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Evaluating the Pieces of a Bad Team

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.

This was a comment from Joe in response to this topic last night:

"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."

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tk76 reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 11:09
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That was "Joe." :)

Heh. I'll fix it.

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Tray reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 11:25
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Beasley's numbers, after last night's game, look a lot like Melo's.

For some reason, I don't think Beasley's going to keep up the 52% shooting from three.

Here's a comp. Beasley vs. Melo this year, Melo in the same season as Beasley and Melo at the same age as Beasley.

Melo's still better, but Beasley's numbers thus far are in the neighborhood. Doubt it's sustainable, but he's right there.

But how do you quantify for 'bad team' numbers. Have the Nuggets been 'really bad' at all in the Melo era?

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Joe reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 13:08
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I'd say the 2 are very far apart this year by those numbers assuming same position played. Melo is the better rebounder and passer by a good margin.

I think Melo's numbers are very good this year. The best of his career in fact.

Historic Melo and Beasley appear to just be separated by the ability to make plays for others, meaning some assists. I don't think historic Melo is anything more than "good" so I would probably lump Beasley, for this season, right around "pretty good."

Kevin Love? He is great...

This one is from Statman in the previous thread, on topic:

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 ...

Just from a quick glance, I'd say this team is much closer to the 97-98 team than 92-93.

Hawkins was 26 and in his last season in Philly in 92-93, Hornacek was 29. So two good, older players. And nothing in terms of youth.

In 97-98, Iverson was 22, Ratliff was 24, Snow was 24 and McKie was 25. So a younger core.

Of course, this Sixers team is even younger than the 97-98 team, and obviously the young pieces on that team developed into a superstar scorer and three very, very good defenders at key positions.

And nothing in terms of youth.

Not a 'Spoon fan huh? I generally agree with you that this team is much closer to 97-98, but it will take some degree of fortitude to stay the course (assuming there is a course) and not make any "panic" moves. And moving from "loser" to "winner" will also take some degree of luck as well ...

Go look at a montage of evan turner highlights in college.
It doesnet even look like him today.. This kid need sto play with confidence and drive to the basket

There are glimpses, but not as many as you'd hope for. Give it time.

The kid is a kid (and don't use montages to evaluate a player, it's like judging a movie based on the movie trailer and then finding out the movie isn't anything like the trailer), and the NBA isn't a kids league.

Evan Turner has played 12 relevant NBA games at a pace that makes college basketball look like a leisurely walk in the park.

He's playing in much tougher competition (sorry folks, college team is even as good as the Clippers, or they'd have 12 NBA players on it and they'd all be drafted)

He's learning his new job, and his new job requires an entirely different approach than the 'job' he worked in school.

Worrying about Evan Turner now is like worryinga bout Jrue Holiday after 15 games last year, it's silly.

The starting 5 should be speights, brand, iggy, thad and jrue We have to see if speights and thad can play as starters.... They should bring turner along slower cause he seems like ahead case.... Bench nocioni, williams, hawes, turner, some meeks and Brackins kapono, battie and songria scrubs only

Thaddeus Young should not start for an NBA team

Another slightly weird Turner quote from last night:

“We’ve got to get it together,” Turner said. “Sometimes, you try to trust each other, but sometimes you just have to play without thinking.”

So more thoughtless play, less trust.

Hey thoughtless play is where Thad excels

Thoughtless meaning instinctual, not careless. That's how I'd take it.

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Tray reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 11:51
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Oh me too, but I guess I read it as more instinctual one-on-one play, less trying to pass the ball.

I think more of what he's saying is guys are thinking too much, whereas it should be instinctual.

Instinctual does not mean 1-1, thoughtless, careless, etc.

I can see that, though maybe not less passing but more making the play on your own (pass or shot), rather than waiting for the called play to develop. He should be worried about getting to the point w/in the offense where it doesn't require a ton of thought.

I forgot to congratulate you on DeMarcus Cousins continued stellar play. He's now leading all rookies (w/ more than 150 minutes played) in turnovers/36 min.

Oh come on Brian, gloating really doesn't help your case :)

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Tray reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 12:02
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And second in the league in fouls! Guess who's sixth in the league in fouls and eleventh in turnovers? He's still worth it though. But back to Cousins, do you expect him to continue being a turnover machine? I think he has a daft coach who encourages him to do too much with the ball.

I think he's a problem, and him being a problem is going to interfere with him being a productive player in this league. Turnovers, fouls, those are on-court manifestations of his problems. It's always going to be a trade off with him, and there's always going to be a coach, or another player to blame for his shortcomings, but in the end, it's him.

I think if you look at andray blatche you see the future of demarcus cousins, supremely (Raw) talented but never putting it together for more than a few games because of issues of dedication, work ethic, maturity, etc...

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Tray reply to GoSixers on Nov 18 at 14:45
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Cousins is going to be a lot more effective than Blatche because he's a natural post scorer and rebounder. Even if he underachieves his skills are more valuable than Blatche's.

From everything I'm hearing, he's shying away from playing in the post and just tossing up jumpers. 25 attempts at the rim, 22 from 16+ feet so far, according to hoopdata.

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Shawn reply to Brian on Nov 19 at 12:34
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Watched every minute of the Kings vs Knicks game (unfortunately). They consistently put the ball down in the post to Cousins at the end of the game. He was clearly effective, and required a double team. Cousins, however, is not consistent yet, but if he ever puts it together will be a monster.

Hmmn, who on the Knicks was guarding him, prior to the double, I mean.

In terms of raw numbers, it's possible, but my comment was more a reflection of the perception of Blatche (and Cousins) that he could be a great player if he would grow up and focus on his job...Blatch doesn't seem like to achieve his potential and neither does Cousins (so far) and that's why Cousins the 'second best talent' in the draft slipped, because of the work ethic issues. He may achieve more than Blatche (or speights) but he seems to be another big man who seems uninterested / motivated / determined / focused on maximizing their potential...

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Tray reply to Brian on Nov 18 at 14:48
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How in the world do we know that his turnovers and fouls are manifestations of his problems and not just typical rookie problems with turnovers and fouls? Like Curry's (although those problems haven't even abated)? With him you just assume whatever he does wrong is proof of your belief he's a headcase.

Curry is a point guard who has the ball in his hands all the time, turnovers are expected from him. Cousins is a part-time center who obviously isn't making any plays for teammates. Curry is also averaging 4.1 fouls/36 minutes, he only averaged 3.1/36 min last season. Cousins is averaging 6.7 fouls/36.

If you want to talk raw numbers, Curry has played the point for 300 minutes this season, with 31 turnovers (and 55 assists). Cousins has played 226 minutes as a center and turned the ball over 27 times, 4 fewer than Curry in 74 fewer minutes (with 12 assists).

That's not alarming to you? That's just "oh, he's a rookie going through growing pains?"

You spent the whole preseason and summer league blowing Cousins and talking about how stupid it was not to take him. You spent the entire season last year talking about Curry's foul problems, which were really only in your head, and suddenly Cousins is just young. He'll get it.

Why does Denver make that deal yet though? Does Karl have a history with Nocioni I don't know about?

Smith makes them better but he's also expiring. If Melo is leaving, then they should dump billups, turn it over to lawson and start looking at rebuilding, at which point smith as an expiring contract is more valuaable to the nuggets than Nocioni as the player

I'd try to see if Karl is just at the end of his rope with Smith and willing to cut bait in a deal that isn't advantageous but maybe changes the culture in Denver. I doubt he would, but I'd make the call.

I think the Nuggets are in flux until Carmelo either signs the extension or is gone. I think they still think they can keep Melo and that for all his issues, Smith gives them a better chance to win now then Nocioni does. I don't see Denver doing that deal either on or off the court. Doesn't help their roster, doesn't help them keep Melo, and if they dump Melo and Billups (as they should), Nocioni just gets in the way of a rebuilding roster and takes up unnecessary cap space (wait a minute)

I wonder if Portland would be more motivated in an Iguodala offer now after their run of disastrous injuries, Iguodala will get better and it won't be chronic.

I wonder if Portland has anything to offer to make a deal for Iguodala palatable

As tough as it has been to watch a 2-10 start, I still catch myself reading this Sixers blog daily. Why? I guess it's because I think this team will get it together at some point or I'm a glutton for punishment lol.

It's been a play here or a play there that this team has gone from almost winning a game to losing by 8 or 9 points (minus the Spurs game). This seems quite remarkable with no solid center on this team (Battie is probably suited for about 8-10 minutes a game). I'll be honest and say that the Sammy D trade was one that I was in favor of at the time. I did not realize how bad Hawes was given my "Movie Trailer" via Youtube (thanks Go Sixers lol) view of his game.

I know Iggy is dogged here regularly but it's too bad that I can't imagine getting a quality player in return for his services. I know a lot of teams covet Iggy but soon they are going to smell blood in the water and not offer anything in return besides an expiring contract. I don't mind moving Iggy but I want a YOUNG BIG in return.

A question for all... What would Oden be worth as a restricted free agent this year that Portland would not match?? He's making 6.7 million dollars this year as a former # 1 pick. Most average centers make about 7 Million/ per year. What would you offer Oden, if anything? I think the lack of talent that the sixers have this year make them a little desperate and they may take the risk if this team continues to struggle (especially if this draft doesn't produce a dominant PF/C).

Oden just had microfracture surgery, he's not worth anything in my opinion until he shows he can actually play basketball

The Rockets will sign him low and it'll be called brilliant and then they'll put him on the yao ming 24 mpg but still get hurt plan and they'll still be called brilliant

I don't think Oden will even be a restricted free agent this summer. His qualifying offer is almost $9M, I think Portland will just cut bait.

Someone will probably take a chance on him, but I doubt it's for more than 1 year at about mid-level money (less than $6M), and they may even attach a team option to the end.

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Tom Moore on Nov 18 at 14:08
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Iguodala out for Friday -- shooting for Tuesday return.

Video: Lou Williams on his injured shoulder, shooting struggles and surprise at the 2-10 record:

http://ow.ly/3c4Fj

So that's his excuse for suckage - injured shoulder? How long and why still playing?

Please call out Collins on his pathetic rotations and double standards that he seems to apply to speights versus hawes and meeks versus williams

Seriously, I want someone to ask Collins what justification he uses to start Spencer Hawes

Call me crazy, but I'm not disappointed at all by Turner's overall play thus far. I admit to getting a little bit worried by his performance in the summer league, especially because he was playing poorly against weak competition, but he has performed even better against actual NBA players. By that I mean his rebounding numbers are off the charts. He isn't forcing anything on offense - I know I know, some people are killing him for this and saying he's not being aggressive enough, and when he does attack he shows glimpses of becoming a deadly scorer in the future. His defense has also been far above my expectations.

The one thing I haven't liked so far is his completely absent 3-pt. shot. He has taken 9 three pointers to this point, and from watching the games, this even seems high. Maybe most of them have come in end-of-shot-clock situations. In any case, he has made one, and it appears that he purposely passes up good looks from beyond the arc. Of course I'm willing to be patient. I mean he's been doing pretty much everything else well for someone who has been in the league for 10 games, but the Sixers have needed a shooting guard who can actually shoot for a while now, and it is worrying that our SG of the future cannot or will not incorporate this into his game. Does anyone have any examples of a shooting guard who has come into the league with a non-existent three point shot that drastically improved over the course of his career? I'm liking Turner a lot right now, and I'd like to have even more hope for his potential.

Rip Hamilton. Richard Jefferson. Michael Jordan. Just off the top of my head.

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Tom Moore on Nov 18 at 14:20
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Video: Collins on Iguodala missing another game, Lou Williams and how tough it is being 2-10:

http://ow.ly/3c5ho

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johnrosz reply to Tom Moore on Nov 18 at 15:32
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He gives you more insight in one interview than Andy Reid has given in 11 years

I know reid gets criticized for his interviews a lot but, well, he's been the most successful coach in eagles history, so I don't argue with much he has done (did folks see the E:60 interview with Reid, they asked him about it but I only saw bits and pieces)

PS...if i had to deal with some of the more 'big' names in philly media, I wouldn't answer questions either

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johnrosz reply to GoSixers on Nov 18 at 19:33
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I love Reid. The media has kind of beaten him down over the years to the point where he's just not going to give them any ammo. I wouldn't be the most loquacious fellow either if I had to answer to Les Bowen every day about my job performance

Reid cracks me up. There's absolutely no way to say he hasn't been a great coach when you look at his track record, but his in-game coaching skills have just always been so piss poor and that's the stuff you see every week. Dumb challenges and terrible time management. It seriously cracks me up.

He's interviews have been the same since day 1. Can't blame them on Les Bowen.

(I personally don't care about his interview skills, just saying they haven't really changed).

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Rich reply to GoSixers on Nov 19 at 4:01
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Eskin's on Reid's jock, and I don't really think anyone else is a problem in the media. The Eagles don't exactly do the media any favors too. Dealing with Banner can be, well, tough. Quite a Napoleon Complex with that guy.


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