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The Alternative Isn't Pretty

Update on Brand's health from Kate Fagan, via Twitter.

E-Brand underwent MRI and it revealed no tear or degeneration of the right Achilles. Just tendinitis. He's day-to-day, not going to Atlanta.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 12:48
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One could argue that if it's not 100% there's no reason to play him until it's 100%, and that means not bothering him at all not just 'clear' on an MRI - this team isn't going to the playoffs this year.

Whether or not Brand marginally helps now isn't really my primary concern when discussing Elton Brand.

Well, it's important for a couple reasons.

1. Will a better defensive coach be able to get at least marginal defense out of anyone other than Brand at the four? If not, PF becomes a big position of need.

2. Would a good coach be able to get more out of Brand.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 13:08
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Well to me PF is a position of need, Brands age and questionable health combined with the alternatives make it a need that's been obvious most of the season, whether he plays or not, different coach or not, the other options after Brand on the sixers roster are sad, and let's not forget that the center might only be here for another season.

As far as I'm concerned, the sixers have 3 big positions of need, center, 'wing who can score' (whether you want to call it shooting guard or not is up to you), and PF

Leaving aside Brand's health for a moment, this isn't the first time Jordan has screwed over one of the better defensive players on his team. Brendan Haywood had a monster season in 04/05, and by 06/07 was riding the bench at EJ's whim.

As far as I'm concerned, we haven't really seen anything out of Brand just because of the system EJ is running; there is a precident.

http://www.bulletsforever.com/2009/8/4/977109/brendan-haywood-twists-the-knife

I'd keep EB on the bench to recuperate, and play the younger players - after firing EJ. You can't really say anything about any player with EJ's asinine coaching style.

I consider PF to be a position of need regardless.

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JohnEMagee reply to Derek Bodner on Mar 2 at 13:05
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It's his hair, right?

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Statman on Mar 2 at 14:24
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These stats are dramatic (though 5 games without Brand is a limited sample size), but it makes one wonder how the Sixers won 41 games last year with Thad Young playing most of the minutes at PF.

According to 82games.com, Thad was a net positive in PER while playing PF last year (18.1 to 16.5). This year, he's become a net negative at PF (17.1 to 20.7). Last year, he played pretty good defense against PFs, holding them to an eFG of 47.6%; this year, the eFG vs. PFs is up to 51.9%, and the opponent rebound rate is up 2 rebounds per 48 minutes (from 10 to 12).

I've never bought that Thad can't play PF (and point to last year as an example), but for whatever reason he hasn't been able to play it well this year.

Off the top of my head, I'd say the Sixers D did more to pressure the ball, in general, last season. And they used more traps in the half court, rather than endless rotations. The former being a better fit for Thad than the ltter.

Brian wrote:
"If Brand is available, Jordan is basically forced to play common sense lineups for at least a portion of the game. When Brand is out, all bets are off. Jordan can do what he does best, set his rotations based on offense alone, size disadvantages be damned, interior defense be damned, rebounding be damned."

IMO, this is the heart of the issue. If Brand is out you should see heavy minutes for Sam/Speights or Sam/Smith. But instead, Speights still gets marginal minutes and Thad spends all game at PF.

When Brand starts the team plays at least 30 minutes with a traditional frontcourt. But Brand is not the only PF on the team. EJ just acts that way.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 14:58
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Jordan: "I don't see a scenario" in which Iverson plays for the Sixers again.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:09
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Jordan said he talked to his players Tuesday about the things he said after Monday's 21-point embarrassment against the Magic (that the Sixers showed no fight, have no leadership and have at least one player with bad body language during games.

He said "they were fine" about it and "they didn't have anything to say" in response.

He sounds very proud of himself, doesn't he?

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Tom Moore reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 15:22
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Probably so, but I find it hard to believe - and telling - that no player has called Jordan out or publicly ripped him for all the things that have happened and his penchant for distancing himself from blame when things go bad.

It's kind of sad that a group of 20-something millionaires have better self control than their coach.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:09
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Brand said he expects to be back Friday against the Celtics.

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ojr107 reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:14
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Ugh, shouldn't we err on the side of caution, especially considering we have 0 chance of making the playoffs and we have some young 4s(Speights/Smith) who would benefit from some playing time.

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Tom Moore reply to ojr107 on Mar 2 at 15:29
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Fair point.

Speights seems to have regressed and the Sixers are going to have to decide about qualifying Smith. Why not take extended looks at them?

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:20
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I asked Iguodala Tuesday if he thought Jordan was calling him out with the things he said (no leadership, bad body language) after Monday's bad loss. Iguodala: "Not really. I didn’t really look at it that way. There’s 20 minutes between a loss like that and talking to you guys. Things can get strayed a certain way by you guys or come out a different way, but I don’t feel that way. I feel like whenever I’m out there, our team is at its best. We play OK basketball. We’re not playing great, -- we’ve had some tough losses recently, one or two. I feel like I always bring my game, which is playing basketball the right way, to the table."

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:31
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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:41
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Jordan hit on some of the same themes again Tuesday, saying "We've got to fight back. We can't have the same thing repeat over and over again (vs. the Magic). The chair has been changed three times (believe he means the three coaches in two seasons). Somewhere along the line, you have to fight back."

For the most part, they were a resilient bunch under the previous two chairs. I wish his boss and ownership would tell him to stop lobbying for his job in the press and putting the players down in the process.

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deepsixersuede reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:54
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Any idea how they view Spieghts? Is he a 4 or 5 in the future?

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Tom Moore reply to deepsixersuede on Mar 2 at 15:58
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Jordan started with him as a 5 and he's still playing some 5, but also some 4. He has trouble guarding big 5s and quick 4s, so I think it's up in the air.

Usually you determine a players position based on who he can defend. With Speights, he's equally inept.

Am I the only one who would give Speights 30 min a night to sink or swim on defense... I would have done this 15 months ago.

Or has everyone else given up hope in him? I really do not think he is the type of player who will improve by being benched. In fact, I think he might be a much better rebounder and defender right now had he gotton 30min/game over the last 80 games.

Again, I'm probably alone in his belief. We'll probably never know.

No. Thad at the 4 is obviously working. We can't risk the playoffs by playing Speights at the 4 and seeing if PT helps him improve his defensive fundamentals.

Son't want to be an armchair psychologist, but Speights strikes me as a guy who gets disinterested and lazy when he rides the bench. He seems competitive and driven while on the court, but not the type to try and prove something to his coach.

He could just be a bum who will never defend, but I think he's a guy who could learn to play winning ball with lots of PT. Unlike someone like Sam, who is clueless, Speights is more unmotivated. Right now he rebounds at a good clip and takes charges, but his positioning is brutal. I don't think you "coach him up." I think you give him minutes and he will adapt.

I agree that sitting him on the bench probably is going to have little impact on him, but I'm not sure playing time will make much of a difference either. He seems lazy and unfocused to me. He gets a ball in his hands, he knows how to shoot it.

In every game I've gone to, this season and last, I always get there early to watch the time before the layup lines. Without fail, Iguodala is out there working on game-situation jumpers, usually with McKie. Jrue has been out there this season, working on pick-and-rolls, Speights has always been out on the floor, and without fail he's been fooling around. Either talking to a friend under the hoop, or sitting in the front row talking to friends and heaving shots from there. I haven't seen him spend a second working on anything basketball related.

I realize this is an extremely limited sample size, but I've always wondered what the hell guys are doing during this time when they could be out on the floor working on stuff and getting prepared for the game. Maybe some are getting treatment in the locker room. Maybe some guys have mental preparation they do in the locker room, but Speights just always seems like he's being a jerkoff and wasting time.

Sammy used to frustrate the hell out of me for the same things. I remember when Moses was with the team he would have Sammy working on post moves before every game. As soon as Moses left, it became Sammy and Jason Smith shooting corner threes for 20 minutes.

I don't know, stuff like that matters to me as a fan, and I think it would drive me crazy as a coach. I'd have all my assistants out there running getting all the players ready.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 17:18
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Used to hear the 'lazy' thing pre game about Sam a lot from a very trusted season ticket holder on another board (RIP Kevin).

When you factor in the available evidence, and the concerns coming out of college, and the comments from the folks at IMG (not just thorpe) - a picture begins to form that Speights doesn't really like working on things he doens't like in the game - he likes his offense - his shot - and that's what he'll work on

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Mike P. on Mar 2 at 15:44
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Iverson and Brand gone are both good for the team.

We don't need to be winning games. Tank it up, give tons of minutes to Spieghts and Jrue and lets finish this season winless. Just tell your fans you are going into rebuilding mode already.

A mistake admitted is better than a mistake ignored constantly.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:48
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Jordan on the end of Iverson as a Sixer: "First of all, No. 1, it’s better for Allen to not think about coming back. It’s better for his family to know there’s some stability there. Second of all, it’s good for us because we know there’s stability here."

Tom, couple questions for about the Iverson situation:

1. Do you think it was the team's decision more than Iveron's?

2. If it was the team, who was the catalyst? Jordan because of "instability," Stefanski because he never wanted to bring him back in the first place? Snider?

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Tom Moore reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 16:00
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Brian, Jordan said it was Iverson's call, though he didn't know if Iverson wanted to be released one day earlier to make him eligible for the playoffs with another team.

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Tom Moore reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 16:02
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Stefanski just emailed to say it was "mutual. Allen didn't want to be disruptive to the team. He thought his back-and-forth time with the team was not in their best interest."

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ojr107 reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 17:57
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That comment by Jordan is pretty annoying. I think the team got carried away with their 4-1 stint without Iverson. Jordan is now convinced that Iverson being in/out is the problem, otherwise he would have turned this team around by now.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 15:57
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Jordan: "We did some good things in practice. We played with some zest and some zeal today and a lot of communication. We had good activity, good energy and we had a good film session. We’re happy to meet the next challenge."

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 16:12
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Jordan: "I’m trying to get the best out of the group that I’m coaching. I’ve said it before and I’m going to say it until I’m finished coaching, I’m not going to go upstairs and say, ‘This is who I want. This is what I want’ -- unless they ask me. I coach who I have in the locker room. I’m trying to get the best out of our team – physically, mentally, emotionally, basketball-wise – as I can."

Tom thanks for sharing these quotes and insights with us, by the way. Much appreciated.

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Tom Moore reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 16:52
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Sure, Brian. Have to transcribe anyway for my stories, so I just cut and paste them.

Thought you guys would like some of Jordan's.

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JohnEMagee on Mar 2 at 16:19
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Every quote from this idiot coach makes me think of some sleazy PR / Advertising guy from a bad 80s movie

Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead springs to mind, for some reason.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 16:25
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Because it's an AWESOME movie :)

The guy on the right is who I was thinking of.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 17:06
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I knew exactly who yo uwere referring to - still an awesome movie

Hey Brian,

Is there really any difference between this Elton Brand and journey man Drew Gooden who will probaly command a yearly salary of around $6 million?

http://www.nba.com/playerfile/drew_gooden/index.html

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JohnEMagee reply to Tyler on Mar 2 at 16:26
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When healthy?

Yes - there is

Right now they may be similar in terms of talent. But I get the sense that Gooden is a bit loco, thus all of the changes in scenery, whereas Brand is a "character guy."

My issue has always been with Brand's contract and fit (age more than style of play.) Was actually a fan of his before he became a Sixer on the downside of his career.

Depends. I don't think Gooden is capable of the better games that we've seen from Brand this year, he probably isn't as effective as Brand if you give them the same number of minutes (a limited role helps Gooden's numbers/value), but in general terms, Brand is definitely worth a lot closer to $6M than $14M at this point.

Of course, there are maybe 100 players in the league who make more than they should, Brand just happens to play for our team.

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The Greek reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 16:35
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Is he closer to 3.5 million then 6 million?

Who knows. If he was a FA this summer, he'd probably be looking at a one-year "prove yourself" contract. Maybe somewhere in the MLE range for one year, with a player or team option for the second.

Brand just happens to be one of the examples with the highest remaining total salary. He is due another 51M after this year. There are only a few guys with that much remaining committed salary that would get a 60% pay cut on the open market if they were FA this summer.

Maggette, Arenas, Gordon...those are the three who come immediately to mind. Give it two years and Brand will take the place of a guy like Jermaine O'Neal as grossly overpaid, and a little bit productive, while guys like Aldridge take his place as overpaid for the production they provide with too many expensive years remaining. Guess it was our turn to catch a bad one, not that we really ever get to catch a good one.

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The Greek on Mar 2 at 16:34
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Maybe the Sixers should move to Brooklyn? Philly is a football, baseball, hockey(3rd in attendance), and college basketball town. Would anyone besides the devoted hundreds that blog here give a shit?

I'd buy season tix if they moved to Brooklyn :)

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deepsixersuede reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 16:45
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Did our G.M. give you a compliment, it sounded like he emailed Tom while listening in did!t it?

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The Greek reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 17:24
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You and thousands of others who are dying for a basketball team in Brooklyn.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 17:27
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That thing is never getting built - those folk are going to fight until the death to preserve 'brooklyn pride' or whatever nonsense they're using to prevent ratner from getting started

Actually, just read that they're about to break ground. Outside shot it's ready for the 2011-2012 season, but most likely 2012-2013.

I like maybe a mile from where the stadium's going to be built, people used to be up in arms about it, but activists are easily distracted, apparently, and the fervor has died down.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 18:10
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This

I know that's what's reported, but the residents are very very opposed - some enterprising young lawyer will find a way to stop this a little longer - if only to make a name for themselves :)

Yeah, I'm pretty sure they've all taken their shots and there's nothing left for them at this point. It's going forward. The do-gooders have food coop shifts to worry about, and hemp clothing to sew in their trust fund apartments. They've pretty much moved on.

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JohnEMagee reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 18:53
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I'd laugh a bit more if i didn't work for a company that sold a coffee alternative with no caffine.

I NEED THOSE DAMN HIPPIES to make my shares have value

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tk76 reply to JohnEMagee on Mar 2 at 20:33
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Bring back Postum!

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JohnEMagee reply to tk76 on Mar 2 at 20:36
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Actually - I want the darn Postum Market - we taste better and FINALLY have a 'easy make' option that just requires hot water

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tk76 reply to JohnEMagee on Mar 2 at 21:13
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All of the coffee substitutes are acquired tastes. I liked postum, but its gone. Now I drink Cafix or Pero, whichever is cheaper. I like coffee, but not heartburn. So I either quit cofee or stop watching the Sixers.

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JohnEMagee reply to tk76 on Mar 2 at 21:33
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If you want to drop me an email we got some pretty strong 'coffee' flavors now

I don't remember your email. I'll IM you at phillyarena.

Nevermind. That did not work.

email me brian@blogsbyfans.com and I'll connect you guys.

Sixers talk has regressed to Coffee talk ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QqPiJ0L7YmY )

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JohnEMagee reply to tk76 on Mar 3 at 9:37
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admin@basketballjourney.com will get to me

hey has anybody heard anything out of sacto? a few espn headlines indicated that their fans and players are scratching their heads at westphal's rotations, and one quote from the coach implied that he wasn't playing spencer hawes based on some vindictive bulldickey. nice to know we're not the only fans dealing with coaching madness. only difference is, we have 2x the talent that the kings do.

76ers makin me sad, lonely and a little scared, when they should be making me happy, excited and proud.
--insert frowny face emoticon--

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The Greek reply to joeykey on Mar 2 at 17:21
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lol I hear you, this season has been a nightmare. Pure torture really.

Brand is surely overpaid, but in my opinion is one of the sixers with the highest basketball iq and work ethic. He's not a star anymore, but can be a good contributor for a (average) playoff team. Let's hope a new coach could make the most of him.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 17:39
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Brand: "I think it’s better for the team to know that he won’t be back, so guys will know their roles and not look over their shoulders and say, ‘Hey, one of the most prolific scorers in NBA history is coming back. My minutes will be down.’ It’s good for the young guys that are playing to know."

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johnrosz reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 21:27
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Biggest bust in team history (besides Bradley) comments on top 3 player in Sixer history. Thanks for the insight Elton!

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AaronMcKie4MVP on Mar 2 at 18:03
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like it or not, we are paying Brand for 3 more seasons. In the event we are competitive in 2010-11 or 2011-12, its better to have the guy healthy. Why risk a serious injury that requires surgery and lowers his ceiling even more. For what? this team is going nowhere this year.

Agreed. Barring something drastic (and probably horrible for the franchise) he's going to be our starting PF next October, we need him healthy if we're going to move forward, no reason at all to rush him back on Friday.

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Tom Moore reply to Brian on Mar 2 at 20:02
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Makes sense.

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Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 20:25
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Stefanski is scouting in Greenville, S.C.

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JohnEMagee reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 20:35
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Who is playing in Greenville SC right now?

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Tom Moore reply to Derek Bodner on Mar 2 at 20:49
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It's the site of the Southern Conference Basketball Championship (at Furman)

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JohnEMagee reply to Tom Moore on Mar 2 at 21:32
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Good - so he can't hurt anything.

So where's DiLeo - that's what matters

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Tom Moore reply to JohnEMagee on Mar 3 at 8:47
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He's right here. Saw him at practice yesterday.

I've never made a sign before. I think next game I go to I'm bringing a "We want Tony" sign.

...for GM? Can you have an interim GM? Don't want him to coach right now. He has more important work to do scouting.

Although they probably should just outsource their scouting :)

more referring to the coach. but really, only because he was the last coach (and Jordan's making him look infinitely better than he was).

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The Greek reply to Derek Bodner on Mar 3 at 16:37
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I was at that debacle of a game last season when Tony led his shit stained crew to a grand total of 67 points. Before the game the whole team aside from Theo Ratliff was goofing around taking 360 layup attempts from the free throw line and other shit shot's like that. I was disgusted that Tony let that crap go on.

But those games didn't have 80 possessions, so it's not meaningless. If you're holding teams from scoring overall, you're holding teams from scoring - efficiency and metrics be damned. The game is simple and was invented that way.



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