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Changing Stripes or Grasping At Straws?

Not enough evidence yet to notice a trend, but if the sixers keep winning, or playing well enough to win with these defensive rotations - does this convince EJ to use them more, or after the Stefanski-defense/"not guaranteeing his job 'til the end of the season" talk settles down does he go back to his old ways?

I couldn't watch the game, but I was able to watch most of the game-by-game plays and I was especially shocked to see Carney inserted in at the end. Very un-Jordan-like...one has to wonder what is going through his head.

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Rob_STC on Jan 12 at 7:17
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Brian,

YOu know this was 2 games in a row that Lou played very good defense. It is like somebody flipped a switch on with him. I thought he played an overall good game the last 2. I have no problem with AI at the point as long as I have the other 4 to defend. I am even ok with going with Willie for 8 mins of the 4th because even though he is not as long as Carney I will give him credit for playing hard on defense. I think getting swept by the Wizards could have been the boiling point for Stefanski. It is ashame that it took 35 games to concentrate on defense.

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deepsixersuede on Jan 12 at 8:10
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Did you guys here somebody calling out everything the sixers were gonna run in the 1st half, it was audible on T.V. .L.Will. gave good defensive effort, I guess he has to treat everybody like C.Paul. The next move would be, for me anyway, to give Marreese a little more burn instead of Thad at the 4 to get even more D-boards. Brian, Elton seems too far out to get o-boards and not athletic enough to take d-boards off of Sam, his lack of rebounding sure isn!t for lack of effort.

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Inviolable Fandom reply to deepsixersuede on Jan 12 at 11:29
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I thought it was Paul.

"I'll let you answer the question of why Jordan suddenly decided to abandon everything he believes in and play defense-first lineups when it matters most immediately after his general manager made public statements about how pitiful the team's defense is."

The Sixers are 12-25. Looks like ES gave EJ 35 games to show that his silly offensive philosophy would work. Finally, he put his foot down. 2 consecutive wins while holding players accountable on the defensive end. This team would've had at least 5 more wins(probably more) if this approach was used all season.

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JohnEMagee on Jan 12 at 9:54
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It's a nice win but when this team shoots 8 for 15 from the three point line (well beyond the ordinary) and only wins by 4 while still being weak on the defensive glass (not over 70%), I'm going to go with 'meh'...yes Jordan played a better rotation but we'll see how long it sticks

I asked a similar question at RealGM. Where do you project Jrue in 3 years? I find it hard to find a very comparable player.

On offense I worry that he has weaknesses both as a shooter, driver and finisher. Also, he seems to lack star quality, but maybe that's just his age? But his PG skills are tremendous. On the flip side I have no doubt he will be a good to great defensive PG if he keeps his intensity up.

Can you think of a similar player. I can only think of players who share some characteristics. Is he our starting PG for the next 10 years? Is he just a solid piece, or can he become a to 7 NBA PG?

A less offensively capable chauncey billups.

which isn't really chauncey billups, which makes your post valild.

But Billups really didn't have his post-up game when he came into the league, that's something that he really developed as the years went on. His 3 pt shot was more developed, but then again, he was a full 2 years older than Jrue.

The other obvious comparison that's going to come up because of his defense is Gary Payton, and Payton's offense his first few years in the league was certainly underwhelming.

If you take Billups and Chauncey's game, subtract about 5 points per game from their primes, that's probably what you can expect Jrue's upside to be. He might not quite have Payton's defensive upside, but he's not that incredibly far off either.

I agree that payton on defense was very similar. Both had length, quickness and some strength. Both applied full court pressure and prevented the opposing PG from setting up the offense in a comfort zone. But Payton was more of a ball hawk off the ball and had an edge/attitude that I have not seen yet in Jrue.

On offense I have worries that if Jrue can't establish a jumper he will be a very poor scorer. That would undermine his natural PG/creator skills. If the defense starts sagging well off of him then it really limits how well you can create.

But I guess there is nothing broken with his shot or handle. he is ambidextrous and has good size... so can he learn to be a scorer? Iguodala did, but he relies on elite athleticism.

Payton and Billups are both pretty damned good comps for any rookie PG to have. Here they all are from their rookie seasons.

I don't see Jrue ever taking as many shots as Payton did in his prime, his usage % was up near 28%. Actually, I think he'd be best served as a pass first PG, which I'm not sure Billups really ever was (maybe 05-06).

If you asked me to project his ceiling in numbers, I'd say 15-18 ppg, 5-7 boards, 8-11 assists, so say 17 points/6 boards/10 assists per game. That's a top five PG in the league, IMO, especially when you take his defense into account. I don't think that's a crazy ceiling to project.

Put him on a team like the Celtics, and right now I'd say he could average 11 assists/game (given starters minutes.)

That's not saying he is a great player, but his desire and ability to set guys up in a position to score is as high as I've seen for a player

Or am I over-rating him / on crack.

I'm not sure he could stay on the floor for 35+ min/game on a winning team right now. I will say this, though, if I was a big man, I'd absolutely love playing with the kid. And if he ever gets a chance to work 30 minutes/game w/ Brand those two could really put up numbers together.

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bebopdeluxe reply to tk76 on Jan 12 at 12:04
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Put down the pipe, son...

;-)

Edit, should read "for a player less than 21"

"I mention this because everyone bends over backwards to note it when he misses a free throw late, but they could care less when he actually comes through."

Because that's what you're supposed to do. No one starts praising foul shooting unless you're a big man, or you shoot 88%. The fact remains that he's pretty bad at the foul line for someone of his size, his position, and someone who plays as big a role as he does for this team.

He's not a bad FT shooter considering he's a poor shooter to start with. Most great FT shooters are, you know, shooters.

Chris Broussard writes:

Believe it or not, sources say Philadelphia has not completely ruled out a McGrady-for-Andre Iguodala deal, if only because if the losing continues, Sixers ownership may order a fire sale.

Talks between the two teams have taken place but they have not reached the serious stage. Philadelphia hinted at a package of Iguodala and Samuel Dalembert for McGrady. But while Houston loves Iguodala's talent, it's not sure such a deal would make it a legitimate championship contender. To take back the four years, $57 million remaining on Iguodala's contract after this season, Houston has to be convinced it would become an immediate title contender once Yao Ming returns next season.

I have a hard time believing that's going to happen.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Jan 12 at 11:16
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Mostly because Houston doesn't want Sam :)

From what I've seen of Jrue's stroke, he looks to have a good one, they just aren't falling. Not much fundamentally unsound about it. Jump shooting is something he can definitely improve. He doesn't need to be Steve Nash, just good enough to demand a defender when he has the ball on the perimeter. Jason Kidd has developed a solid stroke from three in just the past 3 or 4 years.

It looks to me like he sort of sticks his ass out and leans forward too much. Doesn't look like a completely natural stroke, but he's young and it's not like he's shooting that poorly. He's at 32% from three. His long twos are what's really dragging down his overall FG%.

He is a much better shooter when left wide open. Does not seem to have good natural body control on his jumper or drives.

The fact that he's got good size, he's strong and he's comfortable with both hands leads me to believe he'll eventually be a good finisher around the rim. Not sure he'll ever be a guy who can hit a jumper off the dribble, but I also don't think you need him to be able to do that. Ideally, he'll be able to punish teams when they go under screens on him, and those are pretty much wide-open jumpers.

One positive- he hit a lefty tear drop runner in the lane. That is one of my favorite shots for a PG.

His balance is way off. it's part of what leads to the inconsistent results.

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JohnEMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Jan 12 at 11:47
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Is it repairable?

Yeah. The fundamental movement on his shot, for the most part, is fine. I think it's repairable with a summer of guidance and a whole lot of repetition. It won't be changed mid-season, though.

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JohnEMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Jan 12 at 11:54
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19 year old youngest player in the league, i'm fine with giving him a couple of years to get it all right - he's already well above average at defense (in my opinion) which is better than most rookies

His defense is better than most veterans right now.

That is a fair assessment for most of the wing players on this team. They all lean and drift. Doesn't anyone ever teach them to keep in balance?

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Statman reply to tk76 on Jan 12 at 12:18
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The best balance on the team belongs to Iverson, who has had it from the moment he entered the league. The intermediate game was part of what made him a 30 ppg scorer all those years. Wish he could teach it to players like Thad and Iguodala, but it seems to be more of a natural talent than anything else.

Kapono, on his set shots has perfect form. His center of gravity is directly under him.

Lou drifts the most. He often keeps his balance while drifing (a la Iverson), but he is making it way to hard on himself.

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eddies' heady's reply to tk76 on Jan 12 at 12:44
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Lou has a terrible habit of pretty much 'falling backwards', for lack of a better term. He's always leaning away at the peak of his lift and subsequent release/follow-through.

The writeup for the Inqy on last night's game was terrible (Kate Fagan must've had the night off, Kevin Tatum wrote it). Cooney actually mentioned Jrue and had quotes from Jordan and Iverson the kid. Neither paper mentioned anything about Jordan doing a complete 180 on his recent statements.

Emphasize defense, play sensible lineups, maximize your players' strengths on offense -- this is a winning formula. If they continued with it, I could easily see the Sixers ripping off a 10-game win streak (and if you don't believe me, look at their schedule). Whether this would be a good thing or a bad thing is still open to question. Eddie Jordan would still be the coach, but if he's seen the light and sticks with it (even against his nature), that would make it more bearable. The main thing I don't want to see this year is young players ingrained with bad habits.

A few thoughts on this game:
- On two of the most important possessions of the game, Iguodala passed up tough jumpers and passed to teammates for better shots (open 3 for Jrue, 5-foot hook for Sam). In both cases, those were the right basketball plays. Believe it or not, I think Iverson's willingness to share the ball has rubbed off on Iguodala in crunchtime, and this can only be a good thing going forward.
- As Brian noted, Jrue's skip pass to Iguodala set up the AI9's penetration that resulted in Sam's basket. Jrue's pass came at a time when the play was breaking down, and it reflects his excellent court vision. Shot selection is where Jrue still needs a lot of improvement.
- In late and close situations this year, I have Iguodala at 17 of 22 free throws, 77%. But for the Denver game, it would be 15 of 18. However, he's been horrible at making baskets at the ends of games (esp. compared to the end of last year), 10 of 32. I expect that to improve.
- Speaking of free throws, the team as a whole is shooting pretty well this year (78%, 7th in the league). Amazing what not having Reggie Evans on the team can do. Did you know Sam is shooting 84%?
- I'm surprised like everyone else with how Iverson has played unselfishly, but I'm also surprised by how efficient he's been: 57% TS% would be the highest of his career.
- Brand had an off game, but I can finally see how he was able to average a 20-10 all those years. His turnaround jumper (and his midrange jumper overall) goes in with regularity (up to 49.5% FG overall). I'm glad too that the frosty relationship between Iguodala and Brand seems to be thawing.
- I've always wondered why Lou wasn't better at stopping dribble penetration, given his speed. Now we know that he's pretty good at it when he tries (there's that question of athletic ability vs. mindset again).
- Finally, I thought Iguodala was good on defense overall, but he was lucky Peja missed a couple open 3's. AI9 had responsibility on all three of Posey's 3's. The closeout on Peja's 3 at the end was very good, and all 4 of AI9's steals were important.

The next game against the Knicks will be a good test of whether the defensive mindset has sunk in, because the temptation will be to run-and-gun with them, with easy baskets galore on both sides.


On one of those Posey threes I thought Iguodala was a little lazy, actually. Forgot to mention it. Ball was kicked out to Posey off an offensive rebound, I think. Iguodala was about 3 feet away, didn't even get a hand up.

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eddies' heady's reply to Brian on Jan 12 at 12:40
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Yep, it was like he was almost purposely trying to sag off (or stay where he was) expecting a drive. Him not contesting was inexcusable though. I thought he was half-hearted on chasing Peja and contesting Peja on a couple of those open ones he had too.

Good breakdown and helpful stats. Thx.

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Statman reply to Statman on Jan 12 at 12:20
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One more note that I forgot to write: it actually looked like the Sixers had a clue on what to do with the pick-and-roll! Was I just imagining things, or did anyone else notice that?

Except down the stretch where Sam switched onto CP3.

Chris Broussard is reporting that there is a chance we send Iguodala/Sam for McGrady.

http://espn.go.com/blog/truehoop/post/_/id/12221/caron-butler-on-rockets-wish-list

http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=yfh9eew

I would be really pissed if this happened. I think.

I saw that. I can't believe it. Refuse to.

If this modest winning streak stops the team from making a dumb ass trade like that, it's worth having to deal with Jordan for a little while longer.

Well that puts them at 40M (before their pick) next this summer. You probably could unload Lou easily if you thought getting to 35M would land a worthy "Phillymax" candidate.

But IMO if the roster was that gutted there would be little reason to add a win now superstar... as if any would want to sign on.

I'm still of the belief that Nrand is the one contract you must move. Everything else is just window dressing.


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