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Not to get anyone mad, because I know this was a frustrating game. I know I was frustrated right after. It just seems interesting that some people were quick to jump on the "Yeah, maybe they aren't that good" bandwagon after the shellacking yesterday. Serious question-

Did anyone think this game was a fluke? I thought the Sixers played very poor offense for three quarters of the game. They got a piss poor effort from two of their starters. Another starter had a really tough shooting game, which people will let him know about. Their PG could have taken better advantage of his mismatch. And yet they lost by 4 (in a game that really was closer) to a team with the best record in the league playing on the road? It just seems like they have the ability to lock a lot of teams down right now. Wondering what others think, because this is happening a lot not to even think about it.

Rich, I thought much the same thing in watching the game live. I do think the defense wouldn't have been as effective if the Celtics had had Rondo. But the Sixers' defensive stats (Tuesday night notwithstanding) aren't a fluke by any means, almost 40% of the way into the year. What remains to be seen is if they have enough offense to pull out some of these games in which their defense has given them a chance. (p.s. Impressive middle-of-the-night post, by the way.)

New nickname for Evan Turner is BAMBI. The reason is because Evan has a deer in the headlights look whenever he's on the floor...

dwhite reply to jakey on Dec 23 at 9:45

Haha. When I was at the Sixers Celtics game at Wells Fargo, the die hards around me christened him "Evan Turnover".

Brian I'm with you on the Iguodala bashing.
there will always be an excuse

I hope no one is spinning the moral victory angle. They had a chance to win, as always, and they proved that they still can't do it against teams who actually know what they're doing.

EB has become our Andre Miller.
he got shut down in the Chicago game; look how bad we sucked.

deepsixersuede on Dec 23 at 7:57

I am holding out hope that Turner is chasing Allen next year and making him work down the other end defensively and Thorn, without moving Iggy, gets a frontcourt player with our other pieces. As Rich said, we have to build on these "moral victories" because we are right there with top team, after top team.

Is Elton slowly becoming our goto guy and would he of gotten the ball again if he didn't foul out? Our coach is trying to find that guy and Iggy remains the best option, but he isn't to blame for that.

brett waller on Dec 23 at 8:16

please wit the iggy talk! he is not the answer. he has no leadership ability which is desprately needed on this team. as a leader you can not tell your young team that after winning 8 out of 11 and then getting embarressed by 45 points that the wins you obtained were a fluke and the loss was the real you. thats the same as mcnabb saying "we showed our youth". you can put up all the stats you want about iggy. at the end of the day attitude determines altitude and his is poor. thats why as talented as this team is we cant close games in the clutch! IGGY MUST GO!!!!

Thing is, in a close game like this the Sixers needed Iguodala's offense just as much, or more, than his defense. There were long periods in the third and fourth periods that Pierce was on the bench that he gave you nothing, and I mean NOTHING, in the points column.

He didn't have a great offensive game in the first meeting with the Celtics but came up clutch late in the fourth. It didn't pan out that way last night.

"Yeah, maybe they aren't that good"

You think they are good?

The Sixers are back to where they were before Eddie Jordan. They are once again a competitive but mediocre team on the wrong side of the tracks. The divide between the haves and the have nots in the NBA is only growing wider. Its mostly defined by having stars. Iguodala is a very good player, but overall the Sixers lack in that department.

Look at the standings. Every team with big time star(s) is roughly .500 or better. So IMO the Sixers ceiling is to be like they were 2 years ago, or the Bucks/Bobcats of last year. The weak team overachieving for the right to be playoff fodder.

I praise the teams competitiveness on most nights. I acknowledge their youth. But I don't see these young players as future stars. Some, like Jrue and Turner could make it to Iguodala level. Others might turn into nice bit pieces while others are on their way to ignominious careers.

Last night highlights why the "good" teams should make a run at Iguodala. He would be really valuable given his ability to lock up top level wings. But on the Sixers is just part of a lesser whole. A team that best case starts pulling out these wins against the big boys- like they did quite often during runs 2 and 3 seasons ago. But that did not make them a "good team" then- and they are no closer to being a good team now.

Eveything could click and they all of the sudden could morph into a 45 win playoff team in the next 1-2 years. But they would still lack the star power to be a legit team like the better half. So if I'm disappointed its not because of the Bulls game. Its because we are more than a week past Dec 15th and I'm sitting on pins and needles waiting for Thiorn to show they have a plan in place to get the stars needed to win in the NBA.

tk76 reply to tk76 on Dec 23 at 9:38

Most people have acknwledged that this year is all about Jrue and Turner. Put me in that camp. For the current roster to have hope those two need to exceed our expectations. I'd rather see those two have great games in tight losses than wins where Jrue and Turner combine to play less than 50 minutes. In fact several of the wins in last weeks have been despite lackluster play by Jrue and no play by Turner.

I do enjoy watching the Sixers win by any means. But there is a big picture and I don't think anyone is "overreacting" if they feel this teams long term outlook is rather bleak.

I'd rather see those two have great games in tight losses than wins where Jrue and Turner combine to play less than 50 minutes.

I don't think this is the realistic question at this point. The question is whether you'd rather see Jrue and Turner play a lot and have mediocre-to-poor games in a (not-so-tight) loss vs. not enough time in a win.

At this point, I'd rate the probability of their both having great games in the same game as P(Jrue)*P(Turner)~0.4*0.05=0.02 or 2 percent, and that's being generous to both Jrue and Turner. So if these percentages are approximately correct, they might both have great games simultaneously in one game out of the remaining 50.

The weak team overachieving for the right to be playoff fodder.

And then the question is what you define as a "good" team and what is "playoff fodder." For large stretches of last night, I saw the Sixers impose their will on the Celtics defensively (again, it might have been different had Rondo played), a Celtics team that has done what it wanted for the most part against other teams in its current 14-game winning streak. And I would say that strong defense is the foundation of a "good" team. So I don't agree that their ceiling is playoff fodder.

Now, as I've said before, if they were losing big to the elite teams (as in the Bulls game) and winning closely vs. the rest of the teams, I'd be more inclined to agree that maximizing wins is pointless. But it's been just the opposite for the most part (losing closely, winning big), and the fairest assessment of the Bulls game is that it was an aberration. Again, the rest of the trip will tell a lot, and I think it will become clearer what the more reasonable course of action should be.

One last thought: watching Turner in the Bulls game made me think that it may be doing him more harm than good just throwing him out there to play, without a plan to maximize his skills. Kind of like Domonic Brown being sent home from winter ball. That's why I was asking last week (Rich, I think) what the best designed play for him might be. Because "go post up" or "isolate and try to beat your man" don't seem to work very often ...

The only time Turner seems to feel comfortable, to me, is in a sort of broken play situation with the ball in his hands. Loose ball he chases down, there's no thought. He just goes right to the hoop. When he grabs a defensive board and immediately takes the ball up the floor, he's comfortable. He knows what he's doing.

When he gets the ball in the half court, it's like he has no idea what he's doing. Maybe afraid to make mistakes. Maybe intimidated by the size/speed of the defenders. Maybe confused by his role in the offense. Maybe overmatched. I have no idea, but he doesn't look the least bit comfortable unless it's a situation where there's no play called and he has the ball.

Wish I knew what the answer was, because you can't just give him the keys to the team and tell him to dominate the ball. He's clearly going to kill you if you do that right now.

It's a tough, tough situation. The D-League idea might make some sense, if they could send a coach down there with him. But they don't have an affiliate and I doubt they'd do it anyway.

tk76 reply to Statman on Dec 23 at 11:09

Statman, some responses:

Q: "The question is whether you'd rather see Jrue and Turner play a lot and have mediocre-to-poor games in a (not-so-tight) loss vs. not enough time in a win."

-I'd rather play them heavy minutes and lose. That would not be tanking- but losing based on the talents of your young, future core players. This team will only be as good as those two become. And Turner will not improve without PT. And if they lose a bunch and get a top 6 pick then all the better for their long term success.

Q: "the question is what you define as a "good" team and what is "playoff fodder.""

-As I said above, "good teams" are ones led by legit stars. The rest are fodder. I base this on looking at 50 win and top 4 playoff finishers over the last 30+ years. The closest the Sixers have to a star is Iguodala. And he is miscast. he can't be a "star" in his current role on this team. he could be a "star" on a team that could use him properly.

Q: "And I would say that strong defense is the foundation of a "good" team. So I don't agree that their ceiling is playoff fodder."

-I strongly disagree. Like I posted above, this 8-3 run is much like their previous fools gold ruins on 2 and 3 seasons ago. It is based on out working, out hustling and out coaching the opponent. That is exactly what the Bobcats and Bucks did last year. And now they have fallen back to earth. Exactly what the Sixers did making the playoffs 2 and 3 years ago. Did any o those teams have a high ceiling? IMO the absolute ceiling for those types of teams is stealing a 1st round playoff series. And that is pie in the sky.

Without the firepower of stars you have a low ceiling. How can you argue otherwise?

Honest question: Does Boston have a star anymore?

tk76 reply to Brian on Dec 23 at 11:17

They are now in the "Detroit" mold. Has been vet stars know how to win. That is the case with "the big 3" and Rondo is at the level of having a 4th "complementary star."

So Pierce and Rondo are at Iguodala's level. Garnett and Allen are premier role players (on defense or offense respectively.) Very much like a Billups, Wallace, Wallace, Rip, Prince type line-up- although not sure who their 5th good player is...

Without the firepower of stars you have a low ceiling. How can you argue otherwise?

Maybe I'm misinterpreting what you are defining as a "star." It sounds to me (correct me if I'm wrong) that you're defining "star" as "big time scorer." Did you/do you consider Jason Kidd, Chauncey Billups, Steve Nash, and Deron Williams stars? Because they led their teams to about a dozen conference finals appearances between them. And for the most part, none of them would have been labeled stars (at least it would have been debatable) before their teams had their greatest successes.

The teams that transcend the perceived "star" level of their leading scorer are the ones that have elite point guards who raise the level of the entire team. Jrue isn't close to that level yet, but I wouldn't rule out the possibility that he could ever get to that level.

tk76 reply to Statman on Dec 23 at 12:11

Yes, Deron and Kidd are stars. At their peak they are/were both top 10 NBA players. Iguodala is not in top 10 conversation.

Billups was more at Iguodala's level, but teamed with 4 other similar borderline stars in Detroit, and next to a bona-fide star in Denver. Its fine to criticise guys like Melo and Amare as "flawed" stars (which they are.) But look at their records. even a flawed star leads to more team success then none at all.

Iguodala could find similar success if he had teammates like Billups had. Call him what you will: very good player, complementary star, 2nd level star, elite role player, glue guy... It boils down to the fact that a single player of Iguodala's caliber is neither the problem or the answer. he is a good piece to have along with other stars.

But look at their records. even a flawed star leads to more team success then none at all.

Well, Carmelo has won two playoff series his whole career and none without Billups. Likewise, Amare has won zero playoff series without Nash. We'll see if that changes this year with the Knicks.

The big-time scorer is no guarantee of team success; just look at McGrady.

I did this analysis over the summer and found that superstars are necessary (Pistons teams excepted) but not sufficient for getting to the conference finals.

tk76 reply to Statman on Dec 23 at 12:34

Well that makes sense, doesn't it. There are probably 20 stars and only 4 teams make the conference finals.

We were discussing 2 years ago how you roughly need either:

-a top 5 player + good supporting cast
-2 top 15 players plus a solid cast
-3 top 35 players
-4 top 50 players

Neither Carmello or Amare are close to top 5, but are likely top 20. My point was having even one of them makes you a winner... not a contender.

Here's a question for you all. Turner is obviously a hot point of topic, because, he along with Jrue are our most prized young talents.

Instead of what you do NOT see in him, how would you like for Turner to define his career. What role or skillset would you like him to define based on the flashes of talent or whatever you call it, that he's shown.

Personally, I'd like to see him become an elbow threat like Paul Pierce. Takes both big and small 3's to the hole or step back jumpers them to death.

Whatcha think? Does that negate his other talents to have iso sets for him in the half court, or should he distribute?

I think that kind of create your own shot offense a la Pierce is what Turner will eventually excel at. He's got a pretty quick release for how high he elevates on his shot, and once his craftiness gets more refined on the NBA level he'll have the room he needs to get comfortable, clean looks. I've already seen glimpses of that a few times this season.

What I'd really like right now is for Collins to pony up and play the kid 25 plus minutes a game already. Another aspect of his game I think will put him a cut above the rest and help the team right now is his defense. He's got length, speed and I think has the natural ability to really pester smaller guys at his position, kind of like the Jrue we saw last year. I'm still high on the idea of all that size in the frontcourt really upsetting opponents and getting them off their rhythm.

tk76 reply to dwhite on Dec 23 at 10:26

I agree with you guys. But he will have to establish a legit jumper before he can really take advantage of his crafty skills.

When was the last time the Sixer were not out of it by Christmas? Its beyond my brief memory.

Out of what? Home court in the East? It's been a long time. Out of playoff contention? Probably just last season. They're 1 game out right now.

tk76 reply to Brian on Dec 23 at 10:46

Fair enough.

I mean more of a sense that they are playing for this season. Not being a year away from being a year away. haven't they come out the gate slowly for many years in a row now- to where the fans are either turned off or start talking about "the future."

Definitely every Fall since the year of the AI trade.

The year they signed Brand I think it was more anger by this point. When did he dislocate his shoulder, early December?

How about 02-03? They started 15-5, were 18-10 on Christmas, had another 20-5 run later in the season, finished two games out of the #1 seed in the East, and should have won five of the six games vs. the Pistons in the conference semis.

tk76 reply to tk76 on Dec 23 at 10:55

I guess it ihas not be so terrible. But the team has been slow out of the gates every year since 2003. But they also have not been a really good team for about as long.

Record by Christmas:

2010: 11-18
2009: 6-18
2008: 12-16
2007: 11-16
2006: 7-19
2005: 13-14
2004: 11-13
2003: 14-14
2002: 18-10

tk76 reply to tk76 on Dec 23 at 10:58

Sorry, last year they were 7-21.

"One last thought: watching Turner in the Bulls game made me think that it may be doing him more harm than good just throwing him out there to play, without a plan to maximize his skills."

Quote from Statman above;

This is where I think the major problem lies with Turner. The only way to maximize his skills (if that's even possible, highly debateable at this point) is to give him the ball and let him run point. But you would have to run plays where he was the primary penetrator/creator to break down the defense, and I'm just not sure from what we've seen so far that he is even capable of beating his man into the paint therefore breaking down the defense. Along with, if Jrue is going to be on this team and the probing prowess he displays sometimes, there's no way you can play him over Jrue in that role. This isn't even considering the occasions where Turner has had the ball attempting to initiate from the top of the key and the defenders were all over him, either causing a near turnover or him to pick up his dribble.

I theorize with Brian here, in that he seems to be intimidated by the size but moreso the speed of the defenders and just realizes he's overmatched.

In summation, there may not be a formidable plan to maximize his skills at this level. To me, I'm just not sure he could succeed as a primary ball handler/facilitator/creator (his best role in college), as the point guard's on this level are just too quick for him to get by. In addition, their pesky defense on him would unleash his propensity for turnovers (which he had trouble with on the college level). He obviously doesn't show any of the makings of being even an average shooting guard with what is needed/required at that position. I don't think it should even be in consideration to try him at small forward because of the difficulty of that position on both ends of the floor. He would surely be overmatched. He's just not made up for it considering his skillsets. A conundrum it is, indeed.

During the times when Meeks is missing shots, turning the ball over, and loosing his man constantly, wouldn't it make more sense for the coach to go with Turner who at least gives you better defense and rebounding than Meeks does? I wonder what kind of lesson Collins is trying to teach Turner with that? Maybe become a better shooter and the other parts of the game don't matter as much? I don't know, but you want to talk about "overmatched", that's exactly what Meeks was last night and Collins kept going with him. I realize Collins doesn't like Turner, which is fine, but he can't tell us he was sticking with Meeks for his defense. That's just mindless, we all saw the game, Meeks killed the team.

Yeah, Meeks was terrible last night, and not just on defense or bad shooting. He was turning the ball over and just driving wildly. There was no reason for him to play 30+ minutes.

great point Brian.
Meeks plays 31 minutes and piles up zeroes basically in all categories except turnovers (3). Lou plays 22 minutes and scores 12 on nearly 60 % shooting, with even some decent D, in a low scoring game.
Someone to explain me this (and please don't say Meeks remained in for defensive purposes or to "keep the defense honest", "stretch the floor" etc)
Bad call by Collins defintely

Lou also had 4 turnovers.

I wasn't saying that the future was really bright, and if you believe that it is not overreacting. As far as this season goes (which I thought I made pretty clear), there might be something. People were overreacting to the 40 point loss IMO.

I too feel that Turner should play at least 20-plus minutes and wish he was being developed, but he hasn't shown much and Collins unfortunately isn't playing him. My point is that this team is playing well right now and it almost seems it's not by mistake. I'm not like Eddies' Heady's or someone who wants to win at all costs now or whatever, but I am noticing how good their defense is.

If the season is about Jrue and Turner, then Turner has made it very difficult to succeed that way. I think Collins' handling of Turner has been bad, but understand that he has been very underwhelming. I know that there is an NBA player in there somewhere, but recently he hasn't shown an ounce of it. Personally, I still like a shooter with the starting lineup, but Turner, should come in and play a quarter(Half with Jrue, half with Lou). Literally though, he's playing all young guys with the exception of Nocioni (and Brand, who should play) and they are playing well.

As for the young core, there really isn't one right now. Jrue is the only piece I'm confident in moving forward. Iguodala is great but his prime is right now. Hopefully Turner starts to give us something. Thad is good in his spot if he stays there, I don't want Lou here, Hawes is not good, and Nocioni/Brand are the only vets they are competitve with. The future certainly isn't certain.

I think this is starting to be much different then the last 2 years when you were winning on Miller/Thad playing the 4/Sammy's back. This team plays much more slug it out, halfcourt defense. These guys, even if they aren't "star-level" (obviously, some of them stink) are all young. This trip will tell a lot, but it's easy to see what Collins could do with an athletic big, and a good three point shooter/defender with this roster.

tk76 reply to Rich on Dec 23 at 14:10

I agree with your take for the most part.

Collins is doing a great job overall as a coach. And trying to develop Turner when he hurts you on the floor is a big challenge. Especially when this team needs to do everything right just to be competitive.

The bigger issue has and continues to be the front office. Thorn is here and we need to see a new direction. Some targeted plan to developing an elite team- no matter how long the horizon.

Rich reply to tk76 on Dec 23 at 16:21

Yeah Im just letting this year distract me until they blow the team up. Honestly though developing Turner should be a no-brainer with how bad Nocioni and Meeks have been.

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