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Willie, Willie, Willie?

ItAintEZ on Dec 13 at 9:00

I am not that one Willie fan that you speak of, but on some level I kind of feel for the guy. He gets killed all the time for his play or lack there of. The truth is, as we all know, that he is nothing more than a 10-15 mpg bench player. The problem is the coaches never seem to see it this way. The only thing I can figure is the guy must really "get after it" at practice and that clouds the coaches judgement. If it was just Jordan I could understand but this has been going on for years now. I can't blame Willie for not changing the way he plays since his coaches are telling him they like what he does by giving him playing time night after night.

To me the day Willie is put in his proper roll is the day we start heading in the right direction.

The Greek on Dec 13 at 10:12

Hey Brian, as a die hard Sixers lifer like does it make me a bad person if I am rooting for some sort of injury that will take out Willie Greene for this year and maybe next season? I can't stand watching this guy anymore. I know of one Sixers fan from another blog, so there is one out there for certain.

Fagan's article doesn't seem to be anywhere on Philly.Com......and the front page of the Sports section has been completely scrubbed of ANY mention or picture of the sixers....even the bar on the right......and the sixer's page does not include Fagan's article as of 8 am PCT.

ItAintEZ on Dec 13 at 11:42

Willies is just taking time away from Holiday(defense/growth), Kapono(shooting) and Carney(defense/shooting). That is a major issue. Those guys should be getting his minutes.

Love that article. Finally, his deficiencies as a coach are being called out in the media.

This was the most objective, factual piece of writing I have seen all year. This is the root of all Sixers problems. I suppose it won't change unless the coach is relieved.

It was a good writing, though, it would have been a better indictment to complement those stats with defensive rating, which is even more stark and glaring. Still, the fact that the conversation is starting is a good thing.

Thus far, the Sixers ineptness has flown under the radar of the Nets poor start, and then the Bulls losing run which featured them being absolutely blasted the majority of the time(as opposed to the Sixers staying within shouting distance in most games while losing).

However, once this streak gets into the Teens(likely with the Warriors deep bombers coming to town and Green or Iverson being asked to guard Ellis and/or Curry for stretches), then national attention might be turned to it.

I think using defensive rating would have been ineffective to the audience. Blogs like this have a targeted audience, but the majority of fans would just roll their eyes and move on from defensive rating, because it's not a stat they instantly recognize, and the majority of them won't be bothered to look it up.

Pointing out the Sixers historical place in certain categories is more effective for the audience, IMO.

True, but additional explanation could work, especially since it was a Sunday column, providing more space for exposition.

I guess the real reason I'd prefer her to have used Def Rating & PPG as opposed to just PPG is not so much her audience, but rather I don't wont to provide Jordan any room for verbal gymnastic blame-shifts by involving pace in his "response," if there is one.

She already gave him one out by pointing out the Sixers "lack" of scoring(when their off rating is not that different from what they've been doing).

Great research as usual. Speaks to what everybody knows: Green is a situational 2-guard sometimes useful with a certain cast of players.

deepsixersuede reply to rswknight on Dec 13 at 18:16

I always thought a Willie for Redick trade worked because surrounded by shooters his attack the basket style may have worked.

When talking about why the Sixers can't defend this year:

"The first answer that springs to mind is the Princeton offense: That thing casts a mighty wide shadow and gobbles an awful lot of practice time. The second answer is that Jordan, never known as a defensive coach, has seemed particularly overcommitted to the offensive side. The third is the rotations, which tend to exclude the team's best defenders and are often, at the end of games, much smaller than the opponent's."

Great article

Court_visioN on Dec 13 at 14:09


It's funny, in the preseason a lot of us were like hey Willie looks better backing up the point guard because he's getting guys set up and not jacking up as many bad shots. Sometime between then and now, either because Jordan told him to or the stupid light in Willie's head flickered and died he's putting up bad shots at the PG position. To his credit defensively, he does "get after it" and "plays hard" but the fact of the matter is he's just not a great on-the-ball defensive player. Off the ball defense is more about persistence and Willie has that, he just doesn't have the lateral quickness to stay with guys attacking the rim.

Unexpectedly hard-hitting piece. If people still read newspapers, it might even have had a little impact.

I think Willie is less of a defensive liability against some 2-guards, because not all 2-guards penetrate consistently. Richard Hamilton, for example, is not going to kill you with penetration, and Willie has had some of his best defensive games against Hamilton. The bigger problem for Willie in defending 2-guards is his lack of height, plus his horrible off-the-ball defense. (Long before Thad became known for overhelping, I called it the "Willie special" -- helping out on a penetrator and leaving his man, usually a deadly shooter, wide open for a 3. I think I coined the term after Morris Peterson lit up Willie for 18 in the 1st quarter a couple seasons ago.)

In the interest of balancing my comments, I do want to point out that Willie played a pretty good floor game (other than his shooting) against Houston. He made some very nice set-ups off penetration, and he fought hard for a couple rebounds. He also did a better job than Iverson at keeping Aaron Brooks out of the lane.

deepsixersuede reply to Statman on Dec 13 at 18:20

He seemed to improve his floor game decision making last year but , for whatever reason is back to his bad shot taking ways, maybe the result of L.Will. being out or our knucklehead coach.

FYI, the 82games PER differential confirms your numbers. He is outproducing his man when at SG:

PER differential +5.7 at SG, -8.3 at PG. Hard to fathom.

Last year his PER differential at SG was -0.5, due to below average offense but above average defense (according to the PER numbers.)

The one thing that confuses me is why they are dramatically worse defensively with Willie at the one. I know his ball pressure sucks, but isn't it doing less harm than playing him at the two and pairing him with the Lou/AI turd sandwich defensively. Plus shouldn't our rebounding be better with a bigger lineup on the floor? Could it be Willie's ability to overhelp from the top of the key (at the point) like Jordan loves to and handling more pick and rolls from on the ball defense. Obviously the offense will suffer if he has the ball in his hands at the start of the possession. I'm just a little confused about defense though.

BTW, Willie actually is a very nice guy. I saw him on the street picking up his dry cleaning once and I was staggered by the fact that a. He's not that big and b. He's a nice guy. I wanted him to do well after that but it's so freakin obvious that him playing really hurts the team (Especially the last three years with these huge minutes).

That's the thing, Willie is often at the point and paired with Kapono and/or Carney and Smith inside. So his lack of ball pressure is magnified by the lack on defense on the floor.

Questions are finally popping up regarding Jordan's job security. The usual denials of course, but hey, the words are in print. Are the walls caving in?


Why is it you can find these stats but Jaws ( the guy from James Bond) can't? You can't blame Willie for being Willie when the coach puts him in the wrong situation. He's a reserve SG not a PG. Jordan just loves the small lineup more than he likes good defense. Basicly it boils down to Willie has a better offencive game than Holiday right now.

JohnMagee reply to Smittyboy on Dec 14 at 10:45

Yes willies game is more offensive than Jrue Holidays.

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