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Running Out of Gas

After this week, I wish they hadn't fielded a summer league squad. Now I'm going to be worried all summer instead of wildly optimistic. At least Meeks comes out of it looking like a keeper. And maybe Simmons will be a contributor this year. Both possibilities are pretty slim, though.

Tim Legler thinks it's great for the league that Miami is now a powerhouse. The league was too top-heavy. Huh? Was everybody at ESPN ordered to find something good to say about this whole spectacle? The Mike & Mike crew is trying hard to criticize the way it was done, but they won't mention ESPN's role in the whole thing. Sickening. (Sorry to go off topic, but how can you avoid it?)

Yeah. Seems like the inmates are running the asylum. Lebron/Wade/Bosch/ESPN win over David Stern. He can't be too happy about this.

It's the direction he's been going all along. The Jordan era represented a change in direction for the league toward promoting individual players instead of teams, and Stern pushed it as far as he could. He's reaping what he sowed, and he probably is happy.

khouse reply to charlie ace on Jul 9 at 7:53

ESPN simply took advantage of the situation & tried to capitalize on it. Honestly, I don't know how they escaped some of Gilbert's venom as they're solely responsible for making Cleveland's pain public all in an effort to make a buck! Likewise, I'm sure no one is surprised at the absence of any critism (from those who work at the 4-letter net) as they don't have the cajones which is why ESPN is such a fucking joke!

Good point. And what's weird about Gilbert saying that LeBron tanked is that, if he thinks that's true, why would he sign him? Would he really want the guy if he tanked? And if the Cavs had signed him, it would have been a situation where the owner didn't trust the star player and probably believed that the team could never win a title with him. Yet, if LeBron had chosen Cleveland, obviously the FO and fans and everybody would be ecstatic. I mean is Gilbert just saying that stuff out of resentment or does he really believe it? If he does believe, and had he gotten LeBron, what a strange situation, maybe unprecedented. More than that, the fact that he said it casts a shadow over his ownership of the team. The implication is that he was willing to pay a max salary to a guy he considers a non-competitor to be the centerpiece of his team. And he's admitting it publicly. Am I making sense?

Sorry, now I'm way off topic. I'll be checking out ET at 10:00 if I can. Summer League is weird. I watched it in person a couple of times in the 80s in LA and the lack of energy is striking, even though there are guys trying their damnedest to get noticed. It's a showcase, not a competition. (I saw Marc Iavaroni play the year the Sixers signed him and he was the best player on the court. He was in the best shape of anybody and was running like a deer.)

Last evening was not a good night as a Sixer fan. The Lebron fiasco cemented the fact that you will need multiple superstars to contend... and the stinking, useless Summer League was a glaring reminder that the Sixers lack any superstars and it is a bit of a pipe dream to expect Turner to morph into Kobe v2.0.

I'm not saying Summer League performance has much relevance- as Turner's ceiling has always been described as more Roy than Kobe... but as a fan I want to hold at hope that he can be the superstar they need to anchor a contender. And looking worse than pedestrian in the Summer League makes it hard to grab hod to those dreams.

"Worse than pedestrian?" Man, that's depressing. I saw him make one great play, the coast-to-coast, behind-the-back-twice left-handed lay in. Guess I'll hang my hopes on that for the summer. And on my belief that he's very out-of-shape. Guys who win post-season awards get pulled in all directions during the offseason - banquets, interviews, workouts.... I don't know. What I do know is that you can't form an opinion of a player from the summer league. It comes up so soon after the draft, it seems the only way a guy can be ready for it is if he's under the radar. The 3 weeks leading up to the draft are nuts. Draft day itself has to be draining for these kids, even if they have been in the spotlight as Turner was. Or especially if they have been in the spotlight.

I feel bad for Cleveland in that they really did try everything in their power they could to keep him (if Bosh didn't put the kibosh on getting the sign and trade to Cleveland I think it'd turn out differently - when Bosh refused that I knew he was gone unless there was a rabbit pulled out of the hat). Every trade they made in the last 3 or 4 years LeBron signed off on (or requested), they built their practice arena close to LeBron's house, let his friends fly in the team's plane, etc. All that and they didn't even get a courtesy call (even afterwards) to say "Thanks but No Thanks". I understood when Reggie White and Barkley left as Braman and Katz were cheap and didn't try spending on a winner (Katz did the Moses deal but stopped after that) but Gilbert was massively over the cap and kept spending trying to get better. Not only that but Cleveland fans didn't get on LeBron for his failures either. Wade and Bosh have been blasting Gilbert for that letter / rant he wrote and saying what a good decision they made playing for Arison but if Pat Riley went on national TV and said he was ditching Miami for somewhere else with no warning and no updates I think he'd react in a somewhat similiar manner. I don't like to wish ill of people but if karma were to pan out Bosh will get what happened to Jonathan Bender or Jermaine O'Neal and Miami will never get a title. Contrast this to how Durant just did. I think Durant had a classy move and will be more popular for it.

People said this was a victory of LeBron / Bosh / Wade over Stern. I don't see that. Cleveland is a mid-market team that got popular because of LeBron. I think he'd like them all being in Miami as it'll be very high profile and bring a lot of attention. And I think if this fate seemed like it could happen to the Lakers or Celtics, he'd intervene. I think the Pau Gasol trade happened to save Buss (as Kobe was saying he was leaving the Lakers before that occurred). Popovich was on record saying that trade was allowed to go through to save the Lakers (and more than Popovich filed a formal complaint about it - as I recall Cuban and Colangelo also filed complaints). If something like this were going on to LA (or maybe the Celtics) and Buss or was to tell Stern they'd do anything I bet he'd have facilitated them trading for CP3 for spare parts.

Between this and the guaranteed contracts I think the NBA actually needs a lockout or the 'glamor teams' will be allowed to feast at the other's expense.

On the Sixer related stuff, I'm now somewhat anxious as Turner has started slowly but I don't think it is severe (yet) as some make it out to be. He isn't an incredible athlete but he wasn't a horrible athlete either. If he has enough guile his athleticism is enough to get by people. Kiki Vandeweghe wasn't even an average athlete but he was consistently able to get past people on the drive. If 20 games in Turner is still like this then I'll really get worried but until then I'm just a little anxious.

Good points. On Turner's struggles, it occurred to me that, from what little I know, this has been the guy's history. He plays with guys who are better than he is, gets slapped in the face and makes up his mind to get himself on that level and beyond. He wasn't great in high school, but he became a D-1 recruit. Wasn't great as a freshman, became a good sophomore. Then he starts his junior year as the team's best player and breaks his vertebrae in the first month of the season - an 8-week recovery, according to the doctors. He comes back in 4 weeks and wins the damn player of the year award. His history says he'll do it again. He's getting slapped in the face and will spend the summer figuring out how to improve enough to play at this level and possibly excel. (I think in his mind there's no doubt that he's going to excel.)

A player like Julius Erving or David Thompson could excel without really knowing the game that well or having finely tuned skills. Turner's the guy who has enough natural talent to compete but needs to hone his skills and study the game in order to excel. And that's what he's doing now, at the age of 21.

ryano reply to charlie ace on Jul 9 at 9:50

Precisely- our boy's gonna be ok.

Chris reply to charlie ace on Jul 9 at 10:05

You're dead on.

The one most encouraging thing about Turner is (supposedly) he is a very hard worker and has a lot of pride. I'm assuming that his performance in the Summer League motivates him to improve once again. In this regard, I think he is like Durant. Durant also is not a spectacular athlete (though he is a physical freak - size and length - for his position). If this was Cousins looking like this at this time I'd have been really worried.

Overall, I am less of an NBA/Sixers fan than I was before last night. The making of a new "super-team" with 3 top 12 NBA players in their prime for the next 5 years really sucks the winds out of your sails if you root for the 20 or so teams that stand little chance of being contenders over that span.

I really don't want to feel reliant on some outside star to have to decide to come to town to be a hero in order for my team to contend. But unfortunately, for the foreseeable future that is the case. Had FA resulted in very good teams in Chicago, NY, Cleveland and Miami then I would hoped the Sixers might join the fray in a few years. But now all I have to look forward to is hearing the ESPN hype machine building up the Miami Hate.

ryano reply to tk76 on Jul 9 at 9:30

I honestly hope Orlando ousts Miami next year and takes the title. Then I want to see OKC take the championship for the 3 years after that. After 4 years Miami will be on a disfunctional ego trip and the Sixers can swoop in and take the East! Here's to blind optimism!!!

Turner has shown us some good things in the summer league. He hasn't missed a free throw- the Sixers haven't had a player who can put games away from the stripe in a long time. He's shown us that his rebounding is going to transfer to the NBA, pulling down 5.8 per game in 25 min of action. We've seen his passing ability on display. And we've seen an aggressive defender with a big body who isn't worried about getting dirty on a big stage. The only thing we haven't seen is scoring. Turner has only taken 29 shots. We know he can finish inside. We know he has the ability to knock down a mid range jumper. He's got a great stroke from the free throw line- that will transfer to his outside stroke. He's getting his feet wet. He's deferring to Jrue, Meeks, and Speights offensively now, but I believe after a year of coaching from Collins and as he gets more comfortable with the NBA game and the athleticism of it's players- we're going to see a Turner who can put the ball in the hoop.

If you were expecting to see 20 ppg 6 ast and 6 reb out of this guy his rookie year, I think it's time to scale back the expectations. (I'll admit I was hoping to see something just short of that line) But, if we can be ok with 10-12 ppg, 6 reb, aggressive defense, and coachability for his rookie year- this kid could blow up next year.

"We know he can finish inside."

I'm really not sure we do know this, not with the shotblockers in the NBA. He isn't exactly jumping over people to finish.

"We know he has the ability to knock down a mid range jumper."

We do know this, what we don't know is if he's going to be able to create enough space to get the shot off.

ryano reply to Brian on Jul 9 at 9:44

You don't have to go over people to finish inside. Maybe the best finisher in the league is Tony Parker- and I don't think I've ever seen him dunk in a game. My point being- I think Turner's craftiness and touch around the hoop are going to allow him to get points inside. And he has decent athleticism- his vertical was 34.5 inches and he can reach up to 11'6". That's plenty of room to throw down a dunk. Kobe/Wade/LeBron dunks? No. But in traffic, sneaky dunks...absolutely. I look at Paul Pierce's game and he is an average NBA athlete in terms of quickness and hops...but he's very effective putting the ball in the hoop.

Until the last 3 years, Pierce drove to the rim a lot and very effectively. He's definitely not as quick as Turner is and can barely jump.

I think Miami's new big three affects the Sixers directly, and most importantly Andre Iguodala. Does Iguodala become a more valuable trade piece now that the marquee free agents are gone? Would teams with capspace like the Bulls or Clippers want someone like Iguodala...and what could they offer the Sixers to make a deal worth it? OR is Iguodala needed now more than ever as a Sixer? Doug Collins keeps saying he sees Dre as an All-League defender. I see it too and if Jrue and Turner reach full potential defensively then having one of the best perimiter defensive trios in the league will help neautralize D Wade and LeBron. Thoughts anyone?

The Clippers never really had a shot at any of the big names, and for some reason people want to throw a lot of money at Mike Miller right now.

I'm sure Chicago would trade for Iguodala, but obtaining Luol Deng doesn't do much for the sixers does it?

500,000 dollars to the Boys & Girls club of America, 5 full scholarships to the University of Phoenix.

Would Phoenix have done that without last nights Lebron Ego Trip? Maybe, maybe not. To me, that charitable donation from a UofP makes it a little less terrible.

Agreeing with Jeff Van Gundy about why Lebron doing this is a bad idea and bad for his legacy, that makes me feel uncomfortable

the university of phoenix is not a real institution of higher learning (apologies to those with univ of phoe degrees). it is more a scam than a college. it is a mostly online college that accepts anyone. they encourage people to take out federal loans to pay for tuition without providing a real education that will allow graduates to get jobs to pay back the loans. 60 minutes did a piece on this. the fact that lebron got these "scholarships" from them tells us a little more about the savvy of his handlers.

My sister teaches part time at UofP because her job doesn't pay her enough in this economy so I know what UofP is and isn't, and while it's not a 'real' institution of higher learning (I'm not disputing that) it does have its benefits for learning in certain areas (not really degree areas as I see it but professional learning to expand a professional base). Is it something I'd choose first, no, there are better options but for some it's the only option of what they want to learn.

And even without the scholarship, 1/2 a mil to boys and girls club isn't nothing.

Thing is, I know this is going to sound ridiculous, but I think Lebron spends so much time 'taking care of his boys' that sometimes he does stupid things to make others happy. This thing on ESPN seems like one of those stupid things, and if Lebron really looked as uncomfortable as people said (I refuse to watch it on principle), then maybe he was trapped between doing what his friend wanted him to and not being a fool.

Lebron has always seemed to me a little too eager to please others. Why suddenly launch the web site after 2 years of inactivity, suddenly starting this twitter thing when he could have at any time. It all feels so calculated and engineered but I don't know that it was calculated and engineered by Lebron but maybe by someone he trusts (Maverick?) that he shouldn't.

johnrosz reply to GoSixers on Jul 9 at 15:56

We have to realize that Lebrons "handlers" seem to have no idea what the hell they are doing. He just hired his buddies from Akron to handle his business. That's fine, I'm glad he's done right by his friends. But the putrid display we saw last night is why you shouldn't let idiots run your business ventures for you.

Lebron was overexposed last night, he fumbled around a delicate situation with what looked like feigned remorse and regret for leaving his hometown. He came off like an absolute moron. How on earth could his "handlers" let him do this? And for what? 500k and the equivalent of free frosty coupons at Wendy's? Awful...

I wish for nothing but bad things for Lebron on the basketball court. High five to Delonte West for banging Lebrons mom...

I have to admit that I was hoping to see Evan immediately prove why we made him the second overall pick. But at the same time, I understand these guys are making a transition (college to NBA; position to position; role to role) AND some of them have taken a decent amount of time off to retain draft stock. I don't know about anyone else, but there is NO substitute to actually playing basketball. No matter what, if you take a month, two months off, your legs and stamina will NOT be the same, and that affects your entire game. Evan took his lumps during this summer league, but my hope is that it causes him to put his nose the the grind and really work hard to get it right. You can tell he has the drive. You can tell he is upset and disappointed with how he played. But you can also tell that the frustration is from knowing he can play better. Give the kid (and yes, 21 is still a kid even if its older that Jrue) some time to redeem himself before you get your panties in a twist.

5 games in 5 days also seems a bit ridiculous. Especially after 4 months of inactivity (basketball wise)

Sixers SL squad is getting slaughtered, shooting about 12% from the field.

Jason reply to charlie ace on Jul 9 at 11:05

at least Turner is leading the team in pts, Rebounds and assists......

He has faced 3 of the best defensive athletes in the league in D.Brown,T.Williams and D.James which hasn!t helped an out of shape Turner but I am still disappointed. He is playing with the ball in his hands today, a bone thrown by Collins?, to hopefully finish on a positive note. If he takes the ball out of Jrue!s hands it won!t be a good thing.If he and W.Johnson end up being close talent wise we will have made a big mistake fit wise because Jrue could end up dominant with the ball in his hand.

eddies' heady's reply to deepsixersuede on Jul 9 at 11:26

"If he and W.Johnson end up being close talent wise we will have made a big mistake fit wise because Jrue could end up dominant with the ball in his hand."

This bit about Jrue is what magnifies this pick in the negative light, to me. Your 2 guard doesn't need to be this great ball handler (Wesley) when you have a point who can probe like Jrue and a wing that can facilitate like Dala.

Johnson isn't a two, he won't be able to guard them, you have to be able to handle the ball a little bit in the NBA to be a legit two.

It doesn't matter, because if he was here Iguodala would play the two and Johnson's shooting would stretch the floor at the three, but on most teams, you couldn't get away with playing him at the two, not with 90% of the SFs in the league.

eddies' heady's reply to Brian on Jul 9 at 11:39

And he very well may not be a two on this level, but even if he was a two he doesn't have to guard them as Dala can do that. I agree you have to be able to handle the ball a little bit as a two and Wesley can at least handle it a 'little bit' if he was a two but surely he can handle it enough as a three.

Believe it or not, I'm agreeing with you here :)

eddies' heady's reply to Brian on Jul 9 at 11:44

I really was pointing out that most said we wouldn't pick Wes b/c he wasn't a good enough ball handler, making ET the obvious choice. But that ball handling aspect is minimized b/c of Jrue and Dala already being able to create and facilitate.

eddies' heady's on Jul 9 at 11:21

This is just really tough watching this guy. While I'm definitely on board with it taking a good portion of time to get in game shape and get your legs under you etc., he's not the only damn player to have not played ball for a lenghty period of time. Why does this excuse seem to be exclusive to Evan?

I mean, I'm sure Paul George was told not to play before the draft, as well as Gordon Hayward, Luke Harangody, Damion James etc. They at least look like they belong. They don't look like a borderline D-Leaguer. And this will come to light even more when the Las Vegas summer league kicks off and some of the other draft picks shine. John Wall hasn't played for a while either, I bet he doesn't look anywhere close to this lethargic (Collins exact word describing Evan after his third game).

As I mentioned earlier, as much as I wasn't a fan of his game in college, after seeing him now something about his build and frame looks funky. He appears to have these oversized feet for his height and this sort of bow-legged strut which doesn't usually equal quickness. I don't know, it's like he plods or something moreso than tiptoe or be fleet of foot.

You would think with some of our guys out and him being so highly rated by many (not me), he could at least lead us to a respectable showing this morning. It's currently 52-26 and Gordon Hayward is crossing this guy up and driving by him at will although he didn't finish.

I am still going to hold judgment til the 20th game or so, but this looks like another Stefanski special. And we know how they turn out...

The guys you mentioned all were working out for teams leading up to the draft but Wall will be interesting to see because he sure wasn!t. Though Wall won!t have Turner!s issues athletically.

Watching Turner he seems to be the anti-Iggy; refusing to take the open jumper and constantly driving. Our new coaches head will be on a swivel, one time telling Turner to take the open shot and next time down telling Iggy not to settle for the "J".

Jason Mess on Jul 9 at 11:42

Turner will take some time but he will be fine. I think it will take more than 20 games. Remember we all have said he does not have elite athleticism like Kobe or Wade, or who ever you want to throw in there. It will take him time to figure out what is going to work and how he has to change his game. I would be more worried if he was a elite athlete and playing like this.

eddies' heady's reply to Jason Mess on Jul 9 at 11:45

Wish I shared your optimism. I'm actually more worried because he ISN'T an elite athlete.

I'm worried that people are over reacting to five games after a 4 month layoff and projecting it out over the entirety of his career.

Jrue Holiday was god awful last year in summer league, from what i can tell a good half of the posters here would have preferred Ty Lawson.

How many would still prefer Ty Lawson?

Jason Mess reply to eddies' heady's on Jul 9 at 12:16

I just feel that if he was a elite athlete he could fall back on that to make plays. Since he is not he has to adjust the way he plays witch I think will take more time. What he does have is very good instincts and God given skill. They say you can not teach speed or height witch is obviously true. You also can not teach instincts and even some skills will not improve no mater how hard you teach them they just end up not getting it (Dalembert I think is a good example). I think that in this draft it was either Turner or Johnson for the backcourt or Favors for the front court. I think the one person that would play the best is Johnson. The thing about Johnson he most likely will not be as complete a player as Turner.

Great, great piece on LePippen.

Great article!!!

ryano reply to Brian on Jul 9 at 12:40

LeBron lost himself a shot at basketball immortality. Doesn't matter if he averages a 25-12-12 triple double one year for the Heat- legacy irreversibly tarnished.

...Kobe and MJ are both smiling today.

Jason Mess reply to ryano on Jul 9 at 15:14

I think Bill Russell is also.

One of the silver linings of the summer league is you can bet Turner won't be resting on his laurels after this stretch of games. Had he averaged 20+ he conceivably could have taken it easy and came into camp out of shape. He should have a chip on his shoulder after being called "lethargic".

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