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Like A Cheap Suit

I know it's early, but I'm already getting in the "rooting for loses" mentality.

And what's up with Craig Brackins? He must be real bad if he can't find minutes in our frontcourt.

khouse reply to Mar on Nov 18 at 9:07

Collins has stated that Brackins is regarded as a "red-shirt freshman" which, again, IMO is ridiculous stand to take. Given our lack of talented bigs, this kid should be given minutes to see what he has & to give him some game experience so that his growth isn't stunted! I mean with Turner & even Holiday taking their lumps this season, Brackins should be allowed to as well to "evaluate" his game & to hopefully build that future nucleaus now!

Joe reply to khouse on Nov 18 at 9:26

The thing I don't like about Brackins is that his body of work indicates a worthless player.

The glimpse we saw in the preseason was terrible. His last college season was terrible.

Another good job by EB (on the 2nd night of a back-to-back).

Jrue and Nocioni both stunk at the end - just giving away possessions. Collins has to find a better way to play at the end of games and quarters. I think they need to make more of an effort to go through Brand in crunch time, and/or give Turner some iso opportunities.

I'm a "Lou guy" but ignoring everyone and settling for a 20 footer at the end of every quarter is getting old.

The 2-10 record is a direct reflection of the Dalembert trade that, cap or not, should have never been made! It is by far the most impactful, move this franchise has ever made! It not only killed our interior D, & inflated our payroll but later, we'll get to watch as his expiring contract nets them the talent we should have gotten in return! Then we follow it up by extending Speights when his play did not dictate just a move...a lost season indeed!

I thought it was good to see Turner drive to the lane and get to the foul line a couple times. Everyone has mentioned it, but we've got to see that more.

I saw this on SI.com. List of top 15 PG's in the league. Jrue isn't even on the list. Surprising, and annoying.


That's what happens when a team is not competitive. The players are invisible, except to the scouts. (Don't know who voted or how the list was made.) The NBA has 30 teams, and every year, about 5 of them are off the radar. This year, the Sixers are one of them. They're in a hole they won't get out of for a couple of years, maybe more. It's 1992. I just hope Collins survives; we're not gonna get a better coach.

To illustrate the point, ESPN2 put up last night's NBA scores on a graphic. The Sixers-Raptors game wasn't even on it.

It's not that egregious. If you're talking right now, I can't put Jrue in the top 10.

Me neither. If you're talking about a fantasy draft, I'd probably take him over most of those guys for what I think he's going to become, but in terms of production, he hasn't done enough yet.

I posted this rambling rant after the Cavs game:

How do you evaluate young players on a truly bad team?

My big concern now is whether the team is so bad we can no longer adequately evaluate the players. You need to have at least some framework in which these young guys operate. If they are asked to perform outside their normal NBA role than it won't be a fair evaluation.

As an example, we want to see Meeks try and be a scorer, shooter and reasonable defender. But if the offense is so broken he is asked to be a creator, to guard SF's and play without any defensive help on the perimeter he's going to look terrible.

Likewise, Thad is tougher to judge. We know he's not a good rebounder. But he's been amazingly efficient as a scorer this year. But if these struggles continue I wonder if he will try and do too much. That could mask his positives. Likewise, its hard to know if his defense or rebounding has incrementally improved when there is no quality defensive center when he is on the floor.

Turner and Jrue are both being asked to do a ton offensively. Jrue is holding up well for stretches, while Turner does not seem ready for that level of responsibility in the offense. They are suffering breakdowns, which is not the end of the world given their lack of experience. But how can you adequately gauge their progress when the team is playing losing basketball overall.

On the flip side, some players put up big numbers on bad teams. And its not always easy to know what numbers are empty. Like on the T-Wolves Beasley and Love have put up so huge stats. How much of that projects to helping a good team win- versus simple stat stuffing in the vacuum of lesser talent. Likewise, is Brands improved rebounding a result of Sam's departure, or is it a real improvement. When Turner steps up without Iguodala, does that really reflect positively or negatively on either player? And is Brand's improved production partly a reflection of him being the last guy in the frontcourt with a pulse?

This is the type of dilemma the Clippers and T-Wolves struggle with year after year. You want to know how your players project to perform on a more complete team, where their strengths and weaknesses can be optimized. I realize you can still make judgments about the players on the floor... but the big question remains how much of the individual successes and failures are due to being on a horrible team.

This was the heart of the argument for bringing Andre Miller in the AI trade. Have a stabilizing influence to aid in player development and evaluation. Unfortunately, it lead to organizational myopia, where they thought they had a better core of players that were more playoff ready and on the rise. But now that the flawed but serviceable vets (Miller, Sam, Green) are gone, we realize exactly where this team is. But its that much harder to know where to go from here.

Obviously the team needs to land a superstar in the draft. But in the meantime, they need to find the best way to develop and evaluate the gys on the roster.

I have a couple of thoughts. First, while the Sixers may be a bad team, with a poor record, they aren't necessarily playing meaningless games, at least not yet. They've only lost 3 of the 10 games by double digits, and they've been in every game but one in the fourth quarter. We aren't talking about blowouts where opponents relax, play their scrubs in the second half, and the Sixers pad their stats. This may change, and it probably will sooner rather than later if the losses keep mounting, but right now, the young guys are playing in tight games, with a burning desire to win, against teams with that same desire, so I think the "playing for a loser" thing isn't an issue as far as development is a concern in terms of "Well, how would they play if the games mattered," because they still do at this point and within each individual game, they're competitive.

As for Brand, I suppose you could make the point that he's getting more boards because the front court has been gutted by Stefanski, but I'm not sure how you can discount the offensive production. He's not playing against the Sixers front court. Quite the contrary, since the Sixers get zero production out of the five, Brand winds up with the opposing team's best interior defender on him, typically a center with a significant height advantage, and he's still producing at a nice clip. I don't think his production is by default.

For the most part, production is production. If a guy is good - and I mean good in a meaningful way not just PPG and chucking up shots - for a bad team, that's going to translate to a good team. I'd say the guys the Sixers have wouldn't have a problem producing on a more talented team because their usage rates are all relatively low (meaning Jrue, Iguodala and I guess Turner). If anything, being on a better team and surrounded by more talent should make Iguodala and Jrue more productive.

tk76 reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 10:57

I agree with much of what you are saying. But I also get the sense that things are slipping away quickly.

Joe also had a good response to my original post:

Joe replied to comment from tk76
November 17, 2010 10:45 AM | Reply

"You evaluate based on what wins games...

You don't evaluate on per game totals for points.

You pay attention to TS% and don't ignore it. You pay attention to who is creating possessions for the team and note who is wasting them.

And Love would be putting up gaudy numbers anywhere. He is a great player. Beasley's numbers aren't even good.

I really don't think it is that difficult to separate a player's individual production from the team."

Actually, I'm going to make this a post. Good piece for discussion.

Following up on this, is this team more like the 92-93 Sixers or the 97-98 Sixers? The 92-93 Sixers (26-56) was the first post-Barkley team and had some talent (Hawkins and Hornacek eventually went on to start for teams that made the NBA finals), but none of them ever played for a winning Sixer team again. That team needed to be blown up. The 97-98 Sixers were not much better at 31-51 but had some of the pieces in place (Iverson, Snow, McKie, Ratliff) for the quantum leap that started the very next season and continued until the 00-01 Finals appearance. That team needed to be tweaked.

As you astutely point out, tk76, the hard part about evaluating talent on a bad team is that you can't tell what you have if the players aren't playing the way they would play on a winning team. Almost anyone would have been hard-pressed to predict in 97-98 that Snow would become a mainstay starter alongside Iverson or that McKie (who shot 35% in 97-98!) would eventually become 6th Man of the Year in 00-01. But Larry Brown had an eye for his type of player and eventually produced a winner.

I'm hoping that Collins also has an idea of what his type of player is, and the main evidence we've seen so far is that Speights isn't his type. (Maybe the fact that Lou got only 12 minutes last night indicates something similar for him.) But it's unfortunate that Hawes seems to have a longer leash. As I've said before, it's got to be discouraging to the other players that Hawes plays at all, sort of like when a coach plays his son on a high school team more minutes than he deserves.

Last thought: somebody said that Iguodala's game is boring, but I think this team is extra-boring without him. There's probably a high correlation between "bad" and "boring" though ...

I'm going to move this one up to the new post as well.

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