're going to win the championship.

I don't think we're really disagreeing here. Bigger sample size needed to evaluate him as a player, completely fair to judge his play on a game-by-game basis.

Oh I know you wouldn't have. But you know some of the rabid fans would have been overly fired up with optimism.

Let me get your opinion on this piece by Tom Moore regarding Eddie Jordan's thoughts on the defense against the Magic.

Also 20-25 games is your typical evaluation period for a player and the team a like. Meaning at that point you feel good one way or the other with the direction and prospects of the club?

I think 20-25 should typically be enough time for a player to knock the rust off. For a team, probably half a season is better, but this is a different set of circumstances. I don't really know what the proper learning curve is for the PO and how the level of familiarity is going to affect the productivity. Tough question.

I will say this, we shouldn't need more than half a season to know what this team is defensively, barring major personnel changes (like starting Jrue).

I don't agree with Jordan's take on the Orlando game at all. I saw the same exact problems the team had last season with perimeter defense. The wrong guys were helping, they were over-helping, and no one was rotating to the shooters. If anything, they seemed to have regressed from the good job they did for most of the first-round series with Orlando.

I think the organization is fully prepared to use the "new coach, new system" excuse for the entire season, if need be.

It's hard for me to accept the fact that there is something physically wrong with Elton. The video Brian posted during the summer and the two times I've seen him on the court tell me he is in great physical shape. From what I've heard, people usually make a full recovery when suffering a torn Achilles. Also, I would imagine that "only" playing 38 games the last two seasons would have positive net effect on Brand's age and ability to produce. 30 years of age turns into 28 basketball years.

My great hope is that getting Brand into "basketball" shape is a matter of playing time. He hasn't had a whole lot of that yet. I'm willing to give him more time.

Oh, and we're only 1 game into the season... Something to keep in mind.

anonymous on Oct 30 at 11:27

I live in Colorado so I have not seen that much of the Sixers so far but here is my take.

The Princeton Offense traditionally gives a 4 0ut - 1 In look to start the offense, so 4 guys on the perimeter.

Steve Smith on an NBA.com preview mentioned that he thought it was a bad idea to have Brand and Dalembert in the game running this offense. He felt Antawn Jamison, in Washington, could shoot the ball well enough from the outside to stretch the defense while playing the 4 spot. Maybe Speights will develop into that role? Neither Brand or Dalembert are threatening outside of 20'.

Now those 4 perimeter guys can move/backdoor/cut but if we can't shoot the ball we can't stretch the defense which eliminates a lot of options since the defense will sag back. It can go into a 3 out - 2 in set after the offense starts but I haven't watched closely enough to analyze what the Sixers are doing.

No half-court offense will work efficiently if the players can't shoot from the outside.
This has been our problem for awhile.
The bodies in the NBA are so big that the driving lanes disappear quickly if the defenders know you have limited range and our 1 shooter, Kapono, can't drive to the rim.

I think developing a defensive lockdown mindset and pushing the tempo hard is our best option. Use Carney and Holiday off the bench to create a faster pace. Use more players on the bench as fresh legs. Both Iggy and Thad are much more effective in a wide open game. Maybe Kapono could get a lot of secondary break open looks?

Let's see what this offense looks like heading into November. I'm sure Jordan will begin to adjust the offense as the team gets more live game action. Reading and reacting comes with experience.

Defense should be the big concern.

Completely agree that defense is the biggest concern. It's been my biggest concern since Jordan was hired, to be honest with you.

The 4 out 1 in thing is interesting. If you think about how Sacto used to run this offense, it was more like 3 out, 2 in with Webber at the high post and Vlade down low. That may be something worth exploring.

As for perimeter shooting, I think they're definitely improved from last year, the degree of the improvement remains to be seen.

Defense should be the biggest concern because lousy offense at stage is almost a given since they don't know the offense well enough to play it instinctively.

On the flip side they should have the makings of a good defensive a rebounding team (aside from Lou and Speights.) And if their defense fails them they are going to have a lousy first few months of the year.

Real and Speightacular on Oct 30 at 12:46

Might it be time to trot out the blasphemous: make Brand option number one on the second team, replace with Speights; not necessarily because Marreese is "better" (yet), but just because it provides better balance for the whole team. It sure looks like that's the way things should probably settle out next season anyway, why not get rollin on that now since we can safely assume they're not going too deep into the playoffs (assuming they get that far) this season.

Just sayin.

I don't think I'd go that far. Still hammering on the fact that the Sixers have the personnel to be an elite defensive team, and that's what they should be striving for.

That being said, if anything's going to happen with the starting lineup, I'd expect Speights to be moved in for Dalembert, rather than Brand.

BTW, forgot to mention that Jordan actually let Sammy pick up a fifth personal foul in game one, something Tony DiLeo did exactly 4 times in the 58 regular season games he coached last season. I'll take that as a good sign.

I don't know how much of what that guy says should be believed, but it sickens me that I find every word believable. How many fans do you think the NBA lost in this scandal, and by their failure to address the scandal's impact on the integrity of the game?

I don't know. A lot of fans feel like all of the leagues are somewhat "fixed" for economic reasons. For example, home field advantage is usually more than just the fans cheering.

I also know a lot of people who aren't fans anymore because they started viewing the NBA like professional wrestling.

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