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Thad's Disappearing Act

Just a guess but if he's really hot in the first half the other team probably game plans to shut him down in the 2nd. Thad doesn't have the handle to shake guys getting in his grill and isn't a primary ball handler so even when he would be in decent position can't get the ball.

I'm not sure what is into him lately but his rebounding has *really* improved. If his defense would just pick up too.

IMO, I'd say he gets frozen out by the playcalling. He plays more like a big than a small and needs the ball brought to him. Iguodala can initiate and create his own offense. Thad becomes a part of the offense when they call his play to get him the ball on the block or the elbow. Because EJ's offense features less off-ball movement then Mo/Dileo, then those "don't need plays" points Thad used to get have sort of dried up.

As we directly witnessed on Saturday, EJ will call a complicated mess of unnecessary motion rather then simplicity when simplicity is really what's needed. How many times down the stretch and in OT did they go through umpteen different things before finally giving Speights the ball on the block with time to make a smart agressive move? Seems like they are still running faux-PO crap at times, too.

[quote]That sums up the what pretty well. Now I want to know what you guys think the why is. Why does Thad drop off? The numbers are right there, this isn't an illusion[/quote]

It's compelling ,but I'm not sure I'm ready to call that a fact yet, particularly the effectiveness. 64 fourth quarter field goal attempts are low enough that it could be something tangible, or it could be bad luck on a couple of shots that rimmed in and out.

It sums up what has happened, but I don't think it's necessarily predictive. The shooting percentages etc. are merely a loose way to determine if cutting down his attempts is possibly a good idea, because his production trails off as the game goes on.

Of course, you can't really make that assumption unless you take into account whether or not Thad is a rhythm player. Take the Clippers or Boston games for example. The guy is red hot in the first half, then doesn't get a shot (and rarely a touch), until he's needed to convert a big opportunity late in the fourth or overtime. Is it really fair to expect the guy to shoot a good percentage when he hasn't taken a shot in an hour?

JohnEMagee on Dec 21 at 9:39

Not sure you can freeze out a guy who doesn't usually have plays called for him...who knows what the reason is, but maybe it's just Thad gets tired?

This is one of those things where we all know it's there, just don't know why

Looking at the stats, every shooting statistic for Thad goes down quarter by quarter (except for overall shooting % from first to second). When your three point percentage is going down by 27% and your free throw percentage is also going down by 23.5% by the time the 4th rolls around, my first reaction is that Thad loses his legs by the fourth. You have to have spring under your jump shots and even your free throws to keep a consistent rhythm to your stroke. Shaq is (almost) the worst free throw shooter on earth because more often than not he stands there stiff knee'd and chucks the ball.

Secondly, like we saw Saturday night, Thad isn't getting his shots in situations that give him and the Sixers the best chance for a bucket. Not that he needs complicated sets run for him, but maybe getting him the ball 12 ft away in the post instead of 25 ft away with 8 seconds on the clock.

Suprisingly...and this really shocked me...both of these causes could be improved by better coaching! I was flabbergasted when I put that together.

johnrosz reply to ryano on Dec 21 at 10:53

It's really infuriating that we appear to have a potential pure PG in Jrue who should be able to just initiate the offense. Yet, EJ often has willie dribble the ball up and run a series of ridiculous dribble hand-offs, sometimes Elton will end up with the ball on the perimeter with 8 seconds left on the clock and the offense just falls apart...I think a lot of times the FG's our players get, especially on the wings, are rushed because of the poor clock management.

JohnEMagee on Dec 21 at 10:24

Thads best opportunities are offed misse baskets and if he can learn to run a fast break better

Jeff reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 21 at 21:38

or not try to initiate one by chucking the ball up the court and out of bounds.

It seems like in the second half Thad defers to the other guys, especially Iggy. Maybe he doesn't view himself as the "go to guy" on the team yet, being 21. Whatever it is, I wish Jordan would tell him to "get after it" in the second half and essentially force him to continue to be aggressive late.

Jesse reply to Jesse on Dec 21 at 11:56

Check out the drop off in FGA/36 in the second half.

It's worth pointing out that the Sixers did go to Thad in the post at least twice down the stretch, but he passed it back out in the face of heavy pressure from Thornton (who, after having done nothing all game, was a beast in the late 4th). My theory is that it's a combination of factors: (1) if Thad gets the ball in the post down the stretch of a close game, it's harder for him [because of fatigue or increased defensive pressure] to get off a "clean" shot; (2) if the shot is not a "clean" shot, Thad simply does not play well "to contact." In other words, if Thad gets a clean release on his jump hook, it's close to unstoppable -- but how many teams are going to give him that in a close game in the 4th? So then it's up to him to adjust his shot, pass the ball back out, or force a foul -- but he almost never does the latter [see lack of FT attempts]. What I see quite often is that he'll get bumped (with no foul called) and then get off a poor shot attempt. This is the sort of thing I expect would get better over time, if he has the right mindset about it.

johnrosz on Dec 21 at 12:30

Perhaps all the banging at the 4 wears on him down the stretch? He has gotten much stronger since entering the league but I mean during the Celtics game alone it looked like he had to give it his all to deny Garnett position down low and started to get gassed.

JohnEMagee on Dec 21 at 12:43

Seems to me a lot of extrapolation and speculation can be gleened from these numbers but to figure out the cause of this effect one has to inspect the games and not guess that guys are 'freezing him out' (doubtful) or that the coach is not calling plays for him (unlikely)

It might be an energy thing. Thad tends to jump out of the blocks hot by a couple of things: 1. Running the floor and finishing 2. Facing up on the wing and shooting a mid-range or taking the big off the dribble. 3. Spot-up three from top of the key or left corner.

He may just lose his legs a little which would explain the first point and he was badly short on a three at the end of the game last night. Maybe Thad has kind of become good depending on his touches, which is scary because scoring without having a play run for him or a ton of touches was one of his best qualities. Tough to figure out.

Everyone is bringing up good possibilities. I thing a big part of it is that he is 21. It is rare for young players to be consistently effective. Since no one is consistently looking for him its easy for him to get lost.

I think a guy like Speights is more rare- in that he's a young player who flat out demands the ball, so his production is consistently high. Of course Speights will never be known for his assists, but its not like Thad is creating for others when he disappears.

So I'm hopeful that Thad can step up his consistency as he gets older, is a bigger part of the set offense and plays more with a real PG (Jrue.)

Thad was like this last season too, as I recall.

I definitely remember talking about it last season. Not sure how it played out toward the end of the year, remember when he went on that long string of 25+ points just before he hurt his ankle? I thought he was really turning a corner then.

Hopefully, we can just chalk it up to (a) youth and (b) comfort. When he settles into a position (unlikely this season), a role (ditto) and the game slows down a little bit, we should see more consistency.

IMO, Thad is basically a unassertive big. The ball has to be brought to him for him to get shots. I remember the Chicago game at the Spectrum where he was hot. They simply stopped feeding him on the block. Same thing as GS. They had a mismatch and Jordan(who calls the plays) kept dialing up other people.

Something we'll have to track over the next 20 games or so is Iguodala's workload in the fourth quarter. Jordan seems to want to ride Speights down the stretch, which could actually be a good thing for Iguodala. He's been trying to do too much in the fourth, if he can pick his spots, it'll help the team. Speights being on the floor will also make it more difficult to send a hard double at Iguodala, or I should say, it'll be easier for the Sixers to make teams pay for that approach.

Just a thought, but EJ is always in favor of "sharing the ball."
Maybe he tries to set up more plays for other guys after the break if he sees Thad doing too much in the first half. It might also be Iguodala feeling the need to press and create more plays for himself in the final quarter.
I can't remember well enough, but was this an issue for Thad last year as well?

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