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One Reason Not To Blow It Up

On another note, check this out.

I remember that play, the cool thing about it was that the Sixers had that mismatch the entire night and this is the only time they tried to exploit it. Awesome coaching.

You touched on this, but the fact that one GM/scouting department failed doesn't equate to the current scouting department failing.

Generally, I believe bad management will lead to failure regardless of the strategy they employ.

I agree that DiLeo would've done better with those picks, but even with a smart guy making the draft picks, that franchise-saving talent just isn't there most years, no matter where you're picking.

My main point is that I don't think a lot of the people who are advocating tanking realize exactly what they're asking for. The odds of tanking one year and all of a sudden being respectable any time in the next five is very, very slim.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 11:55
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Well tanking smartly (clearing off big fat contracts that won't be here when you think you'll contend) is more about the draft (and you know that) - if you create salary cap space at the same time you can work trades and help out yourself while teams are desperate to get under the luxury tax.

currently there's a lot of opportunities for a team with the room to help out the 'luxury tax pussies' (or LTP as I'll refer to them going forward)...small moves like Memphis stealing Eric Maynor from the Jazz so the jazz could save a few million for the luxury tax...

Unfortunately, the sixers are on of the LTP and whether you like it or not brian, I believe all moves going forward will be to avoid paying the luxury tax in 2011, so like it or not, this team isn't going to be even 'this' good at the end of 2011 in my opinion

That Maynor trade doesn't really impress me all that much. It would've been cheaper for OKC to simply pay $3M for a pick in the draft and take Maynor than to eat Harpring's $6.5M contract.

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JohnEMagee on Jan 5 at 11:43
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Most of those picks were made before DiLeo was in charge weren't they (in fact since Hughes is the last pick listed, I'm going to say that even if DiLeo was here, Brown was making the picks), I don't agree that the past is prologue because it's an entirely different scouting department (and possibly even a new NBA) and they've done much better in the draft recently..basically since Brown left

I advocate blowing it up for one reasons because:

A. This roster
B. This GM
C. This Coach

Won't develop into an NBA championship roster as currently assembled. yes you can fire jordan and stefanski but even then - do the sixers have the right parts to win an NBA title. even if you believe in Elton Brand NOW, how long can you believe in him compared to the career arc of Iguodala let alone guys like Young Speights and Holiday this team DESPERATELY needs to ascend to above average (at least) to contend for an NBA title.

Right now the franchise is going to trade water 7-10 in the east for the forseeable future with no real solid ways to get out of it if they're sitting on the 'luxury tax fear over basketball talent' line.

No doubt bad teams can stay that way indefinitely. But, as your prior example proves, even a horrible organization can strike gold and lands a Superstar that makes the franchise relevant again.

My main argument when I wrote about the "nuclear option" 2 weeks ago (http://www.phillyarena.com/archives/2009-12-23/The-Sixers-Beyond-EJ-Time-for-the-Nuclear-Option...-by-tk76) was that their current trajectory gives them almost no chance of turning things around in the next 4 years- and a very good chance they would end up blowing things up anyway in 3 years when Brand is close to expiring.

They should have blown things up at the AI trade (demanding back Picks and expirings instead of band-aids and rainbows.) Now we are again at a crossroads. Brand himself can serve as a decent crutch if he's used properly. But is that worth the price of not financial flexibility to go after a star?

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JohnEMagee reply to tk76 on Jan 5 at 11:49
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IMO - they should have blown things up the moment the rat jumped ship - including firing Billy King - so they are close to a decade behind in my opinion. The Iverson trade was bad, not moving miller when they had the opportunity was bad as well, king seemed content with mediocrity and the ownership didn't push him to change that idea either.

Had they not taken Miller back, we probably get Yi in that draft instead of Thad, he's the guy BK wanted and we weren't getting higher than a pick in the 5-8 range, the top three were all jumps up in the lottery.

The following season Chicago jumped to the head of the draft so even if we had the worst record in the league we're probably talking about Beasley instead of Speights.

If we were somehow able to have the worst record in the league for the second consecutive year heading into this past draft, we would've wound up with the #4 pick.

Then if we continued to blow this past season, and somehow wound up with the absolute worst record for the second consecutive season, we would've gotten the #4 pick and I'd give DiLeo credit for being able to pick Tyreke Evans with that pick. If we weren't worse than Sacto, however, we're probably in the 5-7 range, so Flynn, Rubio, Curry.

Thad, Speights, Holiday
or
Yi, Beasley, Flynn

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 12:00
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Who did DiLeo want?

I don't think it mattered. King was desperately trying to trade up to get Yi, not sure if it was on DiLeo's advice or not.

Don't care. I'd take Yi, Beasley and Kenny Payne if we did not have Brands contract looming and had some financial flexibility. Worse case with a bad pick you cut or trade them.

Worse case with a 30 year old joining a young team for 5years at 89M is that you have another 5 years until you rebuild again, and by then your young players will be demanding money. So you'd be worse than were you started.

meant 80M.

As Dannie asked at Recliner, what exactly is their current direction/plan?

Is it trying to build a Piston like non-superstar team alongside Brand and Iguodala? Or maybe a Kings-like team led by Jordsan but without passing bigs like CWebb or Divac? What is the time period for this experiment? And how much are they willing to invest beyond the 40M committed to Brand/Iguodala/Lou 2 years from now? Or do they simply project the current young core to grow into their roles?

If this is their current plan, are they content to let it play out for then next 3-4 years before they chose a new direction?

I don't think they have a direction currently. I think you have a coach and GM desperately trying to not lose their jobs.

You mean "go uptown?"

Obviously :)

You have to love it when an idiotic coach is giddy after beating an injury-riddled, exhausted team.

Wouldn't building a winning team keep you from losing your job?

If you had time to do it, yes. Right now, I think their window is much more narrow than that. If they were seriously trying to build a winning team, Iverson wouldn't have been signed and Willie Green would not be getting minutes. They're trying to save their jobs by winning as many games as possible in the short term, which is at odds with building a winning team when Eddie Jordan is your head coach.

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JohnEMagee on Jan 5 at 12:01
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Brian

Your Cleveland trade idea - which would probably include the sixers buying out shaq AND Big z is the equivalent of blowing it up as well...so what do you think they should do to get better.

how do you see THIS roster as currently constructed becoming an NBA contender WITHOUT blowing it up? Not just a middle of the pack lose in the first round team which is what they are at their best right now (IMO) but a team that could win the division, make it to the ECF?

The whole roster is based on the assumption that Miller/Brand/Iguodala made them a 50 win team... and the young players would just augment that.

Given the flawed and discarded step one, step 2 is...

I never said I wanted to do the Cleveland trade, I just said that if you were going to blow it all up, that was the way to do it, not trading Iguodala for McGrady.

What do I think they should do to become a contender? Well, what I'd do is fire Jordan immediately, probably fire Stefanski as well. Then I'd completely refocus this team to highlight the strengths of the roster and minimize the weakness.

Going forward we have an elite defender we can put on the other team's best wing scorer, I believe an elite defender we can put on the ball. That's the focus of the team, defense. To make them into a true contender you need three more things, essentially. A center who can block shots and rebound, and then enough offense/shooting from the other two positions to carry the half-court offense.

You don't need all star pieces, you just need quality pieces that fit. Speights could be the guy that fits at the four and provides offense, provided he doesn't wind up being a negative on defense (which is a big if). Thad could possibly be the other wing, but I'm not so sure at this point.

I'd evaluate Thad and Speights extensively, then I'd decide which one is expendable, and I'd use him in a package to move Brand for either a guy who can legitimately fill one of the three needs immediately, eventual cap relief, draft picks or any combination thereof.

I keep saying young core, but right now the only two guys I'm sure would be in the starting lineup when they're ready to compete (2011) are Iguodala and Holiday, and I'm not sure what position Iguodala would be playing.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 12:23
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Actually Brian, history indicates you DO need all star pieces, and probably more than one, to win an NBA title - The pistons aren't the rule, they're the exceptoin in my opinion.

And even if you focused on defense and strengths of this team - when is this roster more than a few games above 500 first round playoff loss type team? I don't see it - not any time soon, which means Brand, good or bad, is useless to the FUTURE championship hopes of this team and that Iguodala might be 'too mature' in his game to wait for the rest of the guys to catch up.

To even contend for a title on this roster you need

A. A better center who can contribute on both ends of the court
B. A point guard starting at point guard
C. A much better deeper bench (you know, a guy who can shoo the three would help)

Even at optimum output for each player - I don't see this team contending for a title before Brand is on the downside (if he isn't already) and maybe not even before Iguodala has already peaked.

Whoever your ideal coach is - this isn't a team with much more than a 500 record in my opinion. It surely isn't a team that could beat the magic, celtics or cavs in a 7 game series (not sure about Atlanta)

Unfortunately, I agree with John. Best case, with the right coach,m a few small moves and players progressing I see a 50 win ceiling team. And that's a lot of things that need to go right in order for a meager reward.

Worse case, they are either horrible or mediocre for 6+ years. 3-4 years of trying to fix the current roster and then another 3-4 years of starting over.

Those are some ugly options. It may sound like I'm eager to blow it up... but its only because I'm hopeless looking at the foreseeable future. Maybe an odd place for a biblical reference... but its Noah/Flood time. So pick your Noah and blame it on the rain...

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JohnEMagee reply to tk76 on Jan 5 at 12:38
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I'm not 'eager' to blow it up - I don't see an option - my hope before the season had nothing to do with wins and losses - it had to do with seeing what guys like holiday young and speights have...and while I'm pleasantly surprised by young, speights doesn't seem to me to have progressed past last year and young seems to be getting worse (though that may be coaching/positional) in relation to his previous 2 seasons.

Well I was one who thought maybe jordan was the right guy, I didn't know he disavowed any knowledge of defense and would ignore it at the extreme, I didn't know the sixers were going to get desperate and sign a past his prime player for a few extra tickets and go away from the things that made them even mediocre.

I've always referred to the roster as 'the island of mismatched toys' and I still think it is - right now - in regards to talent AND 'level of development'

Going to the playoffs and losing in the first round every year (or even the second) but having no 'real' shot at making the finals isn't enjoyable...it's being a flyers fan

Agree 110%

Been arguing the same point for quite a while now. I have no idea where the idea that you can win a championship without an elite player came from and remains when history simply doesn't bear that out.

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JohnEMagee reply to Dannie on Jan 5 at 12:44
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The Detroit Pistons coached by larry brown

Seriously - that's where it comes from in my opinion

And maybe if you have 'above average' starters at every position and some guys on the bench who would start on other teams than sure - but that's a rare combination and the sixers roster as currently constructed would never approach that in my opinion

An they stole a very good player is Sheed. Sheed lacked the desire to be a superstar, but he had a combination of offense and defense at the PF position that was second only to Duncan.... and they were able to add him for nothing- after getting Billups for nothing.

that is a strange combination of events that would be hard to replicate. Much like trading for the #13 pick and getting Kobe is impossible to replicate.

This is where I disagree completely. You aren't talking about an elite player, you're talking about an elite offensive player. Andre Iguodala is an elite player right now. There aren't 10 guys in the league who defend like he has (excluding all games under Jordan when we're talking about defense, btw), rebound, score and make plays for teammates like Iguodala does. Jrue Holiday is pretty close to being an elite defensive player right now, and I believe he will develop into an elite overall player eventually.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 13:09
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and I believe he will develop into an elite overall player eventually.

And how long will that take, and where will Brand and Iguodala be on their career arcs.

One of my points is that 'career arcs' just aren't matching...

Iguodala's 26 and in great shape, I don't think he'll regress by the time he's 28 or 29. I've said now about 10 times in this comment thread that Brand should be moved, so I'm not sure why you keep pretending I'm saying Brand is going to be part of this team if/when they contend.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 13:23
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Brand is going to be part of the team because no one else will trade for him any time soon - so you have to accept he'll be part of the roster...the sixers would probably give him away right now if they could find a taker.

They're taxed out and you know they're going to be looking to get under the 2011 tax number as soon as they possibly can and there's only one asset of REAL value AND big enough contract to facilitate that move.

You seem to think these guys can elevate in 1-2 years when 'trajectory history' of guys drafted where they were drafted indicates it's going to take 3-5...plus Young has taken a step backwards this year...blame Jordan all you want, but dude can not rebound worth a shit, for either position he plays

What are you talking about? When and where did I say elite "offensive" player?

We can agree to disagree on whether Andre Iguodala is really an elite player overall, but at not point anywhere did I qualify elite as being on the offensive end.

The post I wrote named complete players, HOF players so you certainly didn't pull that language out of the blog post.

Let's just take the from the 90s til now. You have Isiah, Jordan, Hakeem, Duncan, Shaq, Kobe, Wade, KG/Pierce, Billups/Hamilton/Sheed.

That's all the championships right there.

Where does Iguodala fit with that group? Better stated how do you envision an Iguodala lead team competing against the likes of teams with that caliber of talent leading them?

Hey Dannie,
Check your email/twitter. This is why you'd make a great guest ;)

First of all, I envision an Iguodala-led team being able to significantly diminish the offensive focus of a team led by Hamilton, Kobe, Wade, Pierce or Jordan. How his team would match up against the bigs would have little to do with Iguodala and much more to do with the bigs on his team. Much the same as we don't know how Jordan's Bulls would've matched up against the Kobe/Shaq Lakers.

Second, I've read your arguments against Iguodala and to me they always boil down to one thing. He doesn't score enough. You can say it 100 different ways, but that's what it comes down to. He doesn't score enough to be elite in your eyes. In my eyes, scoring isn't the be all end all of a basketball player. Actually, I think an elite defender who scores 15-19 points per game, while scoring efficiently is more valuable than a guy who can drop 30 any given night but can't stop his man from doing the same. Your definition of elite is tied directly to scoring potential, that was my point, and you aren't alone. There a lot of people out there right now who don't consider Dwight Howard to be elite because he "only" scores 20 ppg, and this season he's all the way down to 16.9 ppg.

If you're saying the truly elite are both huge scorers and defensive stoppers, then we're talking about 3 guys in the league right now, LeBron, Kobe and Wade. And while Kobe does still have the ability to lock people down on the perimeter, he's almost never asked to match up with the toughest cover, hasn't been for a couple of years. But that's it, three guys. By that definition, I agree, Iguodala is not elite and all but 3 teams in the league are screwed if you need one of those guys to have a shot.

Saying Iguodala is a third-banana is laughable in my opinion. There's one team in the league where he'd be the third-best player right now, and most people wouldn't even guess that I was talking about the Lakers and Pau Gasol when I make that statement, because Gasol is only averaging 16.8ppg this season.

If you value Iguodala that poorly, then yes, I guess you'd have to say they have no other option than to blow this roster up and start from scratch. There's really no other option. It's my opinion that you're going to have to wait forever to build a roster around two guys who are better than him, and a third that's his caliber. Only the Lakers come close to that right now (with Odom, not Artest), looking back I don't think any other champion has had that type of setup since maybe the showtime Lakers, or the 86 Celts. It just doesn't happen anymore.

Iguodala gives the team exactly what it needs on a nightly basis. He's not equipped to score 30ppg, but when they need him to score me, he finds a way. When scoring is coming from elsewhere, he's happy to take a step back on that end and find the guys who are hitting their shots. When they need rebounds, he's the guy who crashes the glass. He does all of this while being shifted all over the floor and not only being assigned the toughest guard on defense, but usually shutting down the opposing team's best perimeter player (and sometimes their best big, if need be). That's elite in my mind and it's something you can and should build around.

I'd be fine with Iguodala as a 17ppg scorer with elite all around game if his 17ppg were efficient.

But that brings up 2 issues:

1.As Derek's recent article demonstrates, outside of transition Iguodala is perhaps the most inefficient and jump shot dependent wing in the NBA. http://www.phillyarena.com/archives/2010-01-03/Mythbusters-Iguodala-the-Slasher

2. You are assuming he would develop into a much more efficient and valuable offensive player if he had better offensive weapons alongside him to take over the load.
-I'm not sure this would be the case. Currently Iguodala dominates the ball. He has a lousy jump shot. I'm not sure if he had great weapons next to him he would properly adapt his game. Honestly, he is surrounded by a bevy of potential 20 pt scorers right now (AI, Lou, Brand, Speights and Thad.) Maybe he will adapt his game as they mature and get better chemistry. maybe he will not. You have more confidence than I do.

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Statman reply to tk76 on Jan 5 at 16:24
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Two problems with Derek's analysis: it ignores free throws and it ignores assists off penetration. If you use a stat like True Shooting percentage that takes into account free throws (Derek's own preferred stat), Iguodala is competitive with every one of the "slashing wing" players on Derek's list. His 56.0 career TS% is marginally higher than both LeBron's and Kobe's TS%, in fact. As I've argued many times before, it's a myth to say Iguodala is not an efficient offensive player.

I do agree that Iguodala is not a good jump shooter off the dribble; it's the one glaring hole in his game. He's also been terrible this year at finishing around the rim, and he's shot far too many jumpers in the halfcourt for my liking. But to argue, as Derek has done, that Iguodala is not effective at slashing in the halfcourt while ignoring two of the stronger components in his game that are enhanced when he drives (drawing fouls, finding open teammates) is incomplete at best.

Overall TS% is flawed, because it doesn't take into account what situation that came from. His TS% (taking into account 25% of his fga's come from transition, not to mention X% of free throws from drives in transition) doesn't really hold much in an argument about what he prefers to do in the halfcourt.

I didn't post the TS% because I don't have the data broken down in that regard. What I do have is Points Per Shot, and, well, the case isn't made for you.

In half-court drives, Iguodala averages 0.95 points per shot. worse than 75% of the NBA.
Joe Johnson: 1.09 pps.
Ray Allen: 1.03.
Pierce: 1.16.
Maggette: 1.29.
Ellis: 1.06.
Deng: 1.16.
LeBron: 1.38
Wade: 1.11.
Kobe: 1.20
Jefferson: 1.29
Thad: 1.11

I don't readily have the % of possessions that result in assists from half-court drives in front of me, but that wasn't the argument I was trying to make. In fact, that was one of the first things I stated in my conclusions section. He's a marvelous passer.

My intent wasn't to say Iguodala's a terrible offensive player, my intent was to show that Iguodala is not primarily a driving wing player. I think the fact that 72% of his half-court shots are jump shots proves that. I think it's also proven that he's fairly inefficient in the half-court, both in terms of jump shots and in terms of efficiency when he does drive. Is he a great passer? Yes. Did I state otherwise in my post? No. In fact, I explicitly stated in my post that he was.

Yeah, I get your point, and it's valid. I was just wondering how he rates among other "slashers" in terms of using his penetration to set up teammates. If he's doing that at an extremely high rate, it would damped the percentages somewhat. Meaning, yes 72% of his shots are jumpers, but he's actually driving close to 40-45% of the time, with 12% of his drives resulting in assists, rather than shots. See what I mean?

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Statman reply to Derek Bodner on Jan 5 at 17:38
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If the 0.95 PPS is Iguodala's career number on half-court drives, then count me surprised, and your argument gains strength. If it's his number from this year, then it's a product of his having a career-worst year in finishing at the rim (and I'm not surprised).

Regarding the point about assists: your overall conclusion was "Iguodala's not a slashing wing player." My point was that to come to that conclusion without taking into account the number of open looks and outright lay-ups/dunks that he creates off his drives is incomplete at best. For example, if you had the assist stats in front of you (not saying that you do or you should), you could create a "points per drive" stat, and I would guess that Iguodala's number would be higher than those of the other slashers (like Thad, for whom the majority of other outcomes on his drives would be turnovers).

Real quick, from the previous years he was a primary option:
2008-2009: 1.23 PPS
2007-2008: 1.06
2006-2007: 1.08

Which pretty much jives with what I pasted in my conclusion. This was is career worst year, last year was his career best year, both probably statistical anomalies, with his norm in the 1.05-1.10 range, which in comparison to the rest of the list would be in the bottom of the range. That, combined with how infrequently he drives, leads to a conclusion that he's not really a slashing wing player.

I wish I could pull up the % of possessions that lead to an assist. I just don't have it. I wouldn't expect it to change him appreciably (remember, LeBron, Kobe, Joe Johnson, et al will be getting assists off drives too, changing their percentages. Might help him against the Ray Allen's or Corey Maggette's, though). I'll poke around the scouting tools and see if I can find it. Right now i'm short on time and have to head down to the wacho center.

A couple possible explanations, though not excuses, and a question. #1, Iguodala is not a team's number one option on offense, never should have been, shouldn't be in the future. Asked to take too many shots, the extras are most likely going to be jumpers because a jumper is always easier to get. #2, for the past two-plus seasons (since Iverson's departure), teams have frequently doubled Iguodala to get the ball out of his hands, this goes back to #1, but it needs to be said. #3, Just throw this season's numbers out. It doesn't surprise me in the least that his jumper % is way up in this ridiculous offense.

In the grand scheme of things, though, I don't really care where his points are scored. I don't expect Iguodala to be the catalyst of my half court offense, that's not his game. If he's taking 12 shots/game and scoring 18 points/game, and 8 of those points are coming in transition, that's fine by me.

As for the question, Iguodala gets a lot of his assists off penetration, I'm not sure if there's a stat for that (I know he's #9 in the league in assists at the rim. Last season he was #11.) So my question is how many assists does he get off drives in the half court, it may be a bit misleading only quantifying his percentage of shots off drives without also factoring in the plays he makes off the dribble as part of his effectiveness as a slasher.

There should be a question mark in there somewhere, my brain is completely fried right now.

Preview coming shortly.

I think Iguodala is an average offensive player in general and a weak, inconsistent half court offensive player specifically. I don't like his offensive game much at all. So yup, that's a fact. But don't get it twisted thinking that's the ONLY reason he isn't on my list of elite players.

It also doesn't mean I discredit what he brings defensively. He is a fine defensive player when he brings his A game. You consider him elite overall because you think he is an elite defender so in essence your argument can be called one-side as well. You are focusing on one-side of the ball just as much as the offensive people do.

Put them both together and it just means when compared to what I consider elite he doesn't stack up when considering the sum total of offense, defense and everything else a great basketball player does on the court and for his teammates.

I am not one of those people that tosses the word "great" or "elite" out like free samples at the grocery store as the MSM and most fans do. I am not running around screaming that all the volume scorers/offensive players are great and elite.

There is a very, very small number of those players and they are the ones that win championships most of the time, or at least get close to it.

I actually think Dwight Howard is an elite player who COULD score more (efficiently) if given opportunities. He just doesn't get them and that effect stunts his offensive development, as is the case with most young bigs. But he dominates the game anyway. Whether its just getting a touch inside that completely breaks down a defense or what he brings on the boards and protecting the paint. If he got more touches and opportunities he essential becomes Shaq. Van Gundy's offense just isn't built for that to happen.

With regard to the Sixers, if you consider Iguodala elite would you blow it up completely just keeping him as the center piece to build around rather than keeping mismatched parts around him as is the case now?

In my opinion you get your elite player and build around his talent. That's always the plan one way or another.

So if Iguodala is at that level in your mind and as currently constructed the Sixers are quite horrible right now and a team that IMO would hover above .500 as a ceiling, does that suggest the roster that bad as a whole around him?

If so isn't blowing it up the only option? How is this situation different than when AI was in his prime and the Sixers needing to build around a flawed talent?

At the end of the day, I don't see Dala as a player (offense and defense, leadership, intangibles and whatever other trait you attach to great players) that is capable of carrying a team period and I think all elite player are, at any time, was needed and consistently if that's necessary.

So in that respect I wouldn't be building my team around him as a centerpiece. He would be a "part" albeit a very good one around a better player.

Regarding this comment: By that definition, I agree, Iguodala is not elite and all but 3 teams in the league are screwed if you need one of those guys to have a shot.

Going in every year isn't that the unsaid thought process anyway for the most part and has been for a long time? Bird's teams were favorites, Magic's teams were favorites, Jordan's teams were favorites, Hakeem's teams were favorites, Kobe, Shaq, on down the line. And when it was all said and done one of those guys wins it nearly every season. So damn right, a whole lot of teams ARE screwed that's how the NBA is structured for the most part. It makes luck significantly more important because teams either get lucky and land one of those players OR get stuck with middling players and a lot of salary resulting in mediocrity.

Now you're misquoting. I consider him elite because he contributes in every area of the game, and contributes a large amount. Scoring isn't the only part of offense, setting your teammates up for easy conversions is also a big part, and he does that.

And this talk of his leadership or his attitude is bullshit. The guy never complains about anything, never rips his teammates to the press. The worst leader in the NBA for the past decade has been Kobe Bryant, and I'm sure he's atop your list.

Never complaining or not ripping teammates doesn't make you a leader either. It makes you not a jerk for sure. But simply not acting that way doesn't make you a leader.

And regarding me misquoting you what makes Iguodala an elite player is the fact that he actually reaches an elite level in an area in your mind defense. What else is he elite at doing aside from that?

He is good as other things but not elite. Right? Like by your own account he isn't a guy that is of the caliber offensively that you would make him the focal point of the offense. But he is good there. What lifts him is the fact that he isn't horrible at other things and is good a many BUT his defining trait is what he brings defensively. Take that away and make him just a solid defender, is he still and elite overall player?

If an elite offense player wasn't as good as Iguodala defensively but he is solid, would you also consider that guy elite too all things being equal (he isn't a turnover machine, nonrebounder etc etc.)?

#1 rebounder among SGs
#4 rebounder among SFs
#2 in assists among SGs
#2 in assists among SFs

Whichever position you want to count him as, those are elite numbers. No, he isn't a league leader in assists, because he doesn't play the point. No he isn't among the league leaders in rebounds, because he isn't a four or a five. But he is both an elite rebounder and assister (very tired at this point) for his position.

#4 in steals among SGs
#1 in steals among SFs

as well, though I don't put a ton of stock in steals as a stat in a vacuum.

Did you see the stats I posted over at PhillyArena ?

http://www.phillyarena.com/archives/2010-01-03/Mythbusters-Iguodala-the-Slasher

Yes... look up the thread. They were discussing your article.

Sorry, this thread's moving too fast for me to keep up.

You didn't read my response, John. I didn't say you didn't need all stars, I said the other three starters didn't need to be all star quality. And I also said I'd evaluate Thad and Speights to see which one of them I'd be comfortable with moving along with Brand to get his contract off the books.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 13:08
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Part of 'all star quality' is the 'respect' from the refs - see Wade against the Mavericks - it's stupid but it matters - especially in the playoffs where teams are more physical

Whether or not you think Iguodala is all star quality in terms of PLAY the perception is that he's not - and the same goes for Brand.

The sixers don't have any perceived all stars - and that matters in terms of getting those calls in the finals during crunch time - the 'all stars' get the benefit of the doubt - no one on the sixers gets the benefit of the doubt, and I doubt Iguodala ever will...he's just seen as a 'second banana' - regardless of his numbers.

There's reality and there's perception - the perception of reality is what matters - and the perception of reality is that Andre Iguodala is a 'nice' player but not an all star - and that perception will impact the playoffs - just a fact.

PS - it's not one all star player needed to win a title - it's two

That, IMO, is the hardest part of this EJ saga. Because, before this year, I would've said to have the young players develop in the roles you'd expect to play in 2 years. Meaning, Dre/Thad on the wings, Speights getting solid minutes with the emphasis put on his D. Jrue getting 25-30 min per game at least.

The point of emphasis would be on development and evaluation, pushing toward the time when the young core(all of whom are younger then 23) would be starting to hit their primes with the leadership having a clear idea on who can do what where and what more might be needed to move forward.

The point of emphasis for this team should be about becoming an elite defensive team, and anybody who fails to buy into that is removed. With playmakers like Dala & Jrue combined with developing finishers like m16 & Thad, offense should take of itself.

Now, eval is in the toilet. And this team now has to bring in a harsh taskmaster just to get back to where they were, much less move forward.

No,

This year is about jumpshots taking them uptown from way downtown.

Its about the Princeton Offense modified without cuts or a center who passes.

Its about defensive boot camp and the Priceton Defense.

Its about some dogs having no bite and puppies.

Its about 80M dollar subs who feast on second rate players.

Its about Brand v. Jordan.

Its about AI being our Farve.

Its about a backcourt rotation of AI/Lou/Green

Its about Thad as our full time PF.

Its about making sure Jrue/Thad/Speights combine for less than 48 min a game.

...what were you thinking?

I'd just like to point out that this team doesn't have a center OR PF that passes. People get on Sam almost exclusively but Brand is not a good passer and Speights is not a willing passer. So there is no big on this roster capable of being a center piece in a true Princeton style offense.

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JohnEMagee reply to Dannie on Jan 5 at 13:01
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Speights and Brand however have offensive game and can dribble - in addition to not passing sam can't do much of anything offensively (including counting to 3)

If defense doesn't matter anyway to Jordan he should start brand/speights

Agreed. Which was one of the many reasons I was semi-skeptical of this offense from the jump. Jordan used to sell it by citing the Kings, 60s Celtics, 70s Knicks, all who flourished with bigs who were natural playmakers.

That's called tailoring a system to your talent, not the other way around, as he's trying to do

Let me clear this up, because my comment above led people down a different road than I'd intended. If you don't blow it up, I believe this team can contend starting in 2011 with the following.

1. A coach who knows what the fuck he's doing.
2. Jrue Holiday starting at PG
3. Andre Iguodala starting at either SF/SG TBD.
4. Either Thad Young or Marreese Speights starting and proving 20 ppg+ of efficient offense, but not both guys starting unless one makes a dramatic improvement on the defensive end.
5. Either a wing who can shoot being brought in if Thad is the odd man out, or a PF who can provide some offense is Speights is the odd man out.
6. A defense-first center who can clean the glass, rebound and finish easy attempts inside, nothing more.

To get there, you're probably going to have to move Brand because, yes, he's probably not going to be a viable threat at that age. So whichever guy of Speights/Thad is not going to be part of it long-term, you package with Brand and move him.

I'd target Gortat to fill the center vacancy. Orlando is going to be looking to move that contract sooner rather than later.

The other needed piece for the starting lineup would have to come through either the draft or trade, probably the draft, and I think it would be much easier to find a shooting guard, so Thad is probably the odd man out.

You address the bench after your starting five is assembled. I'm fine w/ Lou Williams in a smaller role as instant offense off the bench, but if he can moved to get one of the pieces for the starting lineup, then do it.

I do not agree that you need an elite scorer to win a championship and it's not just the 04 Pistons who proved this, the Piston Bad Boys teams proved it as well.

They won back-to-back titles in a tough league without a 20ppg scorer on their roster.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 13:21
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Nice wish list - but it still ignores major flaws in the sixers game

1. Who is a perimeter threat on that roster?
2. How are you doing all this AND improving the bench.

Reaching back for the pistons bad boys days is just desperation - the league has changed since then - they might not even win today - and they had perceived all star talent - and again, a solid roster of above average talent at most positions and a strong bench - and a league that cared loss about physical contact...the league has changed since then - and look how far back you had to go to find a second example?

You use the exceptions to say it can be done - but usually the rule holds true - not the exception - that's why they're exceptions

Speights is probably already a 20 PPG 'efficient' scorer, but he's a crap rebounder and defender, and so is young...their improvment isn't in their ability to score it's in their ability to defend, rebound, and in Speights case, pass.

While you're still high on Gortat many seem to think he was a contract year player...and those are always things that concern me...guys who play 'above career' in their contract year.

How did Boston address their bench after they got Garnett/Allen? They didn't have any cap space, how did they get Posey/House etc? Minimum contracts and the MLE. You put the starting five together, you show growth, those types of players will come w/out impacting your cap number. It happened for the Sixers last season w/ Ratliff and Donyell.

The Bad Boys were the first team that came to mind, I didn't go searching at all. The fact of the matter is that most championships are won by the very, very elite superstars who are paired with coaches who know better than to mess things up. Guys who come along a couple times a decade, at most. The Sixers haven't had one of those guys since Wilt. If you don't get one of those, you have to do what you can to put together a group of players who can collectively do something at an exceptional level. In the Sixers' case, that has to be defense.

Or you can just bury your head in the sand, cry that we don't have Kobe or LeBron and hope the Sixers suck for as long as it takes to get unbelievably lucky in the draft. I'll take the former.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 13:39
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Not sure where I'm burying my head in the sand, i think you on the other hand are desperate to find a way this roster can win and are stretching in terms of what's possible.

Elite superstars paired with a coach who knows how not to mess that up - and you had to go all the way back to wilt to find one huh?

Say what you want - but in his prime Iverson was an elite superstar and Brown knew how not to mess that up (at least while he was interested).

I understand you want to see the sixers win a title or contend for one - i just think you're overly optimstic and so many things need to go 'right' in your plan that it's completely unlikely and ignores the realities of what the sixers are doing right now

"I understand you want to see the sixers win a title or contend for one - i just think you're overly optimistic and so many things need to go 'right' in your plan that it's completely unlikely and ignores the realities of what the sixers are doing right now."

So many things have to go right no matter what path you choose to take. I choose to look at how unbelievably lucky the Sixers got with the #9 pick in 2004 and build around that guy and his unique abilities to create a contender. To me, that seems a lot more logically than intentionally sucking, then praying you get the right ping pong ball during the right year, then hope you can fit enough pieces around that one guy to win a championship.

I believe you have two excellent building blocks to assemble an elite defensive team. You start from there, set a goal and work toward it. Make yourself at top-five defensive team in the league, then look at the roster and figure out how you can improve the offense if it still needs it.

By hiding your head in the sand, I mean looking at the roster, saying "fuck it, we don't have a superstar, we're never going to win anything," and checking out. For me, the team is always relevant and I don't think I'd want it any other way. This season kills me because I wanted gradual improvement, but whatever. Stupid decisions by the front office don't completely devalue the players on the roster in my mind.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 13:41
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PS - one can have ones head in the sand when they ignore the realities presented before them.

That's the type of 50 win ceiling team that is best case scenario. It involves a lot of ifs, biggest of which is unloading Brand- but it could happen.

I'd enjoy that team, but I would not confuse it for a contender. At best it will be like the Cavs teams where Ehlo always acted as Jordan's foil.

The only way that team is a contender is if they do something like land Wall in the lottery and add that type of transcendent player to the solid core. So I guess that puts me firmly in the "need a superstar" camp. the problem is, its nearly impossible to get a top 10 player, and even then you don't always win.

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ryano reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:07
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Brian,

I would say the Bad Boy Pistons did have a superstar in Isiah Thomas. He knew the team worked better when he wasn't scoring 25 a night, but he had the ability to score in big bunches when the team needed him to, and he did. He was one of the top 4 or 5 point guards of all time as well as being a top 5 or 10 player in the league at the time. We have no one near that level.

he was a top 5-10 player while scoring only 18 ppg? That's just not possible. Just ask any member of the MSM.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:14
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WEll you also can't have it both ways

Iguodala is an elite player to you (contrary to MSM) - Isiah isn't cause MSM says he wasn't (PS Isiah is seen by the MSM as one of the best)

Was Isiah seen as an elite player before he won the championships? Would Iguodala be considered an elite player right now if the Sixers had advanced beyond the first round in the past two seasons?

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:48
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I don't recall that far back

And no he wouldn't be

Disagree. People started calling Josh frigging Howard elite when the Mavs were going deep in the playoffs.

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ryano reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 15:07
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A lot of players get the label short term, the players who really matter carry it long term and I think Thomas did that. And certainly, to truly put a player among the elite, they need to win the ring. Howard was a product of Dallas hype and his own potential.

Isiah Thomas was 1st team all NBA for 3 years BEFORE he made it to the Finals...

Doesn't 1st team all NBA equate with being a top 5-10 superstar? Will anyone on the Sixers make 1st or second team all NBA even once in their career?

http://www.basketball-reference.com/players/t/thomais01.html

All Star 5 times before making the Finals. Part of 12 consecutive All Star games. He was in some ways like AI, but more of a team player.

Led NBA in assists twice, as well as #2,4,5 in years befoer they made the Finals. One year averaged about 21 pts and 14 assists.

Basically average 21 pts and 11 assists in the 5 years before they made the Finals. His numbers dipped as they added good players around him. He was a superstar who assumed a more complementary role in the years they won it all.

I believe Iverson already has, so there :)

My comment about Isiah was sarcastic, though it obviously wasn't received as such.

I took this as serious:

"Was Isiah seen as an elite player before he won the championships?"

That one was an honest question, not me saying he wasn't considered elite. the first comment about his scoring was sarcastic. yes, i'm even confusing myself today.

I understood your meaning. Was answering the serious part. I was not a Zeke fan, but clearly he was seen as a top 10 NBA superstar before they made the Finals. 5 straight All Star appearances and 1st team all NBA 3X attests to this.

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ryano reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:27
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Nash won an MVP award scoring 18 ppg. Bill Russell won 11 championships scoring 15 ppg. I'd argue Thomas was at least top 10. Magic, Jordan, Hakeem, Barkley...maybe Bird at that point, though in 89 he was breaking down...I'm not sure there are 5 other players I'd take over Isiah from '88 to '90.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 16:25
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Agree 100%, Brian.

I would probably move Thad with Brand...keep Speights to be the scoring 4 next to the defensive 5...I like the idea of Gortat as the 5...use this year's lottery pick to find a SG who can "S"...

And GET A FREAKING COACH.

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JohnEMagee on Jan 5 at 13:27
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Brian

I think you're overly optimistic on how fast certain players could develop, the value of any of the 'assets' the sixers have around the league, the impact a coach would make, and most importantly, how comcast is going to approach the sixers over the next few years...I don't think they care as much about winning as they do not paying the luxury tax, that was made evidence by their approach to last years off season

Well nothing I've proposed really calls for them to spend more money over the next couple of seasons, other than firing Eddie Jordan. Though I think he should be charged with grand larceny for stealing money.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:27
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But the sixers want to spend LESS money - not the same amount - they are over the 2011 tax level when the cap goes down instead of up - so the reality is they don't even want to maintain their current salary level - they seem desperate to avoid the luxury tax, and desperation breeds bad things.

I think we have to face the facts that you can't win championships without luck in this league. Whether Kobe going #13, San Antonio losing Robinson for a year at the perfect time and getting Duncan, Jordan falling to third for the Bulls, the Lakers stealing Pau at the perfect time...luck is everything in making a champ. And minus the Pistons, there certainly hasn't been a non-top-5-player lead team to win a championship in my lifetime.

I think this team has an upper echelon type roster with a coaching staff that can bring out the best in our players. Why couldn't we grind to 50+ wins a year on defense and transition hoops? But to go for the ring we need a stud. I don't know if that's John Wall...or Wesley Johnson (my choice if we don't get #1). But whether through the draft or by landing a true top 5 or 10 player, we need a go to player and vocal leader on this team.

I'm praying Eddie never listens to another level headed piece of coaching advice from this staff for the rest of the season and we end up tanking...and get lucky with a top 3 pick.

Wall looks like a pretty damned good player, but what are the odds that he winds up being a Duncan, Magic, Kobe, Bird, Jordan type of talent? And what are the odds the Sixers get him?

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:13
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Odds are the sixers won't get him - in fact the odds are against any specific team in the lottery getting him - but someone is going to get him.

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ryano reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 14:16
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Granted...and I agree with you there. The chances of Wall being that good are incredibly small. And the chances of us getting him are at best, what, 25 or 30 percent for the first pick if we have the worst record? I don't want our players to tank, because I would never want that attitude affect our young players, but I do hope they keep losing for two reasons:

1. Every championship winner, with one exclusion, has had a transcendent superstar...and the higher the pick, the better the chance we grab one (although the chance is still small).
2. Eddie Jordan can't coach this team, or seemingly any other team above a JV girls middle school team level. So why bother getting a piddling #12 pick after a year where our wins are hurting the team and it's fans more than it's losses. Unless Jordan leaves before February, why root for wins?

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JohnEMagee reply to ryano on Jan 5 at 14:21
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It's 25%

So even the worst team in the league has a 75% chance of NOT getting the first pick

You need to be damn lucky- but you also have to put yourself in a position where you can get lucky.

When you are mediocre and over the tax luck cannot even come into play. When you maximize your pick this year or maximize you financial flexibility in the next 1-2 years you at least have a shot at being one of those lucky teams.

Football is a completely different beast- but this analogy still works:

Look back at 1999. The Eagles had been mediacre and mismanaged for a long time. They had the #2 pick, and had they ended up with any of the other 5 1st round QB's they would still be spinning their wheels. But the got McNabb, and coupled with a new strong organization they were off on a 10 year run.

Had they not been in position to strike gold with the one great QB (surrounded by duds)...

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Statman reply to tk76 on Jan 5 at 15:46
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When you are mediocre and over the tax luck cannot even come into play. When you maximize your pick this year or maximize you financial flexibility in the next 1-2 years you at least have a shot at being one of those lucky teams.

I think this is the crucial question for this very interesting conversation: are you willing to sacrifice being a contending (i.e., playoff) team for several years into the future for the chance at landing a superstar? For the two courses of action that people have been debating, I think one is much more risky than the other:

Option A: Blow It Up
- Guaranteed terrible teams for 3-4 years
- Guaranteed lower fan interest and attendance
- Guaranteed lower revenues
- Possible contraction candidate
- Possibility of landing a superstar
- Probability of staying terrible for 5-6 years

Option B: Make the Best of It
- Probable contending team in the immediate future
- Possible increased fan interest and attendance
- Less chance of landing a superstar
- Lower chance of winning a title (0.1% -> 0.001%?)

Others have made the point (Dannie was probably the first one) that the 03-04 Pistons are a poor choice for the Sixers to try to emulate, as the one team in 30 years not built around a superstar (ryano: I guess you weren't alive in 1979 when the Sonics won behind Dennis Johnson, Gus Williams, and Jack Sikma?). However, the Philadelphia franchise almost has no choice but to pursue a championship that way.
- They don't have the financial resources or the "destination cachet" to sign a superstar (the way the Lakers signed Shaq in 1996).
- They don't have a fan base that will support the team no matter what. Philly fans will support the Sixers when they win, but they will abandon the team when they lose. This means lower revenues and decreased ability to attract superstars in the future.

Another factor to consider in the "Blow It Up" option is just how low the odds are of landing the superstar that will eventually lead a team to a title. In the aforementioned last 30 years, 29 champions were built around the following 10 players: Moses, Bird, Magic, Isiah, Olajuwon, Jordan, Shaq, Garnett, Kobe, Duncan. Only the last 4 of those players were picked in the lottery era (last 25 years). So, not only do you have to (1) win the lottery, but you have to (2) do it in the right year [less than a 1-in-6-years chance by the numbers above] and (3) pick the right player.

And beyond that, once you have become one of the lucky teams to land a franchise player, you have to continue to make the right decisions going forward. Because the team is no longer going to continue to be terrible (he's a franchise player, after all), so it will be left with the "mediocre" draft positions that the Sixers have suffered the last few years. Case in point, are the Hornets a threat this year with their franchise PG Chris Paul? They've made a few moves the past couple years, but they haven't been the right ones. At some point, even teams that have "Blown It Up" need to use their cap flexibility and actually "Go For It" -- just as the Sixers tried to do with Elton Brand.

One last point -- I know I'm probably in the minority, but I think it's a fallacy to say, "I'm not going to enjoy being a fan of my team unless it is a favorite to win the title." I've been a Sixer fan for 30+ years, and generally the only ones I haven't enjoyed have been the ones when they've been terrible (mid-90's mostly). The 89-90 team remains one of my favorites, even though they realistically had no shot at dethroning the Pistons or getting past the Bulls.



"Option B: Make the Best of It
- Probable contending team in the immediate future
- Possible increased fan interest and attendance
- Less chance of landing a superstar
- Lower chance of winning a title (0.1% -> 0.001%?)"

How do you make this team a probable contending team in the immediate future? If that was the case I'd back your plan %100.

Despite my calls or the nuclear option I'm not a Finals or bust type fan. I'd love to see Eagles like consistent top 4 success. But I see very little chance this is a top 4 NBA team in the next 7 years without drastic action (4 years of trying then at least another 3 years after they finally blow it up with Brand/Iguodala/Thad trades in 3-4 years.) If they blow it up now its not a much better scenario, but there is at least a good shot at a fresh start with a real star sometime in the next 3-4 years.

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Statman reply to tk76 on Jan 5 at 16:45
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I think we have different definitions of "contending" and "good shot" at a "real star."

To me, if a team makes it to the second round of the playoffs (final 8), that's contending. And the Sixers really weren't that far last year (though many may disagree). They lost Andre Miller this year, but Brand is playing better than expected, and Holiday may become a better overall PG than Miller in 2-3 years. Brian has argued that with even a mediocre coach (instead of a historically bad one) that their record might be flipped. So is it that unrealistic to expect a 45-win team that makes the second round with the current roster?

On the other hand, what are the actual chances of landing a "real star"? In the past ten years, there have been maybe 4 franchise players (LeBron, Howard, Chris Paul, Durant) and a few others that are close-to-franchise players (Carmelo, Wade, Bosh). That's less than one per year, and it has to be the right year (too bad if your team won the lottery and got to pick Kenyon Martin or Bargnani).

Ironically, your example of the Eagles is an interesting one. A lot of Eagles fans would rather get rid of McNabb at this point because they think the Eagles will never win a Super Bowl with him at QB (because he is not an "elite" QB). I completely agree with you that it's been a great ride this past decade with the Eagles, but it's all about where you draw the line at "contending" and how you define an "elite" player.

I mostly agree with the above. By real star I mean a cheaper star (through the draft) that likely will be more of an impact player than Brand or Iguodala (my opinion, because I don't view Iguodala as to 25.) I'm not saying top 5 NBA superstar. More like potential top 15.

Basically I'd much rather have a young, lousy team with a guy like Rose on his rookie deal (who I do not see as as an All NBA future, but definitely star potential) then having the current lousy-average team with Iguodala and Brand under their current deals (and Thad soon getting a big deal to replace Sam's.)

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Crow reply to ryano on Jan 5 at 14:16
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"Why couldn't we grind to 50+ wins a year on defense and transition hoops?"

We could. A lousy coach destroyed this season. A "hands off" coach could have gotten this team to .500 basketball. A good coach could have gotten us to 50 wins. Thanks definitely something to think about when conversations about blowing things up begin. A team with 50 wins will be top four or five in the east this year and probably on its way to the second round of the playoffs. I wouldn't blow a team like that up.

Just think if idiot Eddie Jordan was working as a UPS delivery man and we had an actual coach for this team. He might be sharp enough to start A.I., Iggy, Thad, Brand, and Sammy. He could then swap out A.I., Thad, and Sammy for Jrue, Lou, and Marreese to bring in more offense. If he could find ways to give Iggy and Brand breathers now and then (perhaps bringing Carney and Kapono off the bench as necessary), we'd be talking about 50 wins, no problem.

It's coaching... not the players. We were close with DeLeo at the helm. It jsut sucks that everything's gone to shit with our current moron.

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ryano reply to Crow on Jan 5 at 14:23
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I couldn't agree more. I was excited for this season. I thought it was going to be team fighting on the defensive end and getting a ton of transition buckets. Phoenix with defense is what I was hoping for. Inexplicable.

Question: Does Jordan ever get another head coaching job after his performance with this team?

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JohnEMagee reply to ryano on Jan 5 at 14:26
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Question: Does Jordan ever get another head coaching job after his performance with this team?

Probably - the NBA i all about retreads

He will be the offensive assistant genius. He should be that now for a real head coach.

Brian,

I know it's early, and you may not want to think this far ahead or assume the losses will keep piling on top of one another...but who are you high on coming out this year. And secondly, can we expect a write up on the Sixers options/wish list coming up anytime soon?

I've been watching Wesley Johnson all year long, and he has not disappointed. Any thoughts?

I don't follow college hoops enough insight. I'm hoping some of you guys will provide scouting reports as the draft draws closer.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 5 at 15:55
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Sounds like a call for Derek

If not Wall, Johnson is my guy from a pure fit standpoint.

He is essentially the perimeter version of Thad (i.e. elite shooter/scorer from perimeter) but a better rebounder. And his defensive stats suggest he is at least working on that end. Hard to gauge that translation since he is playing zone primarily being at Cuse.

Looking forward to when Draft Express does there position by position player breakdowns.

Do you think we should be worrying about fit at this point?

I think we should be worrying about fit IF we can come to an agreement on who should be keepers on the roster now.

If not now, when should we be worrying about fit? If the plan isn't to blow it up, what else is there to do? Bring in more redundant talent just because it's talent.

So for example if we agree Iguodala is a straight up keeper than absolutely I think Johnson fits quite nicely next to him. Besides that from a talent standpoint I think he is worthy of a top 10 pick for sure the season will bear out if he is top 5 or 3 worthy.

Yeah, my question was if you think we should blow it up, then why draft for a need?

I know Jonathan's huge on Wesley. I'm a little skeptical. He's got huge talent, and that skillset at the 3 is dynamic. His performance against UCONN really set the stage for his hype.

I'm a little skeptical. Obviously, he's a high reward guy. After wall, he's as talented of a perimeter player as there is in this class. But he' got quite a few questions marks. His Sophomore season at Iowa State can be described as nothing other than as disappointing as possible, showing all the flaws that make him a bit of a gamble. Bad (horrid, actually) shot selection, weak ballhandling, and unfocused at times defense.

He took a year off during the transfer (coming in as a 22 year old Junior), and so far has shown none of those tendencies. If this is the new Wesley Johnson, I might take him #2 overall. But we're 14 games into his renaissance. I'm going to want to see it over the full season, postseason and tournament before I give my final opinion of whether he's a top 5 pick. And even then, I might be somewhat hesitant. and that would have very little to do with skillset.

Outside of top 5 he's 100% worth the risk though. My concern about him is whether he's top 2-3 worthy.

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ryano reply to Derek Bodner on Jan 5 at 17:01
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If we believe that we have real talent with a future in Jrue, Speights, and Thad, and already knowing what Andre brings to the table, I think looking at fit is definitely important. Suppose we get the number 2 pick. If we go on potential, talent, and upside along, we're probably looking at Favors. But with Speights, I like what we have at 4. Aldrich is the best center in the draft, and I don't think he's going to be anything special. Johnson fits a need with his shooting and defense. He's playing small forward for Syracuse and is blocking over 2 shots a night in 32 minutes of work, the guy plays defense.

I like that he's been around the block a bit. I think going to Syracuse showed that he knew he needed to grow a bit and knew he wanted to play for a winner and a great coach, and he got that. He's a good leaper. He shoots 50% from 3. I think he has the potential to be a good scorer in the pro's. And I've seen that some scouts think he can play a big 2, which would make any combination of Andre/Thad/Wesley possible. I think he'd be a great fit.

In terms of fit ballhandling's my biggest concern.

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ryano reply to Derek Bodner on Jan 5 at 17:33
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As long as we're not envisioning a point forward I think we'll be ok. Plus, ball handling is one of the easier skills to improve upon.

I think that we are wildly overrating the talent on this team, and overrating the negative impact Eddie Jordan is making on this team. By no means am I defending Eddie, he's one of the worst coaches I've ever seen. But there's no way this team is any good. We lost andre miller and replaced him with lou will and jrue holiday. lou will is a legit dud. just bad. #2, elton brand is an undersized powerforward that doesn't play on the block. Our criticism of the sixers on that playoff run against the Magic (which even then they were bad), was based on defense and transition offense, and they needed a presence on the low block. We got elton, for whatever reason, and mo cheeks was blamed when elton couldn't strengthen our half court game. now our half court game is borderline atrocious with lou will, iggy, willie green, thad, each ISOING, taking a bad jumper or driving head down and hoping for a foul. This team's CEILING is 50 wins? sure, MAYBE, but it looks a hell of a lot more like a 30 win team to me, and a 22 win team with the inclusion of Eddie Jordan, one of the worst coaches of all time. Iggy is a classic stat guy, with lapses in defense. our point of attack defense is completely f'd up with louwill allen iverson willie green, jrue can't play too many minutes. Elton brand is slow on the defensive post.

I agree with you and Dannie on this basic premise.

Coming into this year all of the optimism,ism convinced me to raise by win prediction to 39 when I should have gone with my gut. I expected them to struggle for 2-3 months and then make another late run as they figured out the P.O.

Of course Jordan is much worse than I expected, but Brand is playing better than I thought he would. Right now they'd have to play 500 ball to get 35 wins, so I expect more around 30.

Iguodala: good NBA player, 2nd level star in the top 25-40 range (a lot of players in this range.) Needs to be on a transition team to maximize his impact (ideally a old time Lakers or really old time Celtics style defensive/running team.)

Brand: Top 100 player. Solid but not the best fit for the coach and most of his teammates (excpet Jrue and AI.) People don't mention much that Brand and Iguodala have zero chemistry.

Thad/Speights/Lou: Promising young natural scorers, but their youth and defensive holes do not currently make them winning players except in transition.

Jrue: Promising young defender and natural PG. Sometimes a winner but making lots of rookie mistakes, so more likely a winner down the road. very little scoring, but the team does not need that from him. Should play 30 min/game alongside Iguodala with all of the other scoring weapons they have.

Sam: Elite defensive rebounder. At times elite defender of PF's (but not big centers) but not a winning player on the floor do to inability to either play within himself ofr stay on the floor.

AI: professional scorer. Now plays within himself. Winner on the floor, but defense optional.

Green: Serviceable 9th man.

Everyone else is garbage.


...So not many "winning players" right now.


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ryano reply to Shawn on Jan 5 at 16:25
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Shawn, I would argue the reasons that: we go isolation, Elton isn't playing on the block, Willie Green averages any meaningful minutes, all of our young guys are going to stall in their development, we don't play any defense, and we shoot way too many long 2's is almost exclusively Eddie Jordan's fault. We'd see a much different team without him. There are flashes of a good team when Eddie mistakenly uses correct line ups and the players grit it on defense without getting direction from the bench.

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Shawn reply to ryano on Jan 5 at 16:45
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I think it's fair to put a lot of the blame on Eddie. I mean, let's be honest, there's no such thing as the princeton offense in philadelphia. But a lot of those things I detailed, and you mentioned, are mostly because nobody can do the things we want them to do. Thad isn't really anything. What really is his offensive game? Iguodala? What is he really good at? In all his years here, I don't really know what his true strengths are. He's not a good ball handler, he's not a fundamental spot up shooter. He's at his best in transition, and as a slasher. As is Thad I would say. Watching these guys in the half court has been awful for years, including in mo cheekz time, even with andre miller. It's a backwards roster with zero identity and a zero coach calling the shots.

You could argue Jrue/Speights/Igg/Thad/Elton/Bert are our best players. But only each of them in a vacuum. The chemistry is absolutely frustrating.

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JohnEMagee reply to Shawn on Jan 5 at 16:52
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I don't know anyone with knowledge of the sixer who would argue that Dalembert is the best sixer.

The philosophy that Jordan coaches with regarding defense, the way he's treated Holiday, his asinine rotations and treatment of Elton Brand are more detrimental to the team than his idiotic attempt to institute an offensive system without having the right pieces to do so

The chemistry seems fine to me when either Jrue or AI3 is running the point.

Chemistry is also a function of a mismatched, random rotation involving units and players who don't necessarily play much together in a given role playing in a brand new system that is being half-scrapped anyway.

Isiah Thomas was one of the best point guards EVER.

Don't compare Iggy to Isiah. If Iggy was as good as Isiah his contract would be a bargain. I love him and he tries hard on an awful team, but he just isn't THE guy. He is a good building block, but he is the wrong one to start with. We forgot to get a Superstar foundation to put up our Iggy walls upon.

We don't have a Superstar, that is why our team is ass. It's that simple. Iggy is the ultimate second banana and Brand is a second banana now too.

Until the team stumbles upon a superstar (the draft would be the easiest way AKA John Wall, no one is coming here no matter how much the management can shill out with the roster/situation right now) it will continue to tread water.

The GM and Coach both need to go, and we need to tank it up. Ideally Brand would get moved with Thad,Dalembert with Williams, and we'd keep Iggy/Jrue/Spieghts.

Even then I'd still like to see Iggy's contract off the books because it's going to be BAD when the restructure the salaries situation.


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