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League of Superstars

Despite the name of the blog, I'm not perpetually depressed and it doesn't take a whole lot for me to enjoy the season. I love watching them play, I love playoff basketball probably more than any other sporting event (provided my team is playing). Obviously, the ultimate goal is winning a championship, and I hope we get there sometime soon, but I'm also somewhat realistic.

As long as the team competes, makes an attempt at developing their younger players and doesn't make stupid personnel decisions based on finances rather than basketball, I'm satisfied. If they get the young guys on the court and win some games, then I'm set. The two seasons prior to the previous abortion were immensely enjoyable. If they can get back to that this season, I'll be happy.

psv reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 11:19

"As long as the team competes, makes an attempt at developing their younger players and doesn't make stupid personnel decisions based on finances rather than basketball, I'm satisfied. If they get the young guys on the court and win some games, then I'm set."

That's my view in a nutshell. I am absolutely stoked to see Turner, Jrue and Iguodala on the floor. As long as they play hard with good basketball fundamentals, I'll pay to watch them play.

Obviously, this is the minority view and bad for business since the team is going to fail to pack the arena unless they're playing another team with their own superstars (Lakers, Heat).

Ugh, I don't think I'll be going to see them play the Heat this year. There will probably be about 2% Sixers fans in the building.

Well, only fair, only about 2% of the 2010/11 heat fans will actually be heat 'fans' ;)

speekeasy reply to GoSixers on Jul 20 at 21:59

sad but true

Great post, btw. It's funny how their formula is based on such basic (and meaningless in some cases) stats. Of course, we're talking about the HOF, so it's completely believable that those stats would be predictive.

The HOF Predictor is an interesting exercise. If I were to try to create a predictor for who should be in the HOF, it would be weighted heavily toward season-ending awards (MVPs, playoff MVPs, All-NBA teams), career totals (points, rebounds, assists), and team success (rings, Finals appearances, playoff record), with per game rates only ancillary. The predictor for who is in the HOF would exclude the All-NBA teams (I doubt voters look at that) and probably weight team success less (many HOFers played for bad/mediocre teams, and voters tend to overlook that).

There is some evidence that voters look at career totals (points more so than rebounds or assists). 25,000 points in the NBA is kind of like 500 HRs used to be in MLB. No eligible player who has hit that mark has failed to get in the HOF (Reggie Miller will be a borderline case, but I think if Alex English got in, Miller should get in). Even 20,000 points is a fairly good indicator (kind of like 400 HR in MLB). And just like baseball has its Dave Kingman (438 HR with no shot of reaching the HOF), the NBA has Tom Chambers (20,049 points). Mitch Richmond (20,497 points but rarely played for winning teams) has a better chance than Chambers but is kind of in the Andre Dawson category.

On the other hand, I can understand the inclusion of PPG (and other per-game stats) in the equation. In some sense, you'd rather have someone who was great for a few years than someone who was good for many years. [In baseball, it's known as the Koufax argument.] The poster child for that argument the NBA is Bill Walton, who was great for 1.5 years (1976-77 through the middle of 1977-78), very good for one year (1985-86, 6th Man of the Year), and injured the rest of his career. You could make a very good argument that he doesn't belong in the HOF, but for those who saw him dominate in 1976-78 (as I did, at the very beginning of my basketball-watching life), the HOF would be incomplete if he weren't in it.

Basketball only has one HOF, right? For pros, college etc. Did Walton make it for his college career?

It's funny, if you look at his page on the HOF web site, they don't list his championship w/ the Blazers under his accomplishments.

There is actually a college basketball HOF in Kansas City. See this writeup. But your point is a good one -- he could have been inducted for his college accomplishments. However, my impression (I could be wrong) is that the vast majority of American players who have been inducted in our lifetime into the main HOF were inducted for their NBA accomplishments.

speekeasy reply to Statman on Jul 20 at 22:02

Vince did play on the Magic this year in the Conference Finals right? (if you can call that playing)

That was a nice analysis of superstars, and I'm with you so far as the fact that I can be happy with a highly competitive team that plays good basketball. But to me, the more interesting thing to talk about would be the way it oversimplifies the means of acquiring superstars. Clearly, not all the teams that acquired superstars did so via the route of scraping the very bottom of the NBA barrel. Also, as you point out being among the worst teams in any given year doesn't yield high odds of getting a superstar.

A much better long term strategy than simply sucking is commit to taking appropriately valued risks on *many* players with high upside in the hope that just a few of those risks eventually pan out. From that POV, I absolutely flabbergasted that so many passed on Hassan Whiteside until the 2nd round of the 2010 draft. To me that says that most NBA owners don't know what their doing and most NBA GMs who work for clueless owners are just trying to hang on to their jobs rather than adopt strategies to maximize their championship chances.

6mauro4 on Jul 20 at 3:54

Of course every sixers fan whants his team to win a ring, but i'm happy if the team, the organization make the right thing. I'm not happy if ES doesn't take Miller and says Lou Williams will be the future PG; i'm not happy if Dalambert, Smith handle the ball many times too far from the basket and Brand stays five minutes without see the ball etc. etc. etc... But if my team makes the right thing and plays with passion with heart i'm happy.

Good post.

It could be interesting to see how many times a superstar led team with or without a superstar/star sidekick didn't make the conference finals. My guess the number would be huge... It just shows that building a winner is not as easy as it sounds. The front office, the coaching staff and most of all luck play a huge part in winning.

At the end of the day there are only 4 winners and 26 losers every season (according to the post, which i guess is a fair assumption), so we should probably slightly adjust our expectations.

For me seeing the team going in the right direction and trying hard every night is all that is needed. I would love a championship contender, but the reality is that doesn't happen very often...

Old School Sixer Fan on Jul 20 at 7:20

I'm surprised that the NBA CBA has not been mentioned yet. The current CBA has, in many ways been a failure. If teams had a way of voiding "guaranteed" contracts based on performance or something, it might be possible to turn teams around more quickly to competitive status.

Personally, I'd be relatively happy if they won 50 games and lost in the second round.

I'm torn on the CBA. When I start thinking about letting owners void guaranteed contracts, I think the problem is more with horrible front office decisions. On the other hand, the other major sports seem to give teams ample opportunities to remake themselves. In baseball, you can overcome bad decisions by spending more money since there's no cap, just a weak tax. In football, you have the hard cap, but no guaranteed contracts, so a $100M mistake, is really only a $20M mistake because the signing bonus is the only thing that's guaranteed and you can cut bait at any time.

I'm still fairly certain there's going to be a lockout, but the one change I'd like to see made is to put a cap on the number of guaranteed years you can put in a contract. Meaning, if you sign someone for 6 years, only the first 3 can be guaranteed or something like that.

Ultimately, unless they put something like a franchise tag into the next CBA, I'm not sure how much things are going to change. Players usually go to the team that can offer the most money, or a destination city. You can make yourself into a destination city by putting together a solid roster. The Sixers actually did this the year they got Brand, they just didn't sign the player they thought they were.

When I start thinking about letting owners void guaranteed contracts, I think the problem is more with horrible front office decision

That's what a CBA/Salary Cap structure is for. To prevent owners and the GM's they hire from their own stupidity. It limits (supposedly) the amount of bad decisions they can make, the amount of bad money they can throw after worse. They aren't in the spirit of competition or capitalism, they're pretty much 'anti' American when you get down to it, but owners tend to throw money around like candy if they don't have limits, and agents only need two owners involved to COMPLETELY over pay a guy if there are no restrictions on a salary.

The next CBA will probably shred the NBA players union because it's as weak as the NHL players union and has a membership uninterested and out of touch.

Stern will give them 'concessions' that he laughs about in back rooms while getting his lower BRI, increased draft age (2 years instead of one), and voidable contracts with a hard cap.

Logistically, I'm not sure how you would go from a soft cap to a hard cap. They can't void contracts that have already been signed, and a team like Miami is going to be way over the cap for the next five years.

I'm not a lawyer or accountant or contract expert but I'm sure there's a way to get it done, and I'm pretty sure David Stern feels that the union is his bitch, and will give in on something silly and get what he wants.

Probably have to grandfather some contracts in or something (like Shaqs bloated piece of garbage contract was grandfathered in the current CBA), but you'll see the end of exceptions I'm sure. If I was writing sterns wish list it would be

1. Reduction in the BRI
2. Voidable Contracts
3. Hard Cap
4. 2 year requirement

Do you think Stern really cares about the 2 year thing? That's more of an NCAA problem in my mind. By reduction in the BRI, you mean a reduction in the portion allotted to the players, right? It's 51% now, correct?

I'd be shocked if any contracts were voidable. It would be great if teams were forced to cut players (but still pay out their contracts) in order to get below the hard cap.

I think the BRI number is currently 61%, not 51%, if it were 51% it wouldn't be such a bad thing.

The NBA gets bad press (deserved or not) for flops who come out early, Stern is very PR conscious, and the supreme court ruled that age limits within a CBA are legal and binding (WR from USC went after the NFL), I think a second year is something he'll want, but see he'll ask for three years, and the Union will stupidly put up a fight and he'll compromise on two. Sterns a smug bastard but he's quite smart.

I think Stern wants more firm cost controls, I think he hates his soft cap and the ability of teams to go over it and to increase the amount they are over it every year (thanks to the MLE). He'll fight it.

The owners will be able to sustain a lock out much longer than the players...again the union just isn't as strong as the other sports that matter, and I expect this to be more like the NHL than the other sports, a year lock out in which the owners sit back, don't pay anyone and wait for the players to wake up.

It looks like the cap is 51%, lux tax is 61% and the players are guaranteed 57% (the league cuts the players' association a check if the total is less than 57%).

Gotcha, anyone know how the NFL works it? I bet that's the model he most wants to emulate. (Except of course rookie deals, that's the only thing the NBA does better)

I personally also think the NBA needs better scheduling, the NBA has the lowest percentage of intra divisional games of any of the four major sports leagues.

Great post !!! And I agree that good basketball is what I want and a playoff series or 2 with a chance to advance is fine by me. If I was our g.m. my main goal would be to let our "pretty big three" adapt together, define roles around them through the draft and target, through trade or f.a. signing, the missing piece when Elton becomes moveable with knowledge that at that time luxury tax won!t be an issue, hopefully.

I don't need the Sixers to be a great team for me to watch them. I've been watching them since the 01 finals team. For me, it's being competitive, meaning if they try hard every night and make it exciting for every game, I'm loving life. If one day they do put it all together and earn a ring, then that's icing on the cake!

Karl Malone and John Stockton. Larry Bird and Kevin McHale. MJ and Pippen. Kareem and Magic. Doc and Moses.

Tracy McGrady's a superstar? He's not as good as anybody on the 2nd list.

From 2000 to 2007 he was a stud. It's a shame he couldn't stay healthy.

I still don't believe he'll be a near-lock for the Hall of Fame. I mean, the guy hasn't won ONE playoff series.

Yeah, I guess. I sure liked his game, especially his jumper, and I guess he compares favorably to Alex English, who's in the Hall, but his recent career has cast a shadow on his good years. At the time, it looked like he was becoming an all-time great and only needed the right team. Now, it looks like he just scored a lot of easy points. He didn't rebound much, didn't pass, didn't play defense.

If I had to guess, I'd say he makes it.

I have no problem rooting and being happy with the sixers not making it to the conference finals if it appears they are building towards that goal in the future (If I was a Thunder fan I would be thrilled with last season). For a team like the Sixers with no real chance to reach the conference finals in the forseeable future I would rather follow option #3. At least that option provides some hope for the future. I understand the lottery is a total crapshoot but to me it's better than 40 win seasons, making the playoffs as a low seed and getting eliminated in the first round.

As I look back on the last 20 years, I don't see teams with three, four, or more consecutive lottery years having that much success. Maybe OK City and Memphis will manage to do that but we'll have to see. Dallas is another one. After a lengthy string of bad seasons, they finally managed to land a surprise in #9 Dirk and their fortunes almost immediately improved.

Usually a contending or respectable team manages to pick up a star in an occasional (or infrequent) lottery year with a high pick (Shaq to Orlando, Dwight to Orlando years later, Duncan to SA in a single lottery year, Wade to Miami) and manages to surround that player with effective support.

paul reply to paul on Jul 20 at 11:16

Well, wait, now that I look at that post, I see that Orlando generally fell into the loser category when they drafted those star big men.

Nevertheless, I'm still not convinced that having three, four, five, or more consecutive bad seasons is the easiest way to build a contender nor do I really want to experience that many consecutive bad seasons in an effort to find out.

I don't want to experience that many either but at least the hope the lottery and draft bring is better to me than perpetual mediocrity. To be honest all of these situations are terrible but #3 is the lesser of all the evils.

Right. The HOF predictor isn't meant to determine who DESERVES to be in the HOF, but who it thinks will make the HOF.

eddies' heady's on Jul 20 at 9:49

Really good post. Since I've been avidly and passionately following albeit patiently waiting for 27 years for another title, I'm not sure what number option I would fall under. If I had to narrow it down, I guess I would fall under #4 because even though the destination is the goal (NBA Finals), I sure as hell thoroughly enjoy the journey.

Very good post.

I agree with Old School Sixer Fan that the CBA and guaranteed contracts cause most of the problems where it is difficult to recover once you are bad.

If things don't change I'm worried we'll have a few teams that are strong because people want to move there (Miami, NY, LA, Chicago) and the other teams wind up being farm teams for them. If this is how the league is going to be then it probably bodes poorly for the Sixers. As even if they get lucky with drafting or developing a superstar they probably wouldn't be able to keep him. The only way to turn that around is to make the Sixers / Philly a destination team the way they were in the early 80s (or like the Flyers are every year). Maybe it would be good if the NBA had a franchise tag like the NFL also.

I'd be in scenario #4 but I'd like to feel the team is improving or building towards something. I don't want to get to the point where we feel we never will have a chance to win anything.

No, I'm not really interested in us perpetually being a second round team. For a while the post-Finals second round years with Iverson were fun, I'll admit, but for two reasons: (a) he was a lot of fun to watch, and (b) for a while I persisted in the delusion that we could seriously contend. If I had realized in 2002 that the Finals year was just a flash in the pan and we weren't going anywhere, I wouldn't have enjoyed those playoffs series.

" if the Sixers show promise this year, play good ball, make the playoffs, and win a series, that's an accomplishment worthy of satisfaction in today's NBA"

You won't be satisfied this year.

This team would need a miracle to win 40 games IMO.

Unfortunately, I agree with you on this.

And since that's probably the case, I'll spend most of my time focused on player development.

Joe reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 11:12

What are you looking for in players in a high level kind of way? I see it like...

1) Iguodala - Just be here next year.
2) Jrue - Continue improvement. Don't regress to first half last year at all.
3) Turner - Just don't be terrible. Rookies can really struggle.
4) Brand - 9 reb/36? 50% from the field?
5) Speights - Stay healthy and in shape. Maybe learn to defend a little?
6) Lou - Please don't return to the disgusting player of 2 years ago.
7) Thad - If you improve, improve in areas besides scoring, please.
8) Meeks - Was decent with the Sixers in his limited time last year. Don't gun so much, though. 9) Hawes - If you improve, do it by shooting less jumpers, rebounding more, etc.
10) Willie - 40+ DNPs please.
11) Smith - Get stronger or grow longer arms. 9 reb/36 or go home.
12/13) Kapono/Nocioni- Please keep minutes to a minimum. I would prefer Kapono DNP the entire season. The mullet can be pretty bad, but Kapono is worse IMO. I don't want Kapono dressing most games.

Hmmn. Not a whole lot to disagree with there on a player-by-player basis. Right now, three things are right at the top of my list:

1. Jrue taking over the team. Really making the leap from a rookie feeling his way out to a guy who's going to take ownership of the team. I see it in him, and I think he's got a chance to do it this year. From a statistical perspective, keep the three-point percentage up, get to the line more, cut down on turnovers.

2. For Turner, I'm not as worried about the stats as I am the role. I want him spending this entire season learning how to play off the ball, showing confidence (and consistency) in his jumper. If he turns out to be a guy who simply cannot succeed unless he's dominating the ball, we're in trouble. Not because of Iguodala's presence, but because of Jrue's.

3. Thad, Meeks and Hawes to a lesser degree. I want to see if these guys make meaningful improvements in meaningful areas. Forget Jason Smith, he's a minimum guy for his career if he stays in the NBA.

I'm not really concerned with Brand all that much, mainly because he's the end point for me. I'm looking at what's going to be left when he and Lou come off the books and keeping my fingers crossed that we don't do anything stupid to extend the waiting period beyond the end of his contract.

CJ Watson, 2 years/$6.5M to the Bulls. Good signing for them. Actually, sign-and-trade for a second round pick.

Evan Turner will be a super star. Trust me!! This is coming from a Ohio State fan. Watched every game of Turner and boy, he is going to be special. I think you guys are headed in the right direction. Just stay positive and things will just fall right in place.

paul reply to Bob on Jul 20 at 10:48

Well he was certainly the draft choice I was hoping for all season. I still have a bus load of faith in him and I believe he'll be challenged by his frustrating summer experience.

Tray reply to Bob on Jul 20 at 11:44

I bet Gonzaga fans/the whole West Coast Conference felt the same way about Adam Morrison.

Good post! I'm certainly willing to adopt your standard for success although getting one step further to the conference finals seems a more distinguishing mark of a contender franchise than winning one playoff series.

We should also remind ourselves that the Sixers have plenty of company in the non-championship team category. 15 of the last 20 NBA championships have been won by only three teams (Bulls, Lakers, Spurs). The remaining five have been split between four teams (Rockets, Pistons, Heat, and Celtics). So, the remaining 23 NBA teams have not won a championship in the last 20 years. In contrast, 11 different MLB teams have won the world series over the last 20 years. When the OK City franchise entered the NBA a couple of years back, a Dallas sportswriter welcomed them to the league but told them not to expect a championship anytime soon as the Dallas fans were still waiting after almost 30 years of existence.

I love the topic, I actually wrote about something similar this week. My thoughts are basically that 76er fans should select option #3. In the NBA mediocrity is the worst possible state, and should never be pulled for.

Fans should be upset that the 76ers picked a guy like Turner (who, I think most will agree, almost assuredly will be serviceable but can never win the MVP) and shouldn't fall too in love with guys like Iguodala (again, good but not great), at least not until there is someone on the roster who could plausibly be great.

In the NBA stars win, so personnel decisions should be made with that in mind. Simply put, always draft for the home run. That's why I loved Jrue over Ty Lawson, Jeff Teague and Eric Maynor, (and would have continued to love it even if Jrue didn't emerge last year, something I wrote then) and wished the team had either selected Favors or traded with Minny and picked up Cousins.

Also, someone has taken the LSAT ...

speekeasy reply to James Beale on Jul 20 at 23:00

Agreed. That's the same reason I liked the Thaddeus Young and Marreese Speights picks. Youth and potential. The Sixers have for the most part drafted pretty well. I still find Sixers fans who argue with me that Ty Lawson would have gotten us back to the playoffs last year and they might be right. But Jrue's ceiling is much higher and as bad as last season was we ended up with a high lottery pick. Hopefully the safe Evan Turner at #2 pick over Cousins and Favors doesn't come back to bite us.

In a star-driven league like the NBA you have to go for the home run. Look at where Kobe was drafted. Now without high-school players and Stern potentially putting in the 2 year minimum college rule one would think the draft would become more predictable but there will always be gambles. But if you can build a core of young and hungry players who can push teams in the second round of the playoffs maybe you can pull off a F.A. signing or a big-time trade in a large market like Philly. Chicago almost pulled it off this year with LBJ.

Aren't the Pistons the flaw in this analysis? Maybe the answer is to hope to be like them -- great defenders and great coach and chemistry.

I don't believe they are, they are the exception, and the model that GMs try to use when they can't build the team the other way. If the Pistons were the flaw in the analysis it would have happened more than one season recently.

No rule is perfect and the Pistons are an exception (and the Pistons were uber talented at multiple positions even if they weren't perceived as superstars, which I understand it means guys who win MVPs, so Paul Pierce and Ray Allen aren't superstars or were ever superstars?)

Nick reply to GoSixers on Jul 20 at 13:58

Fair point.

They're the exception, though I wouldn't really call them the flaw.

On another note, can you believe that Pistons team wound up with the #2 pick in the draft right in the middle of their run and completely blew it? Jesus, if they hadn't picked Darko they could've been headed for a dynasty.

Tray reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 14:06

At the time I don't believe there was any doubt that Darko was the second best player in the draft. (Or any idea that Wade would be this good.) Over the years there's been some revisionist history as to Chad Ford building him up, but that was much more the case with later Slavic picks, like Andriuskevicius or Cabarkapa. The line on Darko at the time was always #1 pick in any other draft.

I think you are overstating it. Darko was seen as a high risk/reward type pick. To say he was the consensus #2 pick over Carmello or Bosh is not true. There was not a consensus #2 pick that year. Turner was much more the clear cut favorite at #2 this year.

Actually, if you look at the three teams who made conference finals during the last ten years who weren't led by superstars (I include the 01-02 Kings because I would have labeled Webber not a "superstar" but a "star," even though he qualified for "superstar" under my criteria), there are some common elements. The 01-02 Kings and the Pistons teams meshed extremely well offensively (Kings had two excellent-passing big men and five good shooters; Pistons had four good shooters and two go-to guys in Billups and Rasheed) and the 03-04 Pacers and Pistons teams were superior defensively. Take a look at the stats for the 03-04 Pacers someday and you'll wonder how they could win 61 games and reach the conference finals with their two best players shooting under 44% and the whole team shooting 43.5%. Answer: they held their opponents to 43.2% and 85.6 PPG. I think it's actually more realistic for the Sixers to develop that type of team (balanced offensively, superior defensively) than a superstar-led team, but as others have pointed out, it's more rare for that type of team to be ultimately successful. For one thing, you need to have five guys in their primes instead of just two or three.

Speaking of those Pistons teams, I came across a few players in my research who were more successful than their talent level would seem to indicate, players who were always playing for top teams. Here's the list:
* Rodman (5 R, 6 NF, 9 CF)
* Horry (7 R, 7 NF, 9 CF)
* Fisher (5 R, 7 NF, 8 CF)
* Rasheed (1 R, 3 NF, 8 CF)

Another recent example was Ron Harper, who picked up 5 rings after he was no longer a star. If I were to pick some qualities common to the players on the list: ability to defend multiple positions (Rodman, Horry, Rasheed, Harper) and surprising ability to hit clutch shots (Horry, Fisher). If he set his mind to it, Iguodala could do the former. It will be interesting to see how Iguodala does in the Team USA tryouts, since he's almost certainly the best defender on the roster at two positions.

I think you grossly underestimate the talent level of Rasheed Wallace by putting him on that list.

"Talent level" is probably the wrong phrase. In fact, Rasheed probably underachieved individually relative to his talent level (8 conference finals is nothing to sneeze at, team-wise). The concept I was trying to express is something like "recognition level." None of those players was ever thought of as a superstar at any point in their careers. For example, Rasheed never made any All-NBA teams in his career.

Rich reply to Nick on Jul 20 at 14:24

I also think that era of basketball was a weird one, where they could be more physical than they can today. If we are to see a team like the Pistons win today (no superstars, all good players), I think it's going to have to be a run-and-gun team.

When do you consider the start of this era? I thought the rule changes came before they won their ring.

The rule changes came (coincidentally?) I believe after the sixers made the finals in 2001 or in 2002 didn't they?

That's what I thought.

Rich reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 15:15

I'm looking at it through a PPG perspective. Right now the scoring average is at 100 points where it was at 93, which is a pretty big difference for league average.

Their was rule changes in 2001, and league scoring progressively went down after the initial change to 2003. Remember those Pistons/Pacers games in the conference finals? They were ugly games, and the hand checking needed to be tweaked.

Then came the big tweak in the rule changes, after the Pistons won. Directly after that, they abolished hand checking above the FT line. Coincidentally, Steve Nash won the MVP the next 2 years and PGs ran ragged throughout the league, which they still pretty much do.

The Pistons still went to the finals the following year, and the ECF for the next three (I think).

I still believe you can build a team around solid defense. Not if you have no defenders and no rebounders in your front court, but anyway, we have two of those pieces right now in Jrue and Iguodala.

OK, I'm depressed again.

Rich reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 15:24

I think you can too, but a 'superstar' may almost be necessary at this point. I actually think that's the way OKC is building it, but they have Durant to. Phoenix got pretty close this year with an older Nash, maybe that's why I think that's more likely.

I thought the hand checking rules were '04-'05 (or possibly the following year), pretty much in line when Steve Nash started winning MVPs.

Actually you may be referring to the zone rules, which were right after the 76ers finals appearance (I remember Larry Brown having a lot to do with this change).

You know, on the other side of the Detroit argument, they weren't a flash in the pan. They used that model to win 50+ games 7 years in a row, make the conference finals six times in a row, make the NBA finals twice in a row and win a ring. It wasn't like this perfect storm of luck that got them that ring, they were very, very good for a very long time.

Little off topic, but Chris Sheridan of ESPN projects Andre Iguodala not making US team.


I don't know how gay makes it over Iggy imo.

I'm not sure why he lists Durant w/ the guards, but whatever. Here's the right link.

I actually hope he doesn't make it. He doesn't need those extra miles on the odometer, the guy already leads the league in minutes every year.

Jason reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 15:17

That's a good point, seeing as we have a log jam at SG/SF do you think that he should play less (2-3 mpg less per game) for sake of his mileage?

I always thought he should be in the 36 mpg range, rather than up around 40. Since the mullet has apparently been promised 20 mpg this year, I'm going to assume Iguodala's minutes will drop a bit.

Amare is off the world team because of insurance concerns from the knicks, that bodes well for his continued health

Rich reply to GoSixers on Jul 20 at 15:30

Are they going to show any of this practice? I would kill to see a practice scrimmage of these guys.

If they are, it'll be on NBA TV

According to reports I'm reading, practices didn't start until today, so Sheridan must have Kreskin like abilities?

Rich reply to GoSixers on Jul 20 at 15:45

No it's on NBA TV, and Jerry Colangelo just reported it. I thought you were watching because you typed that right after they announced it.

Sorry, no. I get text alerts from ESPN, they notified me that he wouldn't be playing :)

I was just guessing on practice being televised.

Colangelo cracks me up. He said if guys didn't play this summer, they wouldn't be considered for the olympic team in 2012. Everyone called his bluff and he backed down off that.

Rondo's hilarious too. Keeps changing his mind, then complaining about not getting invited, then saying he wouldn't come, then saying he would. Last I heard, he still hadn't made up his mind. That guy's a little bit of a loon.

speekeasy reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 23:17

I don't think Rondo's game fits in international ball anyway (poor outside shooting and free throw %). And it's not like there's not already enough PG's on that roster with Billups, Rose, Westbrook, Curry, and Evans. Rondo can go pound sand.

Rondo's career has peaked. He'll always be a good defender, but his gimmick offense is not fooling anybody anymore. I think a lot of his success was because defenders were so dumbfounded by his pseudo-Magic routines that they would just watch him in disbelief. And now that he's got the big contract and people (Colin Cowherd) saying he's the best player in the playoffs, his arrogance is going through the roof.

How do people feel Iguodala's game would translate to international ball? I don't know if I would pick Gerald Wallace over him for one.

Defense is defense, and Iguodala is the best wing defender on that list.

Offensively, he's not a great match, due to the reliance on the jumper and zone defenses. Personally, I'd take Iguodala over Gay, Tyreke and Wallace (of the guys he has making the team). I'd stick him on the best wing scorer the other team has.

Steph Curry should be a lock. Their problem, in my mind, has been a lack of shooters in the past. I could see the argument for not taking Iguodala if you were going to replace him with a deadly outside shooter, but Wallace and Gay don't fit that mold.


Gerald Wallace was actually a good 3-point shooter for the first time in his career last year (37% from 3), but I'm not sure I'd want him taking any important jump shots. Then again, neither would I want Iguodala taking those kind of shots (I still have bad memories of Richard Jefferson bricking baseline jumpers in the 2004 Olympics -- has there ever been a worse NBA player in the Olympics than Jefferson?).

As I look at the roster, there's a serious hole in terms of defending opposing 2-guards. At SF, there's Durant (who had excellent defensive numbers last year) and Wallace. At SG, there's Stephen Curry and Eric Gordon?? So if Iguodala makes it, he'd make it as the defensive "stopper" at SG. Not sure what international rosters are like, but historically they've been strongest at SG/SF, so there's a real need for defense at those positions.

Rich reply to Statman on Jul 20 at 16:07

I disagree Statman. I think PG play is what kills American teams. Greece beat the Redeem Team at the Worlds by strictly running pick and roll from what I saw. I forget the guy's name though. I remember Sarunas Jasikevichus (sp?) killing them on pick and roll in 2004 with Lithuania.

Rich reply to Rich on Jul 20 at 16:10

I would add Carlos Arroyo to that list as well.

I think PG play is what kills American teams.

Good point (no pun intended). But it's also worth pointing out that the U.S. was knocked out in both 2002 and 2004 by Argentina, who was led by a SG (Ginobili). I think we're in agreement, though, that if Iguodala makes the team, it will be because he fills a need for perimeter defense.

I didn't even realize his 3P% was that high this past season, good for him. Check out his % from 16-23 feet though (30%).

I'd feel more comfortable w/ Iguodala at the three and Curry at the two on the offensive side, simply to keep the floor spread. Then I'd have Iguodala take the better offensive player on the other end of the floor and lock him down.

Rich reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 16:03

Strictly looking at it, these are the 12 I would take-
1- Chauncey, Rose, Curry, Westbrook, Rondo
2/3- Durant, Iggy, Granger
4/5- Lee, Love, Odom
5- Lopez

From what I've seen, international basketball is not meant for a couple of player types. Back to the basket big guys (Tim Duncan was an average international guy) aren't really necessary. Al Jefferson isn't even at camp for example. The other is guys who are pretty much strictly perimeter scorers at the 2. That's why we sucked in the Worlds and Olympics for awhile. Paul Pierce is not effective internationally. The only guy I saw have success as one of those guys were Dwyane Wade and Kobe, and they might just be too great of talents to fail. Plus they played a team style. That's why I don't like Tyreke Evans here.

I like PGs who can play both positions. Westbrook, Curry, and even Chauncey can do that. Then I like tall wings who can shoot. Iggy is the designated defender here. Then the big thing is skilled bigs. We don't have LeBron, Wade, Paul, and all those guys so you have to be smarter.

They need a defensive big, unfortunately, they're in short supply these days in the NBA.

No kidding, they were flashing the "Bigs" on NBA TV and you're pretty much stuck with Tyson Chandler if you want defense.

I can't believe Tyson Chandler is even in the discussion. That's just sad.

speekeasy reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 23:31

they called Javale Mcgee into camp. That's scary

From Marc Stein-
# I’ve been advised that Philadelphia, with its surplus of swingmen, is open to moving sharpshooter Jason Kapono, who has one season left on his contract at $6.6 million. Kapono is a natural target for teams in the hunt for a perimeter specialist with Mike Miller and Kyle Korver getting snapped up early in free agency.

Stein breaking the obvious 3 month old news, outSTANDING

But if he's mentioning it now, maybe Kapano's name is actually being thrown around after the Korver/Reddick deals. Could be renewed interest - hey, silver lining people! Sadly, I don't have a lot of confidence.

Did anyone think, at any time since he was brought onto the team, that Kapono was off limits?

Fred reply to Brian on Jul 20 at 18:26

Yes, We need his veteran leadership. But now we have Nocioni

Why are bigmen entering the draft always considered "raw"? They've been playing basketball their whole lives, why can't they develop an offensive game. If a bigman from Kenya or Nigeria was considered "raw" I would understand it.

I know we arent supposed to give a crap about summer league...but we do on some level. I think the majority of this board was sold on turner(me included). Now after seeing him play---I was a little discouraged. I chalked it up to out of shape. But then Cousins(in his first 4 gmaes begore he gassed out) and Wall tore it up. This has made me sour on turner just a bit. And all the posts I see here are a lot less giddy when it comes to turner. Hes gone from savior to a "serviceable" player...man I hope were all wrong because I will be pissed if we FINALLY get lucky and move up in the lottery and all we get is a SERVICEABLE player. That would set this franchise back ANOTHER 5 years.

You do on some level, I learned better after John Salmons wowed Larry Bird

johnrosz on Jul 20 at 18:41

Do any of you guys think Turner has star potential? I'm stunned that everyone is writing off the number 2 pick already. Seems the consensus ceiling for Turner around here is "a pretty good nba player"

The consensus prior to the draft was that Turner's ceiling was similar to Brandon Roy. That's still true. IMO, the mistake is that people got confused between the true facts that Turner has a high skill level for someone coming out of college, is apparently a hard worker, and he had an outstanding NCAA career with the idea that he has a particularly great chance to get near that particular ceiling. I never quite believed in that concept because almost no player comes out of NCAA or HS with an NBA level mid-range game, and it's as hard as any other player development prediction to figure out who will get a *great* NBA level midrange game like Roy has. It's not necessary to be a great athlete in the running/jumpsing sense - maybe some old timers here remember Jeff Malone, who had a killer mid range game and as an athlete would have made Turner look like MJ. But on the other hand, very few guys ever develop that level of skill, either because of lack of effort or lack of less obvious athletic endowments (e.g. Pete Rose must have had world class hand eye coordination in his pudgy body).

johnrosz reply to izimbra on Jul 20 at 19:58

It just irritates me that a lot of people seem to have downgraded their expectations of Turner because he had a lousy week of pickup basketball. We really have no idea what kind of player he is going to be.

I downgraded my expectations for Turner somewhat, but my expectations for what was most the most likely and expected outcome, both before and after summer league, was NBA starter and probably not NBA all star.

Summer league performance is one more piece of data. There was other data from HS and NCAA games, all star squads, and pre-draft measurements. Some people claim that NCAA performance is informative while NBA summer league is not., but I'm not in that camp.

The players in summer league are a lot closer to NBA level than the players in the NCAA, so that gets balanced against the fact that summer league all happened in one week after a long layoff with an unfamiliar system. What people make of all the data so far is just educated guessing.

johnrosz reply to izimbra on Jul 20 at 20:33

There is almost no organization in summer league basketball. A lack of set plays, no level of familiarity with style or system. I don't think a week of pickup basketball should have any bearing on your expectations.

But you can make a parallel argument for NCAA: it's a slower game, they play by different rules, the guys guarding on the perimeter are shorter and slower than Turner and other NBA players, there aren't any real shot blockers in the lane, etc....so therefore NCAA should have no bearing on your expectations!

Joe reply to izimbra on Jul 21 at 7:20

Any analysis of NCAA basketball I've seen says there is a correlation between NCAA play and NBA play. Any on summer league I've seen have no meaningful correlation.

Summer league is worthless.

JasonMess reply to izimbra on Jul 20 at 20:37

The players might be closser to the NBA level that does not mean the play is. You have to look at all the info you have. In Turner's case it did not tell us anything new. We know he is not the same level athalete as Wall or even Johnson whoever else you want to throw in there. He has taken time to adapt to each level he has played. But he has been able to adapt and then thrive. I do not have a superstar or bust expectations for him. He might turn out to be Brandon Roy he might turn out to be Grant Hill, he might turn out to be Shane Battier. Point being he will help you win games.

johnrosz reply to JasonMess on Jul 20 at 20:39

The most telling thing I've seen in summer league thus far is that Cousins tried to get into a fight.

IMO, the play is also closer to the NBA in most respects that are relevant to scouting. That's by design, it's why the teams bother to participate. Summer league is more of an outlier in the sense that the participants aren't as worried about the final score, so it's less fan friendly. But it is a scouting event.

Jason Mess reply to izimbra on Jul 20 at 22:57

I think we can both say he will help win games.

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