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Checking It Twice

Geez Brian, I am in a tub of water with a straight razor as you speak; enjoyed the conversation last night, a lot of good points and hope our front office is capable of the same; Happy Hollidays to everybody!!!

Remember, sometimes a coach can only do so much... its up to the players to go out there and execute ;)

Brian, Thank You very much for providing this great outlet for the Depressed Fans of the 76ers. For all depressed fans have a great Holiday season! I'm sure sometime during the New Year most of us will get our wish and therefore Eddie will get his as Brian stated above.
As Eddie sang his christmas song on the christmas eve: "All I want for Christmas is to straighten out my teef! straighten out my teef! straighten out my teef!"

johnrosz on Dec 24 at 10:17


Came across this the other day, thought you guys might enjoy it. The pic of EJ from the 70s is hysterical

Merry Christmas to everyone!!

We really shouldn't be talking about the Sixers until the New Year, it kills the festive mood.

From the Sixers official twitterer:

Sixers Coach Jordan says practice will focus primarily on defense, terming today a "defensive training camp."

Great, a whole practice to reinforce flawed defensive principles!

johnrosz reply to Brian on Dec 24 at 10:28

Brian, think this could be a direct result of Brands comments? Curious timing if it is not...Also the realgm front page headline "Brand questions teammates efforts, Jordans rotations"

EJ should be in hot water soon...

Merry Christmas to all! I never dreamed when I started actively following the 76ers online my favorite blog would be named after the way I feel about the 76ers!

Anyway, hope everyone can enjoy this holiday season inspite of our coach. All we can hope is that we get our Christmas gift early next year!

It's is quite amazing, unprecedented almost, that our coach does VIRTUALLY NOTHING that can be defended....

"Primoz Brezec [c] Andre Iguodala [pf] Jason Kapono [sf] Rodney Carney [sg] Willie Green [pg}"


If Stefanski isn't in the coaches office afte that game with a few questions he's not doing his job. Boy they players hate him.

Just looked this up...

1984-2009 Finals. Teams that made the finals:25 years and 50 teams.

35 of 50 (70%) featured a superstar (top 10 NBA player) drafted in the top 5 picks by the team that was in the Finals. No way those teams make the Finals without that star leading them (Jordan, Magic, Bird, Duncan, Hakeem... etc) In almost every case that team drafted that superstar after having a 55+ loss season either by tanking/injury or just being horrible. The last Sixer pick in the top 5 was Iverson, who made this list.

So if having a terrible and getting a top 5 pick as a result of a losing season was absolutely necessary for 70% of the teams that have made the finals in the last 25 years. You can not dismiss this.

What percentage of tanking teams have made the playoffs with their top draft pick, ever?

Look at it this way, in the past 30 years, three #1 overall picks have won a title with the team that drafted them. That means 90% of the teams who tanked, and literally won the lottery have absolutely nothing to show for it.

Take it a step further, 23 of the past 30 titles have been won by top-five picks with the teams that drafted them. We're talking about seven players in total. Meaning 143 players were drafted in the top five, by teams who presumably tanked to get there, and never won a title w/ their "prize" for completely blowing it up. 95.33% of teams with top-five picks in the past 30 years have not won a title with those players.

Building a champ through the draft is 100% about pure luck and more teams wind up perpetually in the lottery due to tanking than strike gold with a transformational talent.

Duracorr reply to Brian on Dec 24 at 12:55

Good information. Coupled with the fact that only a handful of coaches have won most of the titles, I think the priority should be finding a championship-potential coach. Since no one is going to give up Popovich, Jackson, Reiley or Brown, the only choice is to appoint a first-time head coach with promise and see if he has what it takes. No retread coaches!

Fire Jordan now even if it means DiLeo as interim coach until the right person can be identified.

May all you depressed fans have a merry Christmas.

Those 3 picks have accounted for, what, 10 championships in those 25 years?

Using only #1 picks, and only getting to the finals, and only listed 3 out of 25, is a little disingenuous I think, especially when those 3 have won 40% of the championships in the last half millenia.

When you look at it, Dwight (#2 pick) has gotten his team to the finals. LeBron has gotten his team to the finals. Take a look at the top teams in the league, and most of them had a terrible season where they netted a top 5 draft pick, and used that pick to catapult them into the top tier in the league.

Nobody's saying you NEED to have the top pick. Nor are they saying the top pick is guaranteed. You have to make the RIGHT pick (and making the RIGHT selection is necessary regardless of which direction you chose to build a team). But it's extremely difficult to build a contender without first taking a step back and acquiring bigtime talent through the draft.

Howard was a #1 over all pick...

The question is not whether having a top 5 pick means you will be good. the question needs to be how do you get to the Finals. You can invent your own course that has not succeeded in the past 25 years, or you can use a successful blueprint.

I'll be lazy and repot what I wrote elsewhere:

I looked back at the last 25 years of NBA Finals. Seems like there are 3 ways in which teams get to the Finals.

There have been 50 teams in the Finals.

1. 70% of the time a team was led by a top 10 NBA superstar who was drafted by that team as a top 5 pick (usually top 3.)
All of those teams lost 55+ games to get that top draft pick. Sometimes it was a good team with a horribly down year due to a combination of tanking/injury. Sometimes it was a team that had been horrible for years and turned it around with the right pick.
-Sixers: Maybe a top 5 pick this year. More likely, with the right coach no top 10 picks in the next 4 years

The other 30% of the time teams got to the Finals with some combination of:

2: The team drafted a Euro or H.S. player before that became the norm. That pick outside of the top 5 turned out to be a Superstar that led them to a title (think Kobe and Dirk.)
---Sixers: Dileo is a maestro of the draft, but the odds of this happening to the Sixers are slim and none

3: The team recently made a huge trade where they gave up a combo of expiring deals, picks and unproven youth in exchange for a top 20 NBA player in their prime (think KG, Gasol and ShaqX2.)
---Sixers: You must have cap room, and expiring contracts to make that type of steal. They have the expiring contracts next year- but they will not make this type of deal because
it puts them over the tax with Brand and Iguodala's huge contracts.

I posted before about the Nuclear Option. Looking at the way teams make the Finals I'm having a hard time seeing how the Sixers can even start to head towards a title without getting rid of the 25-35M each year comitted to Brand and Iguodala. At very least find a way to clear away Brand's contract if you want to try and keep Iguodala.

Correct. My bad about howard.

And I think looking at just champions is a little narrow, since 5 teams have combined to win 19 of the past 25 championships (Lakers 5, Bulls 6, Rockets 2, Pistons 2, Spurs 4).

That's why I looked at teams that have made the Finals. that list includes most if not all top teams in the past 25 years.

You know, these numbers are really heavily skewed by the 80s and 90s, with Magic, Jordan, Bird, Isiah and Hakeem. Those guys won ever title from '79-80 through what, 98? Things may have changed in the league since then, starting w/ 1997:

Take a look at the last 10 finals matchups:

99-00 - Lakers (NO) vs. Pacers (NO)
00-01 - Lakers (NO) vs. Sixers (YES)
01-02 - Lakers (NO) vs. Nets (NO, I'm not counting Kenyon Martin here)
02-03 - Spurs (YES) vs. Nets (NO)
03-04 - Pistons (NO) vs. Lakers (NO)
04-05 - Spurs (YES) vs. Pistons (NO)
05-06 - Heat (YES, sort of. Wade was #5 pick and Shaq really was the reason they won) vs. Mavs (NO)
06-07 - Spurs (YES) vs. Cavs (YES)
07-08 - Celtics (NO) vs. Lakers (NO)
08-09 - Lakers (NO) vs. Magic (YES)

So of the last 20 teams to go to the finals, we've got 13 teams who were not built around a top 5 pick of their own, 7 teams who were. Of the champions, 4 had a top 5 pick of their own, 6 did not.

This time frame also coincides with the adoption of the CBA, which has definitely changed the league.

Ironically I did a similar comparison on RealGM. The Pacers could count as a yes, because Smits was #2 overall and he was the 2nd big gun. I also included KMart, just for the sake of argument.

Other then that, I had a similar conclusion:

It is literally a 50/50 shot between building via tanking vs acquiring the final piece through trade/free agency

You are both right that things recently have shifted away from my premise. But Lebron and Howard will probably go to the majority of the Finals from the East for next bunch of years. As for the West, the Lakers will be king for a few years and Duncan is getting old. So it is wide open.

I would not count Smits. I specifically tried to strictly to guys who were top 10 NBA stars. Not simply a high pick.

Howard, maybe. But will LeBron be going to the finals with the Cavs?

He will be going to the Finals... likely on another team.

Right, and if it's w/ a team other than the Cavs, that's another team who made it w/out drafting a stud, most likely.

My bad. for some reason I was thinking Jordan went #1, but obviously he didn't. My 10 number is off, but my point about drafting still stands.

It's actually 4 #1 picks w/ titles in the past 30 years, forgot about David Robinson, although it took the second #1 pick for SAS to win anything.

Anyway, my point holds. It's all about luck, 26 teams got the #1 pick and didn't win a championship with that guy. It's luck in the draft and it's luck through trades and free agency, personally, I'd rather keep improving my team and have a steady upward arc and hope for a lucky break in trades/free agency/development than root for the team to go completely in the tank just so they can chase what's about a, what, 1 in 300 or 400 shot in the draft when you factor in the lottery and the availability of a franchise-altering talent even being in the draft.

If you run into bad luck one season, yes it makes sense to make that gamble and that's probably where the Sixers are right now, but if you're talking about completely shredding your roster to set yourself up for it, I can't buy in. The odds are just stacked too high against you to make it worthwhile, IMO.

Its not luck when it comes top trades. You either plan so you have years when you are set with pick/prospects and cap space lined up... or you consistently overpay yourr own players on mediocre teams and get locked out of trades for stars.

I don't know, look at the teams who have gone the "luck" route. Getting Shaq was a result of good planning by LAL, luck by Miami (him being forced out of LA).

Gasol to the Lakers had nothing to do with good cap management. It was luck that they had Kwame Brown expiring and Memphis was in fire sale mode. The Celts got Garnett and Allen using a combination of deals that expired the next season. I believe contracts they acquired by trading away Antwan Walker, but I can't remember exactly.

None of these teams really had a lot of foresight, they just stumbled into the right situation. It had more to do with stupid GMs on the other side in the Celts and Lakers' case.

Detroit lucked out in taking a risk on Billups, then took a shot on Sheed who was sold for pennies on the dollar.

Dallas lucked out with Nowitzki in the draft (thanks in some part to the Sixers passing on him). They also made some really bad decisions.

New Jersey got Kidd when he forced his way out of PHO, in a trade, again, nothing to do with managing the cap, just right place, right time.

None of these teams parlayed cap space into the superstar that put them over the top.

It may not be mensa level GM moves... but on the flip side if you are up against the tax then you are pretty certain NOT to be able to pull off that type of move.

Next year the Sixers have 20M in 3 expiring contracts and a lot of marketable young players to dangle in a trade. They should be in perfect position to pull of some kind of heist for a superstar (lets say CP3 for Holiday/young/#1/Sam for arguments sake.) The problem is I'm not sure the team can make that kind of move with 30m+ committed to Brand and Igudoala moving forward. Not unless the cap scahnges.

Now we're talking about willingness to pay the luxury tax, which is another matter. Both Boston and LA were willing to pay the tax, so for LA it didn't matter that they had a ton of money tied up in Kobe, Odom and assorted role players, they were still fine with picking up Pau's contract.

The Sixers can absolutely pull off a blockbuster with their expirings next season and Brand/Iguodala on their books. They'll just have to pay the tax to do it.

But here's a bigger question, what the hell are you going to do with a Chris Paul if you gut your roster before you get him? I don't think you can take a stud, any stud, and just use spare parts to fill out your roster these days and hope to compete.

In fact, if they're willing to be bold and get a guy like Paul w/ those expiring contracts next season, then you're going to want to have both Brand and Iguodala still around, because you just accelerated your window of opportunity to right away.

Say you put my 2 parts together...

You trade Iguodala and Brand to the Cavs for expirings. That puts you at

So that gives you CP3/Speights/Bosh(or Amare) as your core, with Lou as your 6th man. Yes, you still are left with a lot of holes... but those players are all around 24 and will be the nucleus that makes you a contender for 6+ years. Adding a SG and a SF will be easy. Over the next 2-3 years you use the MLE twice and you can get two decent vet Defender/shooters to plug in. In fact players will be jumping to join that squad for the MLE.

OK- that is pure hypothetical/fantasy. But it is a realistic scenario. And I have a hard time coming up with a realistic scenario that gets the Sixers that good qin the next 4 years with Iguodala and Brand eating up 30M of cap space.

Sorry, that html "less than" thing erased a big part of my post again.

Should read: it puts you less than 40M in salary this summer. So you go after one of these 3: Bosh/Amare/JJ.

$40M this summer means somewhere between $12-$14M in cap space, which means maybe enough to get Joe Johnson.




I choose the latter. Johnson's also three years older than Iguodala.

Yeah, I realized that the number would not work perfectly. Just wanted to throw something out there as opposed to speaking just in generalities, since obviously any real set of moves can't be predicted right now. I'm more hoping for the chance to make an impact move (more likely in 2 years.)
As for your 2 choices- they are interesting but not ideal, and don't think the team would be willing to go that far over the tax... probably 52M at some point between Brand/CP3/AI9, so maybe they could squeeze the rest of the roster to get a total of

And definitely #1 pick, Thad, Holiday, Expiring is the type of deal that would get a player like CP3 if they decided to move him.

This is old territory and I know the Sixers were dealing with a limited budget but can someone tell me why they wouldn't even INTERVIEW Jeff Van Gundy or Avery Johnson?

God help me if I ever find out that it was because "Philly Guy" Ed Stefanski wanted his own guy in there I will lose my mind.

I've said this in other forums but as long as we have the 'upper management' we currently have (and have had for eons) the Sixers AND Flyers aren't going anywhere. You can't run teams like we're still in the 70's and 80's and expect to win. And you you sure as heck can't have a TWO TEAM president who's only executive experience is as a building manager... No matter how good of a building manager he might be.

I don't think either wanted to be interviewed for this team.

I'm off to do some last-minute shopping. Enjoy your Christmas Eve if you celebrate. If you don't, enjoy your free day off work tomorrow :)

And thanks for being part of this community, the conversations we have here make being a Sixers fan a little more palatable to me through the trying times.

JohnEMagee on Dec 24 at 13:12

Poor Eddie has done everything short of starting Allen Iverson and Lou Williams together in the back court,

Not for lack of trying, they just haven't been healthy together, December 28th, keep an eye on that date folks.

As for Van Gundy and Avery Johnson, keep in mind folks that 'cost basis' was a factor in hiring the coach. There were budgetary constraints I'm sure that made 'bigger names' like Van Gundy and Johnson untenable even if they were interested in the job (and I felt that Avery Johnson made public comments campaigning for the job though his comments made me want to vomit)

Without knowing what assistants are truly qualified or not, I'm going to stick with Lawrence Frank

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 24 at 13:36

I'd like to see what Lawrence Frank could do with this roster. I still wish we got Tom Thibodeau over the summer. If we keep on losing with Jordan, my dream scenario would be getting rid of Sammy somehow to shed his contract, selecting a solid defensive big man in the draft, and taking Tom Thibodeau right off Boston's hands so he could apply his system to a team on the rise (hopefully). But yeah, Lawrence Frank would be a doable upgrade.

JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Dec 24 at 13:38

I have concerns with no real basis in reality about Tom Thibodeau...the past two off-seasons he is the 'hot name' and the past two off-seasons he's interviewed for a couple jobs, and the past two off-seasons, he hasn't gotten a job. I have to wonder why he hasn't gotten a job yet...is he a bad interview? Sure, a good interview got Jordan the job, but a bad interview has to make you think a bit...or at least wonder why Thibodeau hasn't gotten a job yet?

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 24 at 14:13

That's obviously a fair point. I just think that defensively and from a cost standpoint, he would be an absolute home-run. He seemed to do a great job with Yao as far as players development and he could go and figure out how to use EB and Thad the right way offensively. Not to mention his defensive plan would key the running game. I was bummed when we didn't get him in the summer and have been more and more disappointed ever since.

JohnEMagee reply to Rich on Dec 24 at 14:34

Maybe he's a defensive assistant and not cut out to be a head coach, we've seen it in the NFL (and college, yo charlie weiss) a lot, that a great 'coordinator' doesn't have the makings of a head coach, after two off seasons of not getting a job I'm thinking that Thibodeau is missing something...over pay him to be your defensive assistant, no problem, but I worry about him as a head coach now.

I've advocated and offensive/defensive coordinator type system in the NBA in the past and been convincingly told by people smarter than me (derek for one) that it wouldn't work, and I buy the argument, but I think myabe thibodeau has shown that he's not cut out to be more than a 'top defensive asisstant' in the NBA...through his interviews.

Not to mention, Eddie Jordan supposedly 'impressed' Ed Stefanski in his 3 hour chalk talk...how did Thibodeau not impress this bumbling buffoon?

Rich reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 24 at 14:52

I know Cleveland is a special example and they haven't won a championship, but they rolled through the regular season with an offensive/defensive system last year. Brown took the defense and the team and John Kuester completely ran the offense. If you give an "associate head coach" (what Thibodeau is now) full control on his end, the head coach (Doc) can focus on team chemistry, etc.
I don't buy the argument that he's proved that he's not a head coach because of a few interviews that we have no idea about. Maybe it's easier to talk in detail about a stupid offense than a solid defense. Simply put, he's never got a chance and he's endorsed by people from Kobe to Doug Collins, to Pierce, to Jeff Van Gundy, etc. Gotta admit, those people are pretty smart and some of them were even competing with him while endorsing him.
Regardless, my infatuation with Thibodeau is all but a pipe dream right now.

"Where looking like Sinbad happens" - Too rich.

That made my day, Merry XMAS everyone. If being drug around by your wives or girlfriends to extended family's homes over the next few days isn't enough to make you jump, tune in on Saturday. Its almost certain to make it a little easier.

John Cheney, who is still an amazing interview btw, was on Daily News Live today. He thinks the Sixers suck because they don't have a PG. He was a big Andre Miller fan apparently. His philosophy is that PGs are the most important position on the floor, so this isn't really any surprise. He must watch a lot of 76ers game, as he was talking about how frustrated he gets watching them blow all these close games. He also didn't think bringing back AI was a good move.

I'd love Jrue to take over permanently. He is a natural playmaker. Right up Cheney's alley

Mike reply to rswknight on Dec 24 at 19:39

yea he didn't mention jrue

haha iverson is 2nd among Eastern Conf guards in all-star voting. would be hilarious if him & mcgrady are starters.

Off topic. I just read this article with an Elton Brand quote:

Four days earlier after tipping in a missed Speights shot to stun the Celtics, Brand told reporters that when "Speights got the ball you knew he wasn't going to pass. He doesn't pass."

This prompted me to look up Speights stats in Assists. Can you believe that Speights is averaging almost 24 minutes per game but has only 0.6 assists per game?? Yes, you read that right. ZERO POINT SIX. That's gotta be some kind of NBA league leader in "ballhogging" -- if that were a category.

My gosh, does that guy ever pass? Samuel Dalembert averages about 24 minutes a game but his assists-per-game is 1.1. Now, Sammy's not known to be a good passing center, but that's nearly DOUBLE what Speights gets in assists.

Bottom Line: Speights is a BLACK HOLE!

Mike reply to Kenneth on Dec 24 at 18:58

i saw that postgame interview where brand said that. he was laughing & his point was that he knew he had to get in position for a rebound because he knew that when speights catches the ball in that spot it's going up. he wasn't calling him out at all.

Kenneth reply to Mike on Dec 24 at 19:08

Mike, the part that caught my eye was "He doesn't pass."

The first part of his quote is fine. I can totally see how you could interpret that as "he wasn't going to pass in that situation". But the last part of his comment "he doesn't pass" seems to suggest that Speights is a ballhog.

You may not agree but that's what I got out of the quote. And Speights 0.6 assists-per-game stat in 24 minutes this year definitely proves Brand is right.

Mike reply to Kenneth on Dec 24 at 19:17

i'm just saying, if you saw the video clip of him saying this, you wouldn't think that way. a lot of these quotes look one way in the papers, but due to something as subtle as a pause or change in voice tone become something completely different.

Kenneth reply to Mike on Dec 24 at 19:13

Trivia #1: What is Marresse Speights' GAME HIGH in Assists this year?

Answer: 2. That's right...TWO ASSISTS. He has never had more than 2 assists in ANY GAME this year. But considering his average assists is 0.6 this year, that's more than 3x his average so I guess it depends on how you look at it...

Trivia #2: What is Speights' CAREER HIGH in Assists?

Answer: 2. Yup, he's tied his career high in assists this year. He has NEVER EVER GOTTEN MORE THAN TWO ASSISTS PER GAME IN HIS LIFE. Talk about a black hole...

Right now it suits his game. He is by far the best scorer on the team, but defenses are leaving him open and not double teaming him in the post. If he is open or in the post I'd like him to shoot 90% of the time he gets the ball.

Now as defenses start to run at him he will have to pass more. I've seen him enough to know he can pass and is smart/quick/decisive on the rare occasions he passes. But clearly the guy does not like to pass- and that will have to change at some point. Its up for debate whether he will adapt. But is definitely more of a not willing then not able thing, which I guess is somewhat good news.

Jeff reply to Kenneth on Dec 24 at 21:26

I can reach two conclusions from your argument:
1.) you really like capitalizing certain words for emphasis
2.) you don't feel Speights is a team player

However, I'm going to throw in a different angle and say assists are not the most important thing Speights needs to work on. In fact, I feel more comfortable with Speights taking a shot rather than say, Dalembert or Lou, or even an off-balance Iguodala jumper.
The guy is young, has a lot of up-side, and is showing potential to be the scorer off the bench this team desperately needs. The other elements to his game should come in time, given proper coaching.

Yeah, consistent defense and rebounding are the areas he needs to improve right now.

He will need to pass more eventually, just don't see it as a big negative to his game right now.

JohnEMagee on Dec 24 at 22:04

Speights right now isn't really a team player, yes he shoots most times he gets the ball - but it's usually a good shot (you know not like what sam and willie green ever take), and he doesn't play much defense.

He's also only old enough to be a senior in college, his game can improve, if he wants it to

I don't trust his desire to make himself a complete player enough to try and build a team around the guy. But he definitely was another great Dileo pick, and could be a great offensive piece to build with. Just wont end up being a franchise type guy (not many players are.)

Last year I'd say his worst case was to end up like Wilcox. But right niow I'd say his floor is much hight. Worst case he will be an above average starting PF. Best case is being a second line near all star.

Brian (and everyone) Cooney on philly.com is asking for reader emails on how to fix the team. I sent my radical ideas in. You should send something. He say he'll pass on and post some of the stuff he receives:


"To Sixers fans, we leave a suggestion box. Never at a loss to voice opinions, they could use this box to let Stefanski and company know how they would turn this organization around. Obviously, the plans have to be thought out and doable. E-mail them to the above address. We'll share some of the better ones next week."


I missed this, probably because Cooney called Willie Green a defensive stopper again in his column today and I stopped reading immediately.

Cooney rates really low because he writes to many creampuff articles that tow the party line. Fagan, Moore and Lynum are less likely to pull their punches.

In fact we were joking at reclinergm about what softball article they would write after the lates Sixer loss. My guess was a profile of the strength and conditioning coach.

Cooney ended up writing some odd piece about teams no longer having pre-game shoot-arounds instead of taking any (justifiable) shots at the team and coach. I really believe the team has the writers scared. Writers are in a bad situation now with newspapers laying everyone off, so they are afraid to risk pissing off the teams. Fagan writes some biting commentary in her blogs, but that is about it.

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