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Reward The Effort


It's time to face facts, this Sixers team, coached by Doug Collins, is not bad enough to wind up with a top-five pick in the upcoming draft.

Trading Iguodala for building blocks MAKES them bad enough to get a top 5 pick

Yeah, I covered that in the next sentence.

The point is that we're kind of at a crossroads here. Trading him immediately, if you get building blocks in return who aren't very good right now, would probably keep you in the bottom five, or near to it. So if there's a deal out there that you can make in the next week or two, that's a valid argument.

But if you wait until February, you can't roll back the clock on the wins you've accumulated in the interim. So if you're going for the tank and the top pick, you've got a kind of reverse stink of desperation on you when it comes to trading Iguodala. You need to move him asap because the team is too good with him to achieve the ultimate goal of that direction.

I mean, if New Jersey is open to giving us the package they were going to give Denver for Melo, sure. Go for it. Make the trade tomorrow. But if it's not something transformative like that, then they're just making a deal to make deal (or really just making a deal to get worse). Which doesn't sit well with me.

I don't think you can get the same package for Carmelo you could get for Iguodala from anyone because too much weight is added to Carmelos scoring and 'star power' and his lack of ability in other areas is ignored so he's seen as a super star and Iguodala is not.

I don't think winning now and getting waxed in the first round of the playoffs is going to do anything but get Hawes and Thad bad contract extensions.

As for your trade, Portland is supposedly looking to move the old farts, and Camby fits in that category, but I'm not sure Camby gets em out of the first round anyway, plus I don't think comcast does it financially.

The sixers are stuck in no mans land (and i'm sorry, 7 games isn't even 10% of the season, I'm not ready to get excited about this team just yet), they don't have enough talent outside of their 'core' to win now through trading their assets.

The mistakes they've made year in and year out (not trading miller, holding on to iverson too long) can not be compounded. If they want to aspire to mediocrity - more power to em - but it's depressing if that's their goal. They're last in attendance (when last I looked) so who cares if they stay last if they build a core that can win a few years down the line. This core (even adding camby) ain't winning

Winning a championship? No. Winning more than they lose the next two years? Probably. Is that the end of it, then? After two years where are they? Got me, but right now there are three choices. Tear it all to hell, make a trade to improve the team, or stand pat. If you're tearing it all to hell, fine. Do it the right way. I'm not sold they can or will do it the right way, or that it's the best way to go, but if that's what you want to do, go for it.

If you aren't going to tear it all to hell, then making a move to improve you in the short term is completely worthwhile. Stand pat, and you may sneak into the 8th seed, maybe you just miss. Either way, you're picking in the 13-17 range in the draft. If you make a deal for Camby, you probably draft in the 17-20 range, but you're putting a better product on the floor in the mean time and your young players are playing meaningful games, maybe figuring out how to win close games, for the next two seasons.

Right now, I prefer better basketball and improving the team to a complete tear down. The only thing I don't want is to stand still.

And they've been playing good basketball pretty much the entire season, not just the past 7 games. The wins have started to come over the last 7, which is a sign of growth in and of itself.

Adding camby doesn't get them out of the first round of the playoffs...

Agreed. Not this year. I have no idea what adding Camby would mean next season, though. I don't know how good Jrue and Turner will be by then, among others.

Camby has been at a level of about .34 wins produced per 48 for the past couple seasons which is right at top ten in the league. So if you replaced Hawes who produces about zero with Camby and estimated he would play 30 minutes a game for you next season for 60 games, then at his current production the Sixers would win 12 more games than they would with the current setup. Camby has been one of the most under rated players in the league for years.

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Marty reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 13:29
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You hit the nail on the head. Mentioned this to another Sixers fan last night - Sixers are playing well enough to keep things together but still can't compete for a championship. I would love to get Camby and Fernandez, but I think your trade is total fantasy land. It doesn't net Portland one viable player (Speights?), and you're asking for two contributing pieces on their roster. Plus with Oden such a question mark, why would Portland trade their best center with a year still left on his deal? I think they'd be more willing to trade Pryzbilla.

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Rob_STC reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 14:04
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Brian,

Brilliant. I was looking at Portland because they were rumored to be trading vets for younger players. I was thing Pryzbilla's expiring contract but either way the Sixers have value in Kapono and Songaila's expiring contract to get a defensive Center. Camby would be the perfect guy. I don't think this is very far fetched. Thorn & Collins know what they need to improve.

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Tom Moore on Dec 13 at 13:21
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Video: Jodie Meeks on the Sixers' road difficulties:

http://ow.ly/3oqOI

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Tom Moore on Dec 13 at 13:32
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Video: Collins on what Sixers have to do to win on road:

http://ow.ly/3oriR

Video from Jrue coming soon.

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Tom Moore on Dec 13 at 13:41
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Video: Holiday on facing the Nets and the Sixers' growing confidence:

http://ow.ly/3orFS

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mgfields reply to Tom Moore on Dec 13 at 14:01
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Tom -
Noticed that Turner was working out after practice with Curry in the background of the Jrue video. Collins mentioned this these extra workouts in the postgame video after the Hornets game. It would be interesting to interview Turner or Curry about what they are working on. Thanks for the videos, they are great.

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Tom Moore reply to mgfields on Dec 13 at 21:29
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You're welcome. Turner typically works on his mid-range jumpers, as well as receiving the ball on the perimeter and making a move to the basket.

I asked Collins the question about Turner to which you're referring.

Thanks.

I'm curious as to what the end game of your idea is. Getting Camby would almost certainly get the sixers in the playoffs for the next 2 years. In my opinion they would be competitive but not a contender and it sounds like that would be your expectation. But after camby is gone and after brand's contract is up where are they then? One year left on iggy's contract, jrue and turner would be up for new contracts or at least close to being up for contracts and we would have a couple of mid to late first round picks over that time. If thad is still a sixer he might be getting over paid, hopefully thorn knows better than to do that, and lou will be up for another contract. At that point would jrue, turner, thad and iggy (heading into the latter stages of his career) be enough to bring in a big name free agent that would be able to launch this team into contention?

Again, we're talking about three options.

1) two years down the road we've seen Jrue and Turner play basketball for a horrible team for 3 and 4 years, we have two higher draft picks in the fold who have also played horrible basketball for a couple of years (if we completely blow it up right now). Maybe we strike gold in the lottery.

2) two years down the road we have turner and jrue who have played on a borderline playoff team for 3-4 years, we have a couple of picks in the mid-late teens on the roster. (stand pat)

3) two years down the road we ahve turner and jrue playing playoff basketball, and developing on a decent-to-good team and a couple of draft picks in the late teens. (improve through trade now)

Option 1 is great if you strike gold in the lottery, not so great if you don't. Option 3 is great if Jrue and Turner develop into serious building blocks, if they don't then you're going to be forced to tear it all down and start from scratch. Option #2 seems like the worst thing to do to me.

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kbt reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 14:21
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I agree totally standing pat is the worst thing to do. I feel like option 3 would have the most predictable outcome which would be a competitive playoff team not quite at the level of championship caliber teams. It would be a low risk/low reward situation. Option 1 would be a high risk/high reward situation based on the fact that the nba draft is a crap shoot in most instances. But if you hit in the draft I see it as paying dividends not just in the player the sixers get but it would make the team more attractive to potential free agents. If you get a great pick to add to jrue and turner then a big time free agent could see the sixers as great option to win championships for years to come. Or they could miss in the draft like most teams do and hope they can just throw money at the best free agent and hope it works out, also risky(brand).

Personally I'm ready for the sixers to gamble, we're going on a decade of watching mediocrity or worse and I don't want to see another decade of it without them at least rolling the dice. But I understand some people just want to watch their home team play quality basketball but the phillies have ruined that mind set for me, now that I've experienced what its like to have a champion in philly that's all I want our teams to strive for.

Not sure Portland would do that Brian. What are they getting in this deal? Speights doesn't really seem like a lot. Fernandez would not be happy here either, because he probably wouldn't play. I'd even think about doing this one to sweeten the deal for Portland:
http://games.espn.go.com/nba/tradeMachine?tradeId=29cc9hu

I'm at the point where getting rid of Lou is a positive, and he has been know to have some mysteriously high trade value. Let Turner have the ball more and let the 2nd team offense run through Thad like it should. Again, if I'm Portland, there is no way in hell I'd do this, but who knows?

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deepsixersuede reply to Rich on Dec 13 at 14:19
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Rich, they seem high on Armon Johnson and Elliot Williams and have P.Mills to boot. They seem to want bigs like some other team we know. :)

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deepsixersuede on Dec 13 at 14:14
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Brian, what do you think the sixers value more now, Spieghts who shows flashes and they have invested time in, or this years #1 in a draft unsure of talented bigs because of a possible lockout? The reason I mention this is another less costly option; Kapono and a top #15 protected #1 or Spieghts for Pryzbilla if Portland won't move Camby and if Pryzbilla is healthy, a big if.

Brian, i like the idea. I don't think that package is enough to get Camby though. There are 2 reasons why i think that's the way to go:

1. This years draft due to the upcoming lockout, that will result in many prospects not declaring at all will probably be one of the weakest ever. Do we really want to tank for a pick in such a draft? The last such draft in my memory is the 2006 draft when the new age rule kicked in. Do we really want to find ourselves in the same position Toronto, Portland and Charlotte are right now 4 years after?

2. Free Agency is not going to help you. Just see how many teams stroke out this summer. Basically everybody aside from Miami and partially New York and Chicago. Free Agency is all about overpaying lesser talent and getting a star for free if you are a big market team (Lakers, Heat, Knicks, Bulls, maybe Rockets, Mavs, Celtics, Magic), which the sixers sadly are not.

So my point is getting rid of Igoudala and Brand for expirings is meaningless. We are better of trying to win now, without sacrificing our high value young talent.

Much of this talk is premature (but fun nonetheless), but I do think we will know a lot more about the potential of this Sixers team after the upcoming road trip.

Hypothetically, though, if the Sixers were able to make it up to the #6 seed and play Atlanta in the first round, why is it a foregone conclusion they would lose to the Hawks if the Sixers had Camby? Did anybody see the Hawks go life-and-death with a vastly inferior Bucks team last year?

The eastern conference is much stronger this year than last year. The top 4 seeds will probably be Boston, Miami, Orlando and Chicago. Do you think we can upset any of them with Camby? Doubtful (unless the opposing team is hit with injuries), but i am at least up for giving it a shot...

Btw i think we can beat the Hawks in a playoff series even without Camby :))

Let's say Brian's trade goes through. Then a Sixers-Bulls matchup would be: Deng-Iguodala, Boozer-Brand, Noah-Camby, Rose-Holiday, Bogans-Meeks and a bench of Gibson-Korver-Brewer-Watson vs. Lou-Thad-Turner-Fernandez. I'd have to think the Sixers would at least be competitive and definitely a better than 0% chance of winning that series.

Oh absolutely, i think they will be competitive with everybody actually, it's just going to be very hard to win a series against that competition. But it's still way to early to discuss playoffs. Our youngsters need to get valuable experience in the rest of the regular season.

But it's still way to early to discuss playoffs.

Agree, but if winning a playoff round is one of the criteria used to decide on a possible Camby trade (as Brian and GoSixers were discussing above), it's also too early to conclude that the Sixers with Camby have no shot at winning a playoff round this year.

Winning a round would be great, but that's not my criteria for making the trade. The team is playing well basically with one hand tied behind their back. I'd like to see how they play with a more complete roster, and I think the players deserve a vote of confidence from the front office.

There's more to it than that, some of which I'm not proud of, but I don't think you need to measure trades by "Will this make me good enough to win a round in the playoffs" at this point.

I'm sorry - if the sixers make it to the six seed - they're playing the 3 seed in the first one.

WHat makes you think the hawks are getting the 3 seed - let's deal in reality.

The sixers would play the celtics, heat, magic, or probably bulls in the first round

Which one of those can the sixers take in a 7 game series?

See above for my comment re: Sixers-Bulls. Is that a mismatch in your eyes?

Not saying the Hawks are likely be the #3 seed, but they are currently 0.5 games out of #3 and 1 game out of #2. Stranger things have happened ...

I'll bet you the hawks end up no higher than 4th, if 4th at all

The sixers don't match up with the bulls that well because the bulls primary weakness (2 guard) isn't something the sixers can take advantage of unless Evan Turner blossoms soon (No, not lou and not meeks)

Rose over Holiday
Boozer over Brand
Noah over the sixers centers
Iguodala over Deng probably
without turner the 2 guards on both teams are bench guys.

The Bulls would certainly be favored in such a series, but nothing about these matchups screams "blowout" to me. I'd give the Sixers better odds at winning a 7-game series with the Bulls than their odds at getting another top-3 pick after tanking, for example.

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raro reply to Statman on Dec 13 at 15:35
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+1

And that's not counting the actual thrill of playoff basketball...

Aren't we kind of winning on the back of Veteran Elton Brand? This topic came a bit early, should of waited until after the road trip to see if the Sixers are still alive. I am not sure it's safe to judge just how good this team is.

Eh. I'm not sure it's fair to judge how bad a team is after a trip like that.

The Sixers haven't exactly had a cake schedule to this point, I don't have a problem saying they're playing good basketball 23 games in.

Even a championship contender will struggle and lose a lot of games with such a schedule. What i am interested to see is whether we can keep up playing well. We still may end up losing the majority of those games anyway...

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 15:09
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If we're unable to judge this team then what exactly is being rewarded? A team that came out like it was a playoff game and only lost to the Championship contender Celtics who treated the game like it was the 2nd night of a back to back in the beginning of December, as well as completely shut out a Hornets team that looks dead, beating a Blazers team that isn't doing well recentely.


And how come Elton Brand isn't considered a veteran? I have heard winning on the back of veterans on SixersBeat, but Derek and you include every veteran other than EB and is it because he has such a huge contract that he's not considered a negative when he's a big part of the reason why they are winning?

I don't see Brand as taking away minutes from anyone useful to the team's future, that's why I don't consider him being a hail mary rely on a veteran move. Plus, he's here for the next three years, it's not like he's a veteran minimum guy who gives us a bit of an edge over someone else. He's a part of the future, at least for a couple more seasons.

You're saying they aren't that good, just wait until they go through this stretch. I'm saying, this upcoming stretch is tough for anyone. It's fine to judge them based on what we've seen so far, because the schedule hasn't been a cakewalk.

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 15:51
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What i was trying to say is that this upcoming road trip will be a much better measure of where the team is at than the past two weeks. If the team goes on the road plays well and holds their own then i think it's safe to assume that this team is good and then a post like this would deserve some merit.

Basicaly since the collins hiring Sixers fans have been jumping to conclusions prematurely any time a team goes on a hot or cold streak. Obviously not everyone was on the band wagon at the same time but i think most people at one point fell into a thought that was an overreaction at that current time.

Fair enough.

The last 2 weeks have proven to me that the Sixers are pretty good and that Collins system is working after many adjustments. C'mon, they didn't win those games by being lucky and playing teams with their guard down. As crushing as it was, the Sixers played very well against the Celtics (who played the night before). Rondo played 47 minutes, Pierce 40. They weren't coasting through the game either - the Sixers defense was good throughout. When that game ended, I was really, really down, but it proved a lot to me about this team. The main thing is, they're improving much sooner that I expected and, more importantly, they're defending well - and rebounding well, which I don't think anybody expected.

Too late I see that Brian made the same point. Anyway, the Celtics make noise about resting veterans in the regular season and they never do it. They don't mail in games. Pierce always plays 40 and believe me, he doesn't treat any game like just another game. I see him play all the time and he's a certified killer. You saw it when he made that 4th quarter basket.

When I say "winning on the back of Veterans", I mean stopping the development of young players. i.e., if Willie Green and Royal Ivey were playing over Jrue Holiday. There's really nobody Brand's holding back, so I don't have a problem with him.

(I'm just about at the point where I consider Speights a lost cause).

I don't have a problem with veterans, I have a problem with veterans getting in the way of player development so we can win 37 games.

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deepsixersuede reply to Derek Bodner on Dec 13 at 15:30
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Who has more value trade wise, Spieghts or a 15 to 30 pick in this years draft, with the lockout a possibility? Derek, what would you value more?

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Tom Moore reply to deepsixersuede on Dec 13 at 15:33
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Barring a complete turnaround by Speights, I'd take a first- or early second-round pick instead.

Can I cop-out and say I think Speights has more talent than a late first ?

Better odds that you get a mid-late first rounder to reach their potential than Speights? Comfortable w/ that statement at this point?

I probably wouldn't trade him for a late first just because of the extended years on the contract. I would for a mid.

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deepsixersuede reply to Derek Bodner on Dec 13 at 15:38
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Let me rephrase the question; off the top of your head where does Spieghts, knowing what you know this early, fit on your list of college bigs currently playing.

I guess I consider next year Draft pick a player that is already on the team and Elton Brand is holding the team back in future talent which is equally important as current development to me. I won't argue with the fact that he isn't holding anyone back that is currently on our roster.

That might be the most circular argument i've ever heard.

He's basically just saying he wants them to tank.

i.e.

Brand's causing us to win games and get a lower draft pick, and he's not going to be a useful contributor when we're relevant, ergo he needs to stop playing.

I think if most of us would change that last part to be "ergo he needs to be traded", we'd all agree. but he can't be traded, and most of us just aren't at the point where we'll bench a guy because he's helping us win.

Yeah, I got it. Just seemed like a funny way to make this argument.

Anyway, put a different spin on this. Does anyone think there's any chance Thorn makes a trade to completely blow up the roster now? Do you think we're past that point in the front office's mind?

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Rich reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 15:55
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Did you see how bad he wanted to beat Boston the other night? I personally think any excellent Iggy deal will not happen. There's not even a fair one out there now, so no I don't.

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Rich reply to Rich on Dec 13 at 15:56
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Meaning Thorn will not trade AI9 for anything less than a fair deal, and maybe he won't even do that.

No deals were going to be made before December 15th. Mabye they've been discussed but everything in the media is smoke and vaporware like duke nukem forever and dr dre's new album (really, it's coming out soon).

I don't think anything different about this team then I did at the beginning of the season. I don't know if they changed their minds, plus we don't know what they thought that they had in the first place

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speeke reply to GoSixers on Dec 14 at 7:01
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+1 for the Detox reference

Championship contender Celtics who treated the game like it was the 2nd night of a back to back in the beginning of December

See, this is just crap. They played Rondo 47 minutes, Pierce played 40, Allen played 35. Boston didn't sleepwalk through this game, or take it lightly. They had to overextend their best players to get the win.

And before you tell me about how Shaq was out, take a look at what they did to Charlotte two nights later without Shaq.

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 15:44
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I wasn't implying the Celtics didn't want to win the game. I was saying they didn't want to win it as badly as the sixers did.

Yet they only sat Rondo 45 seconds?

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 15:53
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Just because a team plays their starters 48 minutes a game does not mean that player is giving everything they have to win. Hate on, but body language of the celtics team compared to the celtics team that you see in the playoffs was majorly different.

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TruePhan reply to Jason on Dec 13 at 16:09
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I don't know what games you've been watching but the Celtics always have the exact same body language. They're too cocky for their own good. Nobody's been able to humiliate them consistently enough to knock their egos down a peg is all. I've watched them in the playoffs and I've seen the exact same thing I saw the other night, even in the 2008 Finals. They wanted to win that game, and they had to fight to win it.

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Rob_STC reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 16:17
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Not only that but Pierce said it was the Celtics biggest win of the year. I mean 2 nights later they went into Charlotte and beat them by 31. So the Sixers played the Celtics and took their best shot toe to toe.

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Marty reply to Jason on Dec 13 at 15:06
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I definitely think that is part of it. I also think it's funny how his deal is referred to as poison in the media and message boards when the fact is that (if he continues playing like this) he's just overpaid, like 90% of the NBA. And after this year, he'll have two years left on his deal. I don't think he's as untradeable as people think. How about Jamison and Hickson from Cleveland for Speights and Brand?

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Jason reply to Marty on Dec 13 at 15:15
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Cle wouldn't do that. Downgrades two times there.

I think that EB is the most underrated player in the league based on how much hate people give him for his contract.

My problem with EB is that he's a veteran and people talk about winning on the back of vets but have no problem with EB winning us games. I don't think the amount of games he ends up winning for the team which sets us back in the lottery will be matched by trading his expiring contract in 2 years.

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deepsixersuede reply to Jason on Dec 13 at 15:34
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It seems like Hickson and Spieghts both have issues. Recently Hickson has been ripped for not being able to remember the plays and bitching about not starting. And his last game against us he did nothing but shoot 20 footers.

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johnrosz on Dec 13 at 15:15
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Speights is a complete waste in my eyes. I don't think he possesses the bball iq or work ethic to ever make anything of himself. He was far more explosive as a rookie, those leg injuries have taken a toll on his athleticism.

Trade him for anyone that can rebound or defend and I think it's a winning trade.

On another note, Thad used to be a guy that gave you nothing when he wasn't scoring. Yesterday he didn't have his touch, yet he was still a net positive in my eyes. He's starting to find teammates(the Iggy look under the hoop against the clock was beautiful), he hustles on both ends, he's rebounding and defending better. Very pleased with what Doug has been able to get out of him.

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Tom Moore on Dec 13 at 15:33
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Link to Sixers video interviews, including Holiday, Meeks and Collins following Monday's practice:

http://media.phillyburbs.com/media/newsroom/bcct-intell/video/sixers-videos.html

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deepsixersuede reply to Tom Moore on Dec 13 at 15:45
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Tom, thanks for these snippets, they are great. Question, in your Spieghts story you mentioned he never stays after practice to work on things; does Collins prod guys to do this or hang around to see who does this; and is Sam being gone partly the result of getting him away from Spieghts so he wouldn't get this same mentality.

is Sam being gone partly the result of getting him away from Spieghts so he wouldn't get this same mentality.

Heh, they brought in the epitome of hard work, Spencer Hawes, to set the tone for Speights and got rid of that lazy Dalembert guy.

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deepsixersuede reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 15:54
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I can't argue that point at all. :)

That just sounds to me like the Andre Miller years all over again. Which I hated and you loved. This isn't meant personally, but I don't think your wanting a move like that has much to do with thinking it would help us win a championship. Rather, you place a high premium on good basketball, where good basketball is defined as about .500 basketball and up. As long as you have a team that plays hard and defends and has a shot in almost any game, you feel happy as a Sixers fan. I, on the other hand, hate pretty good teams because I don't see the point of good basketball unless it's really, really good basketball; I just don't find solid defense and guys diving for loose balls in pursuit of a sixth seed that captivating. I really only like two kinds of teams - (a) bad-to-competent teams with exciting young talent, and (b) really good ones. And the nice thing about being that way is that (a) can lead to (b) - five years from now, the really awful but extremely fun Clippers, whose starting rotation is 100% 22-and-under, could be in the Finals. (On the other hand, pretty good teams hardly ever slowly turn into great ones.) That's just the kind of sports fan I am; I like greatness on a team level, or at least the possibility of it, and spectacle, excitement, style on an individual level. I would be much more interested in watching a team composed of the #2 picks of the next three drafts, because they'd be fun and interesting and promising and young, than seeing Camby spur us on to a competitive first-round defeat, or even a first-round upset.

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Rich reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 16:12
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If the Clippers have so much talent, why are they so bad?

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Tray reply to Rich on Dec 13 at 17:20
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Because they're kids. Also because their bench is awful, because Bledsoe's a promising but confused rookie, because Blake isn't actually all that good or efficient yet outside of the power game. But he will be.

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Rich reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 17:54
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I wouldn't even call them a bad to competent team. They are not really competent. I just think it's hard to evaluate guys on bad teams (I believe TK wrote a good post about this), and the Clippers are really bad.

Looking at the two teams, the Sixers aren't much older:
1. Jrue's a similar age to Bledsoe.
2. Gordon's (21) a nice young player. Sixers are playing Meeks/Turner/Lou at the two, all pretty young (24 and younger).
3. I guess Aminu's their three of the future. They are younger here with Iguodala as the Sixers' three. They do play Gomes and Butler a lot though.
4. Griffin is way younger than Brand.
5. Jordan and Hawes are the same age.

The Sixers have Brand who is a vet, but he's not producing at as high of a level as Blake. Blake will get better, but what does that say about the other guys on the Clips? The Sixers bench outside of Thad isn't exactly good. I just don't see why the Clips are a much better team in the future.

1. Jrue's a similar age to Bledsoe.

Jrue is actually 7 months younger than Bledsoe.

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Rich reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 17:59
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Yeah I didn't even check that one.

It's actually good that the Clippers are losing all these games, though. If they were close to the playoffs they'd have to trade their best players to make sure they got another top pick.

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Rich reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 18:07
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It boils down to this for me: A lot of guys are going to look good in spots individually and put up some decent numbers, which makes Turner's start that more troubling. If they are doing it on a 5-20 team though, that may need to be taken with a grain of salt. A lot of those guys don't have a clue of how to play defense either. The fact that guys like Jrue, Thad, Iguodala (who is in his prime, but is still young) are playing competitive basketball is a good thing.

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TruePhan reply to Rich on Dec 13 at 18:34
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Not to mention, how many teams have 3 guys who could potentially shut down the perimeter?

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deepsixersuede reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 16:25
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I think bad to competent teams with young talent have to become pretty good teams first before winning a championship. If getting Camby and drafting his eventual replacement allows for Jrue, Evan ,Thad and co. to garner playoff experience it should be considered a positive, especially with Elton and Lou coming off the books in the same year. There are no guarentees a top 5 pick gets a stud.

So we're going to opt for Camby over blowing things up just to get Jrue and Turner (if Collins even played Turner in the playoffs) playoff reps? There's no guarantee that we'd get a top pick if we blew things up, but there's a guarantee that... Jrue and Turner will become wise playoff winners if they play in the playoffs? How do I know that playoff experience is even that valuable? Do the Hawks appear to be learning from their trips to the playoffs? Have the Blazers soaked up knowledge from going to the playoffs? What have the playoffs done for Iguodala and Thad? Are they now tested playoff players or something? I can see that a talented team can mess up in its first playoff outing but do better the next time, and so people talk about growth via playoff experience. But just pushing a group of players, who aren't good enough to win the playoffs, into the playoffs so they can learn from it doesn't seem like that worthwhile of an exercise. It's not like sending a kid to playoffs college; talent doesn't magically grow by going there.

Got it, playoff experience is worthless. There's absolutely nothing to be said for knowing what it takes to play in an important game at the NBA level. It's much more valuable to stand around and watch Blake Griffin dunk on people for five years and keep stockpiling high draft picks. That's what turns you into a contender down the road.

Iguodala's first taste of the playoffs (in the post-iverson era): 13.2 points/game (33% from the floor), 4.8 rebounds, 5.0 assists.

The next year, with some experience: 21.5 points/game (45% from the floor, 39% from three), 6.3 rebounds, 6.7 assists.

That has nothing to do with experience, because the playoffs are just like the regular season.

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Tray reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 20:10
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No, that wasn't about experience, that was about going up against a worse defensive team the next time around, and a team that didn't take us seriously at all. Besides, you'll notice that no one else improved. I mean really, how can you insist that there's a causal link between two 6-game series? It could be completely random that he improved that much. Besides which, you could put Iguodala into a freaking playoff-stimulating hyperbaric chamber, and it still wouldn't turn him into a franchise player. You can only augment a player's talent with experience so much.

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TruePhan reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 20:56
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What, in your opinion, makes a player a franchise player?

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TruePhan reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 18:23
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You seem to not understand the difference between playing in the playoffs and not having anything expected of you and playing in the playoffs as an important part of your team.

In the 07-08 playoffs, the Sixers leaned on Iguodala, Miller, Green, Dalembert, Evans, Miller, and the rest of the veterans. Thad was a rookie who was played at the 4, out of position, and who people weren't relying on.

In 08-09, even though Thad was a sophomore, it was the same story. They weren't relying on him. Speights was a rookie. Holiday obviously wasn't here, and obviously neither were Hawes, Turner, Meeks, or Brackins.

2009 and then this year were when the Sixers finally moved on from that "core" that Green and Dalembert were a part of when Iverson was here. This is a completely different team, one that isn't trying to win now at the cost of its young core but instead because of its young core.

Brian gave you a great example with how different Iguodala played in 09 after his trial by fire in 08.

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TruePhan reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 16:49
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I'd like to point out a few things here:

The Sixers haven't played consistently good basketball since Larry Brown. The closest they got was under Jim O'Brien, and because he got the most out of Dalembert and Korver, they were way overpaid in the upcoming offseason. Inconsistency and a lack of structure has been their achilles heel since Larry Brown left. The Sixers added players based on whether or not they could play AI Ball, not just in free agency and trades but in the draft as well. They didn't draft anybody to be a star or for any reason other than to be a part of AI's team. It wasn't until after they traded AI that they drafted guys like Thad, Smith, etc and brought in guys like Evans who play traditional East Coast basketball.

Billy King said they were molding themselves after the Chicago Bulls, who back then were the model to follow as they had a great young core. Once Stefanski came in, he continued to build a "traditional" team because this is not the "hip hop" league that it was when Iverson was on top of it. Boston's emergence due to being a tough defensive team with muscle down low has made every team have to build the same way in order to compete.

He's had to figure out which players from the Iverson days fit in with this new team model and which ones didn't, and the only way to do that was to play them.

In other words, this team has been in transition mode ever since they traded Iverson, and they still have one player left from those days who doesn't fit in with this team, one who plays a good chunk of minutes. They didn't have a fully healthy Brand until this year. They didn't get rid of Sammy until this year. The bench gets better every year and the young core that we have is much better than the young core we had in 06-07 and 07-08. Building a winning team takes time, and it takes a coach who gets the most out of his players and develops them, and it seems they may finally have that in Collins. This is not a forever-mediocre team. This idea that people seem to have that a complete team who plays the best they can can't beat Miami, Orlando, or especially Boston is absurd. Basketball is basketball.

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Tray reply to TruePhan on Dec 13 at 17:23
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If Turner ever actually becomes a star, then perhaps this collection of players + Camby could beat Miami or Orlando. By the time they ever get good enough, Boston won't be the same team so we can leave them out of it. But otherwise, name some "complete teams" that lacked superstars and went to the Finals. Even those really ordinary Nets teams had the best point guard since Stockton. And they didn't even have to beat a single good team to get there.

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TruePhan reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 17:48
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You're really not getting the point. We have a point guard. We have a small forward. We have a shooting guard in the future. We have a legit low-post player. We maybe have a center but even if we don't then we're still a shot-blocker away from being contenders. We have some pretty good players off of the bench, all who fill roles.

This is not a superstar league, no matter what anybody would like to think. Ray Allen is not the Ray Allen of Seattle/Milwaukee, and KG is not the KG of Minnesota. They both took lesser roles in order for their team to win, even though Ray Allen was clearly better than Pierce as far as being an efficient scorer. Lastly, their bench was great in 08, was again last year, and is this year. The Lakers took 7 games to beat an inferior Celtics team because they're not a complete team, and if they were in the East they wouldn't make it to the Finals. This isn't the late 90s-early 2000s.

There are no juggernaut teams in the East or even the West. Every team in the NBA is beatable. If you have a low-post player who can match up with Perkins, Bynum, or especially Howard, a shutdown defender at the 3, a true point guard, and a legit shotblocker, you have every chance of winning a ring. This is a league of roles, no matter how talented a player is or is not. If Evan Turner develops into a scorer who can play off the ball, then the Sixers are pretty much a shot-blocker away from being contenders. I'm talking about a true shot-blocker though, the kind that is hard to come by most years.

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deepsixersuede on Dec 13 at 17:05
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Thabeet is available, for what it is worth, according to real gm. ; could Collins turn him into a 20 minute a night guy ? And can he be gotten cheaply? Brackins and Songalia [Exp.] ?

I would also add that if Turner was showing anything at all, betting on the future of this team would make a lot more sense. It's kind of hard to say, "let's bet on our young core... our point guard who's averaging 13 and 7 and not making shots or defending like he did last year, and this #2 pick who tore up the Big Ten and whose game on the pro level currently consists of taking 18-foot jump shots and bricking 3 out of 5. Let's go build around that." Not that I'm saying that Turner won't turn out, but before you choose to take on veteran players in an attempt to build around him it would be nice to see him... score 20 points in an NBA game, average 12 over the course of a month, get to the basket ever...

Or you could look at it as a team that's getting 64% of its minutes-played from players 24 and under is playing some damned good basketball and maybe if the heart isn't ripped out of the team they'll continue to progress as a group. That numbers jumps to 75% if you include Iguodala and up the age a couple of years.

The Clippers, on the other hand, are playing complete garbage basketball and getting a lower percentage of their minutes from younger players (58%).

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TruePhan reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 18:05
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Exactly. I mean Jesus, he's a rookie who's trying to feel things out and experimenting with different things in games, all while playing hard on defense and usually making the right, unselfish play. What more can you ask of him? His shot is going to get better. He's never going to be the shooter Meeks is but he'll have a shot that goes in more often than not, probably in the mid to high 40s FG% when he peaks. He'll probably shoot around 30-40% from three, and his shot will most likely be inconsistent but still consistent enough to warrant a hand in his face, which will space the floor the same way Meeks does now.

You give rookies one to three years before you call them busts depending on various factors.

Furthermore, if you don't think that some of the things he's done in games have shown his potential then I don't know what to tell you. Have you ever shot a turnaround jumper the way he did? You need to have a pretty good stroke to do that, and a good delivery.

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Tray reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 20:01
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"Or you could look at it as a team that's getting 64% of its minutes-played from players 24 and under is playing some damned good basketball and maybe if the heart isn't ripped out of the team"

I'm sure that Jrue and Turner and Thad would be crestfallen if Iguodala were traded away. Their little beating hearts are so set on returning with their leader to the first round. Just like how Rudy Gay and Conley must have felt when Pau got traded - all their dreams of first-round appearances with Pau Gasol shattered to little pieces. This wonderful young team is a team with a definite answer at two positions and enormous gaping holes everywhere else. Even Jrue is not necessarily an out-of-this-world talent. By my count he's about the 16th best point guard in the league right now, just looking at win shares (behind Paul, Rondo, Williams, Westbrook, Nash, Rose, Wall, Curry, Parker, Felton, Nelson, Miller, Harris, Stuckey, Conley (yes, Conley), and about even with Jennings and Collison). True, a few of those 15 are old, but most are quite young, and new guards will come into the league. Outside of plain optimism, there's no reason to be confident that he'll become an All-Star point guard. He might and might not. The 64% is a meaningless stat, it counts Hawes and Lou and Meeks and Speights, and only one out of the four is maybe worth keeping. Trying to go all in because we have a few kind of promising young players is like throwing resources into a failing marriage because you enjoy each other's cooking. Almost every team in the league has played some equally "damned good basketball" for one stretch or another - if we were playing so damned well we wouldn't be 8-15 - and every team in the league has a little young talent. And yet, some are in much better shape than others, and some need to quit it already and rebuild and stockpile picks - even though the picks might not turn out. That's life in the NBA. If you want to win, you have to take the risk of falling flat on your face. Because the only way 99.99% of teams ever won anything was by drafting a superstar, and you don't get to draft a superstar by trading for Marcus Camby in search of playoff experience.

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TruePhan reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 20:22
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Basketball is not baseball. Enough of the sabermetrics and other stats already. There are no win shares. There are no wins above replacement. Until basketball starts scoring turnovers, steals, and asists the way baseball scores hits and errors, stats will always be meaningless. Even then, stats will still be meaningless.

Tell me, who was Detroit's superstar? Who was San Antonio's superstar? Who was/is Boston's?

Brand was a superstar in LA. If he stayed there, he would've still been considered a superstar, even now. Ray Allen was a superstar before he went to Boston, and so was KG.

Tell me, what makes a player a superstar in your eyes?

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speeke reply to TruePhan on Dec 14 at 7:57
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Did you really just ask who San Antonio's superstar was? Maybe it was that Tim guy who's probably gonna go down as the best PF of all time. Or if you mean this season then there's Manu who's playing out of his mind right now (11th in PER). And if you really don't think the advanced stats matter at all I don't know why you're at this site. Whole blog entries are written about them.

Look I don't agree with everything Tray's saying but he has a point. The best way to build in this league is through the draft so, even though I'm high on Jrue and Turner, we still need a dynamic big man to compete for championships in the future. I think we'd have a better chance drafting him in the lottery than hoping he'll sign here or trading for him. All you have to do is hit home-runs with one or two lottery picks and you have a core that can get you somewhere. Look at the Thunder (I even think the Clippers have a promising future but they are playing pretty horrible right now).

But Brian's point is a good one. This team as presently constituted and coached with Iggy around isn't gonna be bad enough to get a high lottery pick. And if we can't get a good to great offer for Iggy then there's no reason to force a trade of our 26 year old SF who creates, rebounds, finishes, and plays great D for pittance. And to trade him because we're playing well sends a bad message to our young players and might undercut our new coaches credibilty with them. The only thing is I'd much rather go for a young defensive center than a guy like Camby but that may not be possible w/o losing Iguodala. And there's a chance that making this team more competitive by getting a guy like Camby could make Philly more attractive for a free agent big man when Brand's contract is up.

It pretty much all comes down to if we can get a team to offer us great value for Iggy. If we can, then lets do it and keep taking our best shot with high lottery picks. If not, then lets keep our young core together and maybe add some complimentary pieces to help them compete. Either way it's a good conversation to have.

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TruePhan reply to speeke on Dec 14 at 13:49
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I'll ask you again? Who is their superstar? I didn't ask who was an amazing power forward. Why is Tim Duncan a superstar? Because he was the #1 overall draft pick? I know how great he is but that's not what I asked. Also, Manu's not a superstar, and PER is a bullshit stat. Lou Williams is one of the most inefficient players I've ever seen and yet he tends to have a high PER. So did Paul Pierce even though he's a shotjacker. I'm sure Rondo does too. That doesn't make any of them superstars or players I want on my team.

I'm on this site because the majority of the people who write posts for it don't only rely on stats. They break down the game and mention the things that matter. I first came across this site when Googling Iguodala to see where he was rumored to be going next and came across Brian's article that showed what Iguodala really does. Considering how rare it is to find somebody who "gets it" about Iguodala, I started reading this blog more often.


He actually doesn't have a point. He just keeps contradicting himself every time he responds to somebody so that he's "always right". Every time you address one thing, he throws out another cliche "Philly.com" catch-phrase. I already broke it down for him completely, about every "point" he tried to make.

Personally, I think trading Iguodala before there's anybody to replace him is really just not smart. Players like him really do not come along very often. Unless Thad or Evan can be what Iguodala is now, I'm not trading him. Also, there are absolutely no guarantees in the draft. Favors was our best bet and until another big man like him comes around, I'm not okay with trading off a team that is close to bank on some rookie who might fulfill his potential.

I do agree with you that I'd much rather have a young, on the rise big man than Camby though.

How is trading expiring contracts for Marcus Camby considered going all in? I'm talking about trading for a veteran who fills a need and has a contract that lines up with our cap space outlook (he comes off the books when Nocioni comes off the books, and we won't have significant cap space until then whether or not we make the trade).

This team is young, they're playing very well, and losing games because they're playing youth and don't have experience in close games. Downgrade the roster and they'll basically get a bunch of experience in how to handle themselves in garbage time.

And if you want an indication of how the young guys on the team view iguodala, check out some of the videos Tom Moore has been posting. Every one of them looks up to Iguodala, every one talks about how much what he does and says matters to them, but that wasn't even the point of me saying ripping out the heart of the team, and I think you know it. My point was that they'd be taking away the team's best player, and big part of the reason why they're able to cover for a handful of lesser defenders.

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johnrosz reply to Tray on Dec 13 at 18:25
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its not like Speights is ever going to be a valuable piece though. I don't see the team drafting any higher than the 12-14 range as currently constructed, and at that point, I think its mostly a crap shoot anyway.

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mo_speezy on Dec 13 at 18:10
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I know his contract is atrocious, but in a fantasy world where that type of shit doesn't matter:

Lou + Speights for Verajao

on the court, he probably fits the bill. I wouldn't take that contract on, though. I think Camby's a better player too.

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 18:12
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What do you think of Tyrus Thomas?

I wrote a post about defensive plays that change possession and, in the sixers case, spark the fast break, a while back, and Thomas was like the king of those plays. I just think he's too erratic to warrant that contract at this point, though.

Yeah, here's the post.

I wrote before Thomas signed, I think.

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 18:42
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I don't think his contract is bad under this CBA. If the Sixers were going to try and improve their roster I would rather them take a chance on a young player like Tyrus Thomas with a long contract. I don't mind putting money to the pay roll that far down the line if it's reasonable like I think Tyrus who i think would still contribute 4 years from now.

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mo_speezy reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 18:59
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Whoops, Varejao*

Yeah, I think the contract is a deal-breaker. I guess if he had a more friendly contract, he probably couldn't be had for that package from the Sixers.

CBA question - would the lock-out happen after the draft, as it did in 98?

After the draft. The CBA expires June 30th, the day before free agency begins.

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 20:10
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How is the 2012 draft order determined if there is no 2011-2012 NBA season?

Same as the previous year

(unless they change that in the new CBA).

Would they do the lottery again for the next season? they'd have to, right?

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Court_visioN on Dec 13 at 20:34
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Here's the difference between Brian's proposed trade and a "trading away our young guys for an all-in attempt".

Marcus Camby is NOT an all-in attempt to win, that's why it is a unique case and one that I personally think the organization should definitely look into if it is offered. In the proposed deal the Sixers would give up two expiring contracts in Kapono and Songaila, along with a young "asset" to acquire an old veteran in Camby and a swingman in Rudy Fernandez.

A team in the NBA cannot continue to stockpile young talent forever, that gets you nowhere unless you're hitting home runs in the draft (Oklahoma City, for example). The Sixers can take a look at this season and make the call: Marreese Speights is not part of this team's future. If that's the case, then this trade makes sense.

The Sixers are not going to have significant cap space until Iguodala/Brand is off the books, so the expiring contracts are not really assets for this team either.

I was just going over some of the audio from last night, and thought Brian would have appreciated this from Collins.

"We call it "shots in the yard". Not in the paint, we call that our house, and behind the three point line we want to defend. We want teams to play in the yard against us, shoot long two's. If we can make them take long two's, then we think we have a chance to defend."

Yeah, I saw him describe defense that way earlier in the season. Great way to look at it.

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johnrosz reply to Derek Bodner on Dec 13 at 22:02
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hey derek, saw that Memphis is shopping Thabeet hard. Is he even worth looking at at this point? Or is the consensus that he really just doesn't have the ability to pan out? Ideally he would be what the Sixers need at the 5, just don't know how plausible it is for him to reach his any of the potential at this point

Thabeet clearly has the physical tools to be a rebounder and shotblocker at this level, so from that perspective he's worth the risk. On the other hand, at 5 million per, that's expensive for what right now is a guy who (rightfully so) is buried on the bench.

He's going to take a lot of work just to be able to keep himself of foul trouble to be on the court. If you trade for him, it's to hope he becomes something in 1-2 years, not to count on him now.

I wouldn't hate going after him (if they give up little beyond expirings), but I'm not exactly driving the bandwagon, either.

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johnrosz reply to Derek Bodner on Dec 13 at 22:34
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If you could have him for Songaila and Speights or something, I think I'd be on board with that.

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speeke reply to johnrosz on Dec 14 at 8:04
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definately worth a shot

I'd be shopping Thad all day.

A trade like this would make me extremely happy.

Thad and for a young stud and the ability to dump Nocioni for expirings.

I can only wish I guess.

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johnrosz reply to Joe on Dec 13 at 22:38
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wow that's an awful trade IMO. Think Fields is far from a "young stud"

It's not awful, Fields seems to know how to rebound (thad doesn't) and the sixers don't give up much. Smith and Azubike are just dead weight one year deals according to the trade checked.

It's not a camby upgrade like brian worked out but it's not 'god awful' since I'd rather someone else over pay thad

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johnrosz reply to GoSixers on Dec 13 at 23:28
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Thad is rebounding at a better percentage defensively than Elton. Also, I didn't say it was god awful, just awful

It's not a ton ventured. Thad's a big gamble in my mind right now. If he plays like this the entire season, then I think he's a great fit off the bench and worthy of a deal like the one Lou signed. But if he plays like this the rest of the season, there's going to be a team out there who will probably overpay and/or the sixers will match/overpay to keep him.

I'm so torn on this. When I look it from the overpay angle, I do want him moved. But there's this part of me that loves the way he's been playing and would like to see how this season plays out. I'm not sure if you're selling low right now, or selling high, or saving yourself from a big mistake or what?

I do know I'm not sold on Fields. Still don't trust those numbers in that system, and I actually think he'd be a pretty awful fit on the perimeter with Jrue, Turner and Iguodala.

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johnrosz reply to Brian on Dec 13 at 23:32
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I don't understand everyones reluctance to get on the Thad bandwagon. His progression looks steady as long as you take out the Eddie Jordan year

He regressed almost across the board from this first to second year, then did it again from his second to third year. It wasn't just eddie jordan, though he certainly didn't help.

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johnrosz reply to Brian on Dec 14 at 1:44
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I thought he was near the top of his class for 2nd year players. He regressed in some areas but he was doing the same things he did for the team his rookie year. Now he seems to have gotten back to that style of play, after being totally lost last year

Nope. It was a clear drop from rook to soph, then he fell off a cliff from soph to junior. take a look at the stats.

congrats on Cliff Lee, Phils fans. odds on favorites for the series this year, now.

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Jason reply to Brian on Dec 14 at 0:13
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Ship ship.

How about Chris Kaman? His contract has one more year left and he has played with Elton Brand before..

With the signing of Cliff Lee for the Phils, could Mello change his stance on coming to join him in Philadelphia? City of Winners! Phils, Flyers, Eagles and your Seventy Sixers!

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speeke reply to sfw on Dec 14 at 8:06
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maybe he'll even sign for less money and years like Clifton did

Black players don't take less money to play in racially segregated Philadelphia. Ryan Howard didn't take a discount to play here and I can't see Michael Vick doing it either. Good luck seeing a black face in Citizens Bank Park that isn't selling peanuts or playing on the field.

Yesssssirrr welcome back home Lee I like thad and think that would be a horrible trade.


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