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Bucking Every Trend

johnrosz on Dec 29 at 11:53

Alright you can have Iguodala, I'll take Roy. It's only one game is right. Brian, I think you're glossing over the fact that Portland has ZERO inside presence right now. Elton had a clear mismatch all night on Aldridge and it showed.On a positive note,he does seem to have more spring to his step lately and has shown the ability to take over games for stretches, which I hadn't seen since his arrival. This game was similar to the GS win to me, as they also had no inside presence but it was nice to see the Sixers get back to their old identity and attack the basket/run.

JohnEMagee reply to johnrosz on Dec 29 at 11:56

Why is it you'd take Roy over Iguodala? Do you not care about things like defense or rebounding or helping your team mates score?

You know they're the same age right?

johnrosz reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 29 at 12:10

Well, for this team, I'd like to have Roy at the 2 and Thad at the 3. I think they are both in similar situations, asked to be the franchise guy when neither of them are best suited for that role. My point was that it's just one game. You are right though Iguodala is the better defender no doubt, I don't know if you can say Iggy is a better creator, I think Roy handles the ball better.

JohnEMagee reply to johnrosz on Dec 29 at 12:14

I think Iguodala has better court vision and when he learns to make the simple pass over the fancy pass he'll get even better, he's more versatile than Roy because he can play the 1-2-3...he's not a ball hog, he can contribute with out the ball in his hands.

Roy is considered better than Iguodala because of pre career hype as far as I'm concerned, he was 'supposed' to be better so he is - regardless of actual play or comparison.

The Blazers are the 'it team' of the moment but I think they're vastly over rated

And Iguodala is a 2 and Young is a 3

It's just that Jordan is a moron

johnrosz reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 29 at 12:19

I don't know that we've seen enough of Iggy at the 2 and Thad at the 3 to make that evaluation either way. I just know that I want my shooting guard to have a bit better of a stroke than Iggy. I don't remember Roy being that hyped, Adam Morrison and Sheldon Williams were drafted ahead of him. Speaking of flashy passes though, that Iggy bounce pass between 2 defenders to Speights for the slam last night was pretty sick.

Roy really didn't have that much fanfare coming into the league. He was projected as a well-rounded (but limited upside) and had the "4 year college player" stigma. Iggy was rumored to be of interest to Chicago at #3 heading up to the draft. I'd say Iggy came into the league with arguably more hype than Roy.

As for versatility, keep in mind Roy came in the previous two years with a 3/1 and 2.6/1 assist to turnover ratio the past two years. He's been extremely productive the past two years on a good team. Why does he get more fanfare? Because Portland won 54 games last year. It's really as simple as that.

IMO, here is the key difference: Media, and their strong adherence towards fitting new info into a pre-existing memes. They are lazy and hate new archetypes/storylines.

What I mean is this:

Roy came in and was strongly encouraged to become the dominant personality on his team. His story arc put him into the leading role nearly from jump street, as the catalyst of a post-Jail Blazers revival. He is a score-first ball-dominant wing player, fitting neatly into a mold that has been cast well before MJ blazed it in gold.

Meanwhile, Dre was cast from the moment he was drafted as AI's sidekick, and became part of the recurring storyline of the Sixers' "lacking talent" around AI. Hence, one of the reasons everyone was 'surprised' when the Sixers didn't fall off the map post-AI. Yet, Iguodala's game is not one that falls into the pre-existing molds for 'stars.' If he started putting up 25-plus every night post AI with the occasional outburst of 40+, then the media would know how to 'cast' him. Yet, because he's a multidimensional threat that plays a winning game without making the scoreboard lights go nuts, he becomes hard "to describe" mainly because his game is not an easy nutshell, nor does it fit into the previous notion of NBA "leading man".

IMO, Iguodala has been the answer to the thought experiment: what if Pippen never played with Jordan? How would you center a team around that type of player?

Here's a fun comp.

I don't think Roy is overrated because of expectations coming in, I'm not even sure he's really overrated. I think he gets more credit than Iguodala because his primary strength is scoring the ball, which is overrated as far as I'm concerned.

Roy plays an all around game, he's a very good player and I'm not even saying I'd choose Iguodala over him, just that they're on the same level. Depending on team needs, you really couldn't go wrong w/ either guy.

My point in the post was that Iguodala outplayed him, again, something you'd never think was possible based on the amount of press each guy gets.

johnrosz reply to Brian on Dec 29 at 12:28

I think they are on the same level as well. That comparison is pretty interesting, although I wish Iggy would take a hint from Scottie and shoot fewer 3's. Rumor this morning is that Houston is actively shopping T-Macs huge expiring. Would anyone here be interested in putting together some package around Sammy D to try and get it done? I don't care for T-mac as a player , but the contract is appealing.

I think there might be something there, it depends on when Houston is planning on spending their cap space. If they're banking on summer 2011, then swapping McGrady for Sammy doesn't hurt them.

Ultimately, it comes down to what they want to do. If they want to tank, they'd just trade for Eddy Curry or another contract that expires after next season. If they want a guy who can help, they'd prefer Sammy I'd think. Those aren't the only two options, obviously, but I think there's a chance we're on their radar.

It would take more than Sammy, though. Sammy + Willie + Kapono actually gets the job done w/out them taking back any contracts that extend beyond next year (when yao comes off the books).

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Dec 29 at 12:40

The rumors are that that Rockets have been shopping T-Mac for a while...and that he'd be a knick if the rockets were willing to take Jared Jeffries back...why is this relevant - because Jeffries expires in 2011

They don't want any contracts back longer than T-Mac - I'm not sure WHY any team would trade for T-Mac with those hinderances...the rockets only have 43 million committed for next year...they'll have about 15 million in cap space this off season and a young team with a solid core in need of a star.

Why eat that up with Sam Dalembert?

johnrosz reply to JohnEMagee on Dec 29 at 12:51

Right now Houston is the 7th seed in the west, they're not a bad team as currently constructed. Their center is like 6'6, Sam would certainly help. Like Brian said it certainly depends on whether Houston wants to compete this year. T-mac seems like an Eddie Jordan guy to me, no defense and a complete chucker. He'd love it.

JohnEMagee reply to johnrosz on Dec 29 at 12:59

It's a short term gain (this season) for a long term possible loss (15 million dollars or so would look good to chris bosh - so would playing with yao possibly for a season)

I don't think Daryl Morey is the over react kind of guy any more than Pritchard is going to over react and trade for Sam because they lost Oden and Pryzbilla.

The sixers have been trying to trade Sam for close to a year, the Rockets trying to trade Tracy since the season started, any half smart GM would have called Houston already (and we do have a half smart GM).

Point is - they turned down a deal with the knicks for a 2011 contract expiry because they want their (approx) 15 million THIS off season...why would they eat up more of it for Sam for a one year assist?

I don't see it

Dude, the cap is going to be between $50M and $54M by most estimations. They don't have anywhere near $15M to spend.

And no, I don't have any idea why I just called you dude.

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Dec 29 at 13:10

I haven't seen numbers that low, for some reason i keep thinking 58 million.

But I'm still not sure wy the Rockets would trade for Sam...they had the opportunity to take an over paid player who expires in 2011 and already passed on it...and now you suggest they take sam AND willie?

Rumors are they also want 'young talent' in a mcgrady deal - ready to give up Thad or Speights to get that cap room?

JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Dec 29 at 13:13

If the cap is as low as 50 million next year the sixers are SCROOGED

66 million committed next year - that's awesome :)

"I don't think Roy is overrated because of expectations coming in, I'm not even sure he's really overrated. I think he gets more credit than Iguodala because his primary strength is scoring the ball, which is overrated as far as I'm concerned."

The last 3 years the Sixers are 89-105. Never play on national tv. Portland's 115-82, and plays on national tv regularly.

Win and you'll get national tv games. Get national tv games and you'll get press adulation. Lose and you'll be stuck in anonymity.

(not saying it's Iguodala's fault the Sixers lose, but it doesn't matter).

JohnEMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Dec 29 at 13:00

Maybe it's just me but playing in "Iversons shadow" in the beginning of his career didn't help Iguodala in my opinion, he was established as a 'second banana', and even when the sixers were in the playoffs, the focus was on Andre Miller, not Iguodala.

When the sixers get national spotlight (infrequent) there always seems to be focus on someone else - fr instance - this thursday on TNT will the focus be on Iguodala (who Barkely hates in my opinion) or will the douche nozzles at TNT salivate over how Iverson 'helps' the sixers?

Actually, I remember Barkley saying that he had told people to move Iverson and start trying to build around Iguodala well before they actually did it.

Pippin in 1993/4 without MJ led his team to 55 wins putting up these numbers:

22/8.7/5.6 49%, 2.9 stl

Those are pretty amazing numbers for a winner with him as "the man."

Yup. There's no reason to believe Iguodala doesn't have a season like that in him, either.

"The last 3 years the Sixers are 89-105. Never play on national tv. Portland's 115-82, and plays on national tv regularly."

I think Portland's status as a West Coast team also helps increase their TV appearances. There are fewer games beginning at 10:30 (as opposed to 7 through 8:30 PM) Eastern time to choose for the second game of a doubleheader. But, your contention that winning teams earn more appearances is valid.

Sports programmers also appear to be a bit superstar obsessed. Even when Miami isn't anything special they still appear on TV very frequently probably because they have Wade. Personally I thought Cleveland over the past four or five years was one of the more boring teams to watch (they seem much more entertaining this year) because so much of their game was built around one man, but they are always on TV.

I wish something was done about the variety of NBA TV programming, though. Unless someone has NBA league pass, you're pretty much stuck with watching the local team and about half a dozen other teams most of the time. NFL programming seems much more varied.

deepsixersuede on Dec 29 at 14:36

First thing I noticed was Iggy being the #3 scorer, the perfect situation for him to succeed. A Sam/Kapono/Thad deal works for McGrady, though Houston probably wouldn!t bite but I would do it.Would there be ANY thought of keeping Mc Grady if such a deal was done? Selling tickets? And lastly, if Jrue gets buried when Willie comes back does it make any sense to give him 35 minutes a night in the developmental league over not playing here?

Like I said at recliner, the D-League at least keeps Jrue away from Jordan.

Yes. I'd absolutely send him to the D-League if/when Jordan starts DNPCDing him again. Of course, I'd fire Jordan before it came to that, but if Ed S. simply won't can him, then give Jrue minutes somewhere.

I loved the way the team played with Iverson. You could tell that Jordan was trying to keep PO when he was not on the floor, but AI played enough time that they ran simple NBA sets. This took advantage of Portland's bad defense especially w/o Oden and Pryzbilla. Great to see that AI was efficient last night too, which is something this team needs if he is going to be on it.

Those sets were what sprung EB, like he was finally escaping the shackles that is Jordan's idiot offense. He's very good on the defensive end too. Brian's rant on Aldridge yesterday proved prophetic. That was a pretty soft 17 and 12 if you ask me. I still think he is a rediculously talented player because at that size not many people have that type of skill. Still, he wasn't very aggressive offensively. On one play he beat EB to the middle of the lane with Speights under the rim. On a play like this EB is taking it strong but Aldridge passed that up for a running hook shot. He needs a killer instinct.

Finally, I LOVED Iguodala's game last night. After watching the game, I didn't even think he attempted 13 shots because he picked his spots as good as I have seen this year. Whenever he chose to do something, it worked. He was excellent on the pick and roll and I think part of that was that he had more time to make a decision because of no PO. He needs time to probe the defense but he made a couple of great dimes as did AI. No turnovers is his benchmark and 7 boards, wow. He certainly outplayed Brandon Roy. EB was unreal but I wouldn't have been mad if Iggy was player of the game.

deepsixersuede reply to Rich on Dec 29 at 14:54

McMillan sounded like we slowed it down and beat him with the P.O., I thought it was more basic sets. Question; if Thad or Marreese ever become 20 ppg. scorers can Iggy play like last night or do they have to become better basketball players [smarter] along with it because Elton and A.I. are more than just scorers.

The simple answer is that this is the type of game Iguodala is comfortable playing. This is how he is most effective (only he needs to get to the line as well). If Speights can become a legit threat, or if, God forbid, Brand starts playing 35+ minutes in a sane offensive scheme, I think these games will be the norm, and his shooting percentage will begin to slowly rise, like it has in each of the past couple seasons.

Essentially, this is exactly what's happened with him since Iverson's departure. He starts out seasons doing too much, whether he's asked to, or he takes it upon himself. When the team settles into a rhythm, and scoring starts to come from elsewhere with regularity, he flourishes.

That's what I always thought he would become: the multidimensional utility man capable of stuffing the stat sheet and excelling in whatever area the team needed on a given night.

I agree that Iguodala played very well and better than Roy but 24 points on 45% shooting with 4 very unusual misses from the line aren't bad either

it was a nice duel, their careers and overall value to me are very close

I think Roy scored more big baskets than Iguodala (that unbelievable half court buzzer beater of 2 yrs ago etc etc) so maybe that's the reason why he gets more coverage/hype. And because of the differences between the 2 teams that Derek said, obviously

Hey guys, interesting thread, sorry to join in late. A few comments:

- I thought Roy had the better of it in the 1st half (13-2 in points to offset Iguodala's advantages in rebounds and assists), but Iguodala had the clear advantage in the 2nd half: Iguodala 5-9 for 12 points (2-4 3's), 4 rebounds, 4 assists; Roy 5-10 for 11 points (0-4 3's, 1-3 FT's), 1 rebound, 0 assists. I thought Iguodala's best defense on Roy didn't show up in the boxscore, as "dissuaded shots": Iguodala's pressure prevented Roy from ever getting into a jump-shooting rhythm in the 2nd half. (To be fair, I did see Roy cover Iguodala for quite a bit during the game. Iguodala tried to post up but didn't do much while Roy was on him.)

- As far as recognition goes, I think it's a combination of what Derek and Brian pointed out. Portland does gets a lot more national exposure than the Sixers. And scoring is overrated in comparison to other stats. I don't agree, though, that Roy has hit more clutch shots than Iguodala over the past few years. Iguodala has already hit 3 buzzer-beaters in his career (more than Iverson in his first 10 years) and last year had a ton of big shots at the ends of games (like the game-winner against the Magic in the playoffs).

One other point that I would bring up: Roy is probably a lot more popular with his hometown fans than Iguodala is with his. Hometown fans are the ones who will trumpet a player and raise his national profile. Portland fans are probably more supportive and forgiving than Philly fans in general, but Iguodala is probably one of the most disliked, most criticized stars in the NBA (I consider most of that dislike irrational, but there's no accounting for taste). We see that even here on this blog, which I consider by far the most pro-Iguodala among all the Sixer blogs. Whatever the reason for that, the result is that the fans who are most likely to make his case nationally do not.

- Brian, could you remind me what your definition of a "big lineup" is? Your writeup gives credit to the big lineup, but most of the best lineups had Iguodala at the 3. Is the big lineup defined as Brand and a center? (Was that how you defined it during your monster analysis a couple weeks ago?)

- Another small but important positive that Iverson brings to the table: he has the ability to get to the line when things aren't going well. There was a point in the 2nd quarter when things were starting to go south when he drove, drew contact, and flailed away while shooting. That sort of play was what the Sixers were missing when he was out (and one could argue it is what the Sixers have been missing all year -- Andre Miller provided a lot of those plays last year). The Washington game could have turned out differently, for example, if someone had gotten to the line a few times when the Wizards were making their run in the 4th. In that area, Iguodala has really regressed this year (I thought he was at his best getting to the line in 06-07).

My definition of big lineup is two bigs, as in not Thad, Carney, Iguodala nor Kapono at the four. When I say proper lineup, that's Iguodala at the two and Thad at the three.

johnrosz on Dec 29 at 21:06

The reason for the negativity towards Iguodala in my opinion is a result of his demeanor on the floor. A lot of fans think his level of swagger is unwarranted. He wants so badly to be considered a superstar. He's got the franchise players attitude but doesn't have the game to back it up. That's the consensus I get from the fans I've spoken with.

That's the distinction. He does have the franchise player's game. He doesn't have the franchise scorer's game. He's basically the opposite of what Allen Iverson was at his very best, only he doesn't kill you in any area of the game like Iverson did on defense.

Statman reply to johnrosz on Dec 29 at 22:28

The reason for the negativity towards Iguodala in my opinion is a result of his demeanor on the floor. A lot of fans think his level of swagger is unwarranted. He wants so badly to be considered a superstar. He's got the franchise players attitude but doesn't have the game to back it up.

What's your definition of swagger? He doesn't trash-talk at all, that I see. He's one of the most unselfish team leaders in the NBA and has the assist-to-shot-attempt ratio to prove it. He's cut down a lot on his complaining this year (maybe once a game, that I notice). Once in a while he'll celebrate a basket with some hip-hop gesture that I don't pretend to understand, but I think it's all relatively harmless compared to some of the celebrations we see in the NFL (Eagles fans don't seem to have a problem with DeSean Jackson running into the endzone backward, for example). So I really don't see why his "demeanor" rubs so many Sixer fans the wrong way. But there are a lot of Sixer fans in that camp, so maybe there's something to it.

As for the argument that his play doesn't match his opinion of himself, I think that depends what you think his opinion of himself is. I've never heard him voice his opinion on that, so it would be guesswork, but I've never seen anything in his play that would indicate that he thinks, "I'm every bit the equal of LeBron and Kobe." If he started chucking up 30 shots a game, then I could see it. There's a somewhat-related argument that his play doesn't match his contract, and Brian presented a pretty good case against that argument the other day. If it isn't already clear, I agree with Brian that Iguodala isn't overpaid: he's a top-20 player with a top-20 contract.

bebopdeluxe on Dec 29 at 21:58

Love the comments by Brand after the game...in essence, saying, yeah - they hope its a springbboard, yada, yada, yada...and he said

"we have a talented team, and we KNOW that..."

Similar to Kate Fagan's blog entry today (where she asked Jordan if the talent on this team equated to 7-22), it is getting more and more clear that the issue is Jordan. At what point does Comcast or Snider care enough about this farking team that they cut the anchor that is dragging this team down?

Is ANYBODY there? Huh?

Honest question, do you think Snider realizes that the two big wins Jordan has on the season were accomplished because they basically threw everything Jordan preaches right out the window? I have to believe Stefanski realizes it.

bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Dec 29 at 22:34

Stefanski has to see that Bread BEASTED in both of those games...and he remembers why he offered the "PhillyMax" in the first place. I wonder how he feels about his HC basically blowing off Brand's game in the post-game presser as well...

If he wants to save his ass, he needs to make a change. If he doesn't (and this soap opera leads to a 30 win season), he's probably gone this sunmmer - I can't imagine that Snider would want to give him a lottery pick and the ability to trade our expirings for a player or a pick. The problem is that the Sixers aren't paying much (if any) of Jordan's salary, so it is hard to pitch your bosses that you hired the wrong guy 30 games in, and they have to shell out some coin to clean up your mistake. He had an in-house option with DiLeo last season...

...aahhh...Tony DiLeo...

(absence does make the heart grow fonder)

khouse reply to bebopdeluxe on Dec 30 at 8:35

What's even more funny is that to cover for his total failure as a coach...EJ is now in full denial mode that this team has any talent at all as proven from this exerpt:

"Portland star Brandon Roy, remembering losing both games last season to the Sixers, said he was taken aback by the Sixers' poor start.

"They have good players," said Roy, who began the day averaging 22.8 points a game. "I was surprised by their record. I don't even look at them, like, I don't approach this game looking at their record, I approach it as, 'Look, this team is good and they have talented players.' "

At yesterday's shootaround, Sixers coach Eddie Jordan dismissed Roy's comment, which seemed somewhat innocuous.

"That's his opinion," said Jordan when asked if he felt his team had more talent than its record indicated.

Jordan said nothing more."

Inviolable Fandom on Dec 29 at 23:51

I didn't see it mentioned anywhere but I think the Sixers with the best line was Willie green with a carton of eggs. Dude should never ever play....ever. He ruins the flow of the game. I don't care about his +/- or whatever other stats. He should only play if someone is hurt.

It's so insane that Willie Green starts over Elton Brand.

What kind of team constructs a starting lineup that can endure Willie Green starting but can't incorporate Elton Brand? Seriously, what kind of coach do we have??

If a coach cannot incorporate and utilize a player like Elton Brand, which Philly is paying $80M, into the starting lineup -- but can afford to incorporate Willie Green...that coach SERIOUSLY needs to be FIRED.

JohnEMagee reply to Kenneth on Dec 30 at 9:33

The same team that thinks Iverson/Williams is a good back court?

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