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38 Minutes of Hell

Sam pulled off a reverse Hakeem Dream Shake that absolutely froze Duncan... never thought I'd see that.

Agree that Jrue did a MUCH better job on Parker than Willie. Same thing in the Boston game on Rondo (except down the stretch.) The fact that he can take driving PG's out of there game for extended stretches is very promising. But he still needs to get his scoring game to where he makes the opposing PG work on both ends.

Also thought the team when away from Thad when he had it going. Iguodala flat out refused to pass it to him in the post on several possessions.

I saw that, not sure what was going in (the Thad thing).

Jrue did a really good job going to the hoop on Parker twice early, once he blew the layup, the second time he backed him to like 5-feet from the hoop and just shot a baby hook over him. Those are the types of shots he needs to take. Liked the fifteen-footer on the break also, defense completely sagged down, he just dribbled in until he was comfortable and drained it.

The corner three he missed, he didn't have his feet set when caught the pass, momentum was going away from the hoop. Bad shot there. Out on the break after stripping Duncan he tried to avoid the contact, went up soft and missed the layup, another bad shot.

He is killing me. I have a few pet peeves, and insulting my intelligence is one of them. Their whole approach is just moronic and self-sabotaging.

How hard is it to teach a team to deny penetration, lock on designated shooters, force drivers to the baseline, and either force TOs or crash the boards for the miss? Not hard, really. If you care about that kind of thing.

I'd love to ask Stefanski one question: You have a solid defensive team that has issues on offense but some useful strengths, if you have a guy who is supposed to be an offensive guru but blames his defensive issues at his last gig on "personnel/injuries, if that same coach marginally improves your offense while torpedoing your defense to the bottom of the league with the EXACT same issues/flaws as his previous jobs, at what point do you call it quits? You've already seen how the movie will play out. The guy has a losing record for a reason.

This month has been the worst I've felt about the team since before Stackhouse. As a wise man said, its all about player development for me and hoping the kids survive Dumb & Dumber.

Its interesting how they left Sam on an Island to guard Duncan, and yet they still did not stay with shooters.

Some of this was due to Parker's penetration, but mostly just poor execution of very basic defense. They just wander a step too far from their men. Very correctable with coaching and reps... if they have the right coaches.

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Sean reply to tk76 on Nov 30 at 1:43
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Agreed. They lack systemic accountability on defense. Plus, the coach does not demand it from them during the game. It is a suggestion, a polite nicety, but not a firm demand with consequences.

Apparently, the only thing he says is protect the paint. They have the talent to be so much better defensively. The Eddies have turned the Sixers into a less offensively gifted version of the Warriors, it is so ugly.

Well, the coach does punish one guy whenever he makes a mistake.

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Sean reply to Brian on Nov 30 at 2:01
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Do you think the team might do another blogger meet again soon? Man, the things that would be said...

I have a feeling blogger access will be at a minimum until something good happens.

I see this defensive system kind of like a game of jenga, you can have weaknesses in some areas, sometimes and it won't kill you, but the PG guarding the ball is the critical piece. If he gets torched, you have four other guys sagging down to help out. It's a stupid principle no matter how you slice it, but it's suicidal when you're talking about a team with Willie Green and Lou Williams guarding the point.

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Sean reply to Brian on Nov 30 at 2:33
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It is kind of ironic; they have the same flaws now that Jim OBrien's team did, but for different reasons. JOB's 3-point shooting defense and def rebounding issues were purely structural. The whole protect the paint/front the post thing.

Meanwhile, Jordan has the "paint protect" thing but his rebounding issues come from his love of offense and small lineups.

Makes me want to look at the stats for when the Sixers or Indiana played the Wizards, especially Indiana. Probably set three-point records or should've

So the Atlantic is clearly the worst division in basketball. Check this out, Boston has won 4 straight games, the other 4 teams in the division have lost 31 consecutive games, combined.

The thing that may stop the Sixers from finishing with a high lottery pick is playing 12 games against TOR, NYK and NJN. They're already 3-0 in those games.

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Sean reply to Brian on Nov 30 at 2:34
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I was looking at that earlier. The Raptors have bragging rights with their 3-game losing streak.

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Jeff reply to Sean on Nov 30 at 6:07
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hahaha, bragging rights...

My favorite play of the night was toward the end of the game with Iguodala had a nice steal on Parker (his defense on him was beautiful) then drove down the court and back-flipped it to Willie Green for the bricked-three-pointer. My second favorite play was when they got an offensive rebound (I forget exactly when), Green had the ball at the key and instead of trying to set up another play he immediately shot a bricked-three pointer.
He should never, ever, ever be allowed to shoot a three. And every time I see him make a couple of shots and actually play well offensively for a couple of minutes, I know it's a harbinger for disaster as he begins to dream up contested jumpers.
Ivey should never be allowed to play in a basketball game.
I am officially joining the "fire Jordan" campaign.

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deepsixersuede on Nov 30 at 8:25
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When Bonner was killing us with 3!s, Thad was ignored down the other end in an obvious mismatch, like he was frozen out; a real p.g., even L.Will. wouldv!e lokked for him. Sam was a beast, and for the first time in a long time, is showing improvement offensively. Iggy just looked overpowering in the 4th. Good news: Thibedoux is still available when we change coaches again, I think he would love to coach some of these guys !!

Playing to just hang in, not to win. Willie started? Couldn't have Sammy/Jason on Duncan/McDyess? Don't get it.
Did I Sammy get the shot coming out of a timeout in the 4th qtr or did I imagine that?

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Statman reply to sfw on Nov 30 at 10:56
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I was actually okay with starting Thad at PF because McDyess at this point is neither a low post threat nor a rebounding monster. Thad obviously got off to a quick start against McDyess. However, I wouldn't have started Green at SG; it would have been better to have Carney at SF and Iguodala at SG. (On the other hand, Carney really struggled in this game, other than two lay-ups on the break.)

I would have thought after last year's game in SA that Thad would have tattooed "Stick with Bonner" on his arm, but no such luck. There was one play in the 3rd Q when Parker dribbled around a pick by Duncan at the 3-point line, with Dalembert and whoever the PG was (Holiday or Green) in-between Parker and the basket. Thad took two steps toward a play that was already defended and left Bonner a wide-open three.

I like that Thad is always quick to help on defense (he rotates as well as anyone else on the roster), but he's got to use better judgment, at least think about who his primary assignment is.

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Alvin reply to Statman on Nov 30 at 12:27
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When McDyess plays against us, he becomes a rebounding monster. Especially if he gets matched up with Thad/Carney/Kapono.

We've had bad teams before, but I've never felt so frustrated with our coach for such patently obvious reasons. Now I understand how Clippers fans feel with Dunleavy coaching. Except our owner isn't a sleazeball who doesn't care about winning... at least I didn't think so... How long will we have to wait for EJ to get fired? A year? Two years? Till his contract runs out? Does Stefanski need to get fired too before a good coach comes in? The beginning of this season is definitely the most depressing era of Sixers basketball that I've experienced. I'd rather root for Spoon and the scrubs that played with him.

I copied my part of comments on the last blog:

I refuse to go to the Wachovia if Willie Green starts. I will not give them 1 penny of my money. And, as I asked Brian, I doubt Jordan gets fired even if he goes 0-17 like the Nets have this year. I am a true DEPRESSED FAN!

I feel your pain, Brian!

Despite squeaking out 5 wins against horrible teams the Sixers still have the 4th worst record in the NBA.

Any chance they finish in the bottom 5? I still think they end up somewhere around 9th worst... but if they really are bad enough to be bottom 5 then they have a legit shot at adding a future star to their young, relatively talented roster.

I'm not talking about "tanking." But maybe they really are that bad? And maybe, given they have some talented 19-15 year old players, that is not such a bad thing. Better than purgatory (12th-17th pick every year) if you ask me.

Iguodala was on his way to a good shooting game (6-10) when he went shot-happy at the end of the 3rd (5 straight misses and 1 of 2 FT). Unfortunately, that was right around the time that the Spurs were breaking it open (from 70-68 to 80-70). One problem is that he was trying to be the primary playmaker as well as the primary scorer, which has worked very few times in NBA history (Tiny Archibald?). On the plus side, it was the 3rd game out of 4 with 8 FT attempts for Iguodala. Let's hope that trend continues.

One Iguodala trend I hope does not continue is his overanxiousness on the break. Other teams are starting to realize what he's doing on the coast-to-coast forays (just like Miller last year), and Iguodala needs to trust his wings and make the "safe" pass earlier. He did it a couple times (safe passes to Thad and Carney for lay-ups). Three of his four turnovers came on the break, and he lost control of his dribble a couple other times to stop breaks. One step slower (and more in control) will go a long way, I think.

Someone mentioned last week that Thad's turnover rate in transition was unbelievably high as well. With the way Iguodala mercilessly pushes the ball up through heavy traffic after grabbing a defensive board, you'd expect him to turn the ball over at a higher rate than usual, but he's just been off with his decision making for the past couple of games. I still think it just comes down to pressing, trying to do too much. He's supposed to be the man, his team is playing like crap, he's trying to do everything he can to right the ship. Not a bad quality to have in a player, but he needs to focus it better.

I just took a look at his stat line for the season, it's pretty amazing. He's closing in on 18/7/6 on pitiful shooting numbers. If/when he gets his FG% back north of 45%, which I'm confident he will, we could easily be talking 20/7/6, though I have my doubts that these rebounding numbers are sustainable.

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Statman reply to Brian on Nov 30 at 11:43
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On the pass over Carney's head in the 4th, it was the right decision, just terrible execution. That was one case where if Iguodala had passed it earlier, the play would have had a better chance of succeeding (part of what I meant by "trusting" his wings more). Funny thing was, until the last couple games, his assist-to-turnover ratio was a career high (over 2). Maybe Lou's presence meant more than we realize ...

I think the 7 RPG is sustainable if they continue to play small lineups >:-( and Thad keeps putting up 3 rebounds in 40 minutes >:-( >:-(

Two quick points about Willie and Jrue ...

I thought Willie played acceptably while he was driving the ball. He is certainly not consistent enough to be an outside gunner like he was in the 2nd half, but his stocky build allows him to get off shots in the lane (or get fouled) when he chooses to penetrate. On defense, he's the classic tweener: too slow to guard the better PGs, two short to guard the better SGs.

Regarding Jrue, I thought his best moments on offense came in the two post-up moves on Parker. With experience, he might be able to do what Andre Miller does/did effectively in the post, use his strength and size advantages on opposing PGs. But he's got to learn to maintain control after contact, something all the Sixers are still learning (Thad, Carney, even Iguodala -- the best at this is ironically Lou).

Lou seeks it out and bounces off the contact, something I believe he learned watching Iverson. Thad is a tough case, his inside game is predicated upon using slippery moves to avoid contact and get shots off clean. I'm not sure what you can do to change that. I think Iguodala's problem is that he looks out of control a lot of the time, even when he isn't. He definitely draws contact at a high rate, but he doesn't get as many whistles as he should because refs are hesitant to reward out-of-control play.

Agree on Jrue posting up Parker. That's solid offense he's going to be able to get any time he's got a smaller PG on him and Iguodala at the SG.

Yeah. I go back and forth on whether Thad's "inability" to get to the line is a problem or not. His ability to finish is so good, even against significantly taller competition, I'm not sure I would want him to change his style.

Igudoala's just never had the body control or touch to consistently finish around the hoop. It's gotten better, marginally, but I don't think it will ever be good. That (almost as much as his first step and range) is what will forever keep him from being a true #1 option offensively.

Lou I think is the best on the team at finishing. He not only has great body control, but anticipates contact the best.

I thought the first quarter Willie played well. From there it was all downhill, and he was brutal towards the end.

Defensively, I had issues with Willie all night. Overall, he was passable when he was at the two, atrocious when he was at the point.

Iguodala's finishing at the rim improved considerably last season, he started finishing with his left and I think he stopped concentrating on getting the fouls called (which led to him looking out of control) and started focusing on converting the hoops whether there was contact or not. He needs to get back to that.

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Statman reply to Derek Bodner on Nov 30 at 12:33
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One interesting stat about Iguodala last year was that his eFG on "close" shots (inside shots that were not dunks) was 56.5%. This led to his overall inside eFG/FG% of 72%, best in the NBA. This year, his eFG on "close" shots has gone all the way down to 43.4%, accounting for his overall drop in FG% and eFG (his jump shot eFG is the same as last year's). From January or so to the end of last year, he was excellent at finishing around the basket, not sure why he's been so much worse to start this year. (Interesting theory: Mike Gorman of the Celtics' announcing team noticed that Iguodala had lost some weight, which seems possible -- maybe that has to do with not being able to finish as well?)

If I had to guess, I'd say it's approach more than anything. He's more concerned with getting calls than he is with finishing. I saw the same thing in him early last season and he didn't truly start to score efficiently until that switch flipped. I'm hoping it happens sooner rather than later this season.

Per the media, Lou has worked with coaches on finishing after absorbing contact. He always had the skill and body control, but it is an example of how coaching can maximize a players talents.

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Alvin reply to tk76 on Nov 30 at 12:54
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If anyone needs coaching on absorbing contact it's Thad. Apart from getting people to pass him the damn ball, it's the reluctance to take contact that's the only other thing stopping him from 20 PPG.

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JohnMagee reply to Alvin on Nov 30 at 13:21
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What's stopping him from getting rebounds, assists, or steals?

He does average 1.2 steals per game for his career. That's certainly not bad.

Assists will come with 2 things:
1) Improved ballhandling
2) Being more involved offensively.

Assists are typically tied directly to usage %. The fact that Young's assists have gone up but his usage% down shows some progression in his passing ability. Once Thad hits his prime I expect about 3-3.5 apg, which will be solid, although not spectacular. I don't have much problem with his passing right now.

Rebounding's terrible. I have no excuse for that.

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Alvin reply to JohnMagee on Nov 30 at 13:35
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That one's too hard to answer. I guess we can call him the anti-Iggy then - no assists, no rebounds, but can score efficiently.

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JohnMagee reply to Alvin on Nov 30 at 13:40
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14.8 ppg on 12.4 shots per game barely above 3 FT attempts per game (and making less than 70% of them)

I'm not sure I'd call that efficient.

It ain't willie green, but it ain't good either

PPS is a bad metric that overweights the efficiency of free throws. A career TS% of 55.3% is very good for a wing player.

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JohnMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Nov 30 at 13:45
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But it's a good metric to see how bad they are at getting to the FT line...

Except that your post said "I'm not sure i'd call that efficient".

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JohnMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Nov 30 at 14:06
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I still wouldn't call him efficient...in fact after looking at some 82games.com numbers I think his impact on the team is pretty inefficient

Perhaps this year. Last year he was one of the more efficient (and effective) players on the team, in any measure (PER differential, on/off, roland rating).

Way to small of a sample size to throw out his previous production, especially considering it appears that he's come out of his slump (and it's also worth noting that 82games.com is missing 2 games worth of data).

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JohnMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Nov 30 at 17:23
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So - my point is dismissed because of small sample size and yet 2 games is enough of a sample to be out of a slump.

Let's try something.

The Sky Is Blue

He's averaging 20 ppg on 57% shoooting in his last 5 games. 5 games, not 2.

And 5 games is generally indicative of a trend in the NBA. 17 games is not enough to override 2 years of previous production and declare a player inefficient.

Which of those do you disagree with?

I actually think PPS is a very important stat when you're talking about a guy whose main (only?) contributions is scoring the ball. Especially a wing, there are three ways to get this number over 1.00, you can shoot a really high percentage from the field, get to the line (and hit your free throws) a lot, or you can shoot the three efficiently. If you aren't doing one or at least two of those things as an offensive specialist, you really aren't helping your team much at all.

Points per possession (0 for a turnover, 2 for an assist) would probably be an even better measure, and would take usage rate into account, at least tangentially.

I agree that efficiency is important for a guy like Thad, I disagree that PPS is an accurate way of portraying that, as a foul is not portrayed as a shot.

TS% was developed pretty much as a means to take that into account.

PTS / (2 * (FGA + 0.44 * FTA))

Yeah, I get the logic behind TS%, but it's essentially telling you the same thing as PPS, only it takes missed free throws into account. I see PPS as a more raw look at points produced and it just feels more tangible to me, and bottom line when I'm looking at scoring and nothing else, the only thing that matters to me is the bottom line of points produced. PPS is going to skew heavily in favor of a guy like Shaq in his prime, even if he was only hitting 50% of his foul shots, but I don't really have a problem with that for these purposes. I'd prefer to have a guy who shoots 44% from the floor and makes 4 free throws/game to having a guy shoot 50% and never gets to the line, for several reasons, even if the first guy is 4/8 from the line. If that makes sense.

"Yeah, I get the logic behind TS%, but it's essentially telling you the same thing as PPS, only it takes missed free throws into account"

Not really, because again the free throws (missed or made) aren't being counted as a possession. PPS to me is flawed unless you're talking about possession. how many points were generated per field goal attempt to me is a stat that doesn't paint the whole picture, I want to know how many points are generated per possession.

If a guy gets 8 field goal attempts, making 3, and has 4 possessions where he's fouled and makes 6 of 8 free throws, he's scored 12 points on 8 field goal attempts, or 1.5 points per shot. But it took him 12 possessions to get those 12 points, and that's not really efficient scoring.

PPS overvalues getting to the line because it doesn't deal with possessions, only with field goal attempts. TS% goes a long way to fixing that, IMO.

Personally, I see the guy in your example as infinitely more valuable than a guy who takes twelve shots to get twelve points and never gets to the line. I'm fine with overvaluing free throw attempts because I think getting to the line serves a larger purpose in the team game, and needs to be factored into offensive production and efficiency.

For example, an and-one is more valuable than a three-point shot. Two made free throws is more valuable than a dunk. You add team fouls, inching closer to the penalty, and personal fouls which could weaken the other team in a number of ways.

I get what you're saying, and I think TS% is a useful stat, but when I'm looking at players and trying to gauge how good of a scorer they are, I start with PPS to see how far above 1.00 the player is, then I go to usage, then I go to TS%.

I said getting to the line is overvalued (in terms of PPS), not that it's without value.

(a guy with a good TS% wouldn't take 12 shots to get 12 points, btw)

My point was that PPS can make an inefficient scorer who gets to the line look more efficient than he is, not that free throws are irrelevant. Ideally a guy would have efficiency, a long range game, AND get to the line.

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Statman reply to Alvin on Nov 30 at 14:11
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Iguodala career TS% is 56.1, which is higher than Thad's. It's a myth that he can't score efficiently. If you said that he can't score on jump shots efficiently or that he isn't scoring efficiently this year, that's a different story.


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