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The Bigs Rotation

A big factor has been Hawes' production as a center. Brand isn't as good on offense, but his defense has been just as good if not better than last year.

I think it's a luxury that the Sixers have Hawes who can pass and shoot. We can get away with playing him big minutes because good offensive centers like Bogut and Hibbert are rare.

With Al Horford out the only good offensive centers on a contending team in the East is Roy Hibbert and Dwight Howard. And if Howard gets traded to Golden State or LA, then the Sixers will be in even better shape.

Sharone Wright reply to Dwight on Jan 17 at 8:40

Totally agree. I am dumbfounded by Hawes' turnaround, and I am hoping the other shoe doesn't drop with this guy. I was his one of his biggest detractors last year.

Regarding the increased Hawes/Thad time playing together as bigs, I think it is mainly the defensive end. Both guys have made a significant improvement on defense (and rebounding) this year. If you played them together last year, you would not have stopped anybody, and probably also gotten killed on the glass.

Stan reply to Dwight on Jan 17 at 9:54

Defensive centers are also a concern. Guys like Joakhim Noah, Tyson Chandler and Joel Anthony will out rebound Hawes and get easy points on dunks and put backs.

tk76 reply to Stan on Jan 17 at 10:31

So far their plus rebounders at guard and SF have compensated for any rebounding issues up front. They do give up some O boards but seem to gather every tipped ball on the d boards.

As a team, they're a little below where you'd like to be on the defensive glass (73.5%), but I'm not sure it's really a worrisome problem at that level. Rebounding is the only area they're losing in terms of four factors (they only grab 22.6% of offensive boards as well). They're even going to the line more than their opponents, although they don't go to the line a whole lot at all.

Still early, but again this looks like it points to more of MVP Spencer than anything else, no?

...no thoughts about the new and improved game experience Brian?

Here's my latest from SB Nation Philly on the key to the Sixers great defense and, more importantly, the key to their improvement from last season to this season.

ojr107 reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 11:27

Great article Brian. I don't have any statistics to back this up, but to my eyes Turner's defense is also much improved this year.

Yup, those three guys have been awesome defensively. It's funny, the numbers are backing up the assumption we've been making for years (that Lou's defense is pitiful) where that really wasn't the case in the past.

Great article. Having a second player bring it every night on the defensive end has made the difference between an above-average defensive team and an elite one. Another point is that the perimeter defenders have covered for the below-average post defenders by collapsing into the paint when the ball enters the post and recovering quickly if the ball gets passed back out.

Thad has been great defending on the perimeter so far, but he's struggled with post defense. I wonder if, going forward, teams will focus more on that when he's in the game. Thankfully, not all teams have backup PFs who can do damage from the post.

Sean K reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 14:43

Enjoyed the article. I'm glad to see the advanced defensive stats for Jrue supporting the old 'eye test' that he's been a more consistent defender this year. If he could cut out the turnovers and keep up the strong outside shooting, we'll really have something this season.

If you needed further confirmation the GMs in this league aren't the brightest bunch, check this out.

Dwight reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 15:29

Well we theoretically know more about the 76ers than say R.C. Buford of the San Antonio Spurs. The GM's don't spend every day watching all of the games, so we've spent more time watching and analyzing the Sixers than they have. So it would make sense that we know more.

Eh, they see all the players they can vote for the same amount.


You think cause you watch games on tv (or at the stadium) you can know more about any team in the NBA than a GM who has access to information and data yo ucouldn't possibly hope to afford, not to mention scouts whose full time job it is to evaluate teams...seroiusly - just utterly and completely wrong.

Any GM in the NBA has access to more information about the sixers than anyone here (except maybe derek cause he gets super duper synergy sports access and hogs it all for himself :) )

Access to and intimate knowledge of are two different things. For some reason, I don't think Otis Smith spends a lot of time on informed player analysis.

Well he could if he wanted to though - but an informed intelligent gm (like say RC Buford was the example used) does now how to use the available information to him and his scouts to intelligent scout a team - and they just have more data (money and time as well) to do such things...it's an ignored but important part of the NBA...hell bill belichek can't win a super bowl if he can't cheat :)

Seriously though - i've seen (inadvertently) some of that high level synergy sports stuff - damn - we get so little access :)

Dwight reply to GoSixers on Jan 17 at 16:06

It isn't all about the data. Watching the games is much more important than knowing the data. If we were in the same division as the Spurs, maybe Buford would know more. But since he doesn't watch any Sixers games that makes it much more difficult for him to know about the team.

Watching the games on TV is much different than watching the film Mr Marzano - and I'm not sure why you think RC Buford knows less about the sixers than you do - in one day he could know more than you do - and if he was thinking about doing a trade with the sixers he'd understand the team and roster and player he was targeting much more deeply and fast than you could.

Whether or not at this moment he knows more is irrelevant to me - he could know more if he wanted to - and you are of the delusion that by watching games on tv that's enough to know a team inside and out - your eye is incapable of observing all 5 players on every play

Dwight reply to GoSixers on Jan 17 at 16:42

If I'm not mistaken, an NBA GM will assign scouts for other teams. It's not RC Buford who would know more than me, it would be the scout.

Since the GM's are the one's who are being interviewed, that would explain why they would make erroneous picks like the Celtics winning the Atlantic.

Ugh. Alright, let's drop this. If Buford was going to trade for someone, he'd probably have a report put together by a scout who watched countless hours of tape and crunched a bunch of numbers. The scouts and GMs have access to a lot more stuff than we do, including isolated video of the player, stuff we don't see on TV (in certain arenas they have cameras on every player, every play).

Now, I don't think Buford, or any GM, has done extensive research into every player. In fact, I think it's a safe bet that you and I have seen more of Iguodala's play than any GM in the league, but they do have the access if they ever needed to make an informed decision.

You guys are both just arguing semantics and it's tiresome. There's plenty of meaningful stuff to talk about.

Dwight reply to Dwight on Jan 17 at 16:55

I was just explaining why a GM would make a dumb answer on that GM interview.

When was the GM Survey taken? Before the year? How can 64 percent possibly think that Boston is going to win the division? Before the year, that would be OK, but now that's ridiculous.

Here's the most absurd thing. Apparently Thorn didn't even vote for Iguodala as the best perimeter defender.

zami reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 15:26

Yeah, I don't get how AI didn't get any vote, but as for Thorn then "General managers were not permitted to vote for their own team or personnel".

Ah, missed that. Gracias.

They're usually taken before the season starts...they aren't released right away

I think voting started on Christmas, but took some time to come in. At least that's my guess.

And I'm also guessing that much like the college football coaches poll - some GM's don't even bother to fill out their own ballots - or just fill em out - it's one of the more ridiculous exercises leagues do in my opinion.

The only more ridiculous exercise is when the players vote on things like this - usually demonstrating that while they might be very good at playing their game - they don't usually understand the meta portions of it :)

Brian, quick question for you. Why doesn't the defensive rating for our players on Basketball Reference match up with Basketball Value?


Is it because one is adjusted and one is not?

I believe possessions are formulaic on basketball-reference.com, but derived from play-by-play by basketballvalue.com. The play-by-play stats should be more accurate.

A couple games worth watching tonight: Nuggets @ Bucks, mainly because the Sixers play the Nugs tomorrow night. And then I really want to see the Jazz vs. Clips.

Is Chris Paul playing tonight?

(Comedy moment of the day by the way - for those who don't like ESPN -

11:34 am text from ESPN that the colts announce jim caldwell has been retained

11:52 am text from ESPN that the colts have fired jim caldwell

The retained text indicated his records in all 3 seasons - two of them winning records - the firing text only indicated the 2-14 record)

Just made me laugh

Not sure if CP3 is playing, I just feel a need to watch the Jazz to figure out how they're doing this.

Tray reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 18:01

Point differential would say they're doing it with smoke and mirrors - their pythag says they should be .500 - but that's only because their early losses were blowouts. Their recent wins have been by solid, though not huge, margins. It appears they're doing it with defense - mostly defense on the shot and a really good turnover differential. Their rebounding's mediocre, some big nights on the boards from Al and Millsap notwithstanding. Millsap, Miles and Watson are the only regulars with really good defensive plus-minus numbers. Bell and Favors, surprisingly, are the two regulars with the worst defensive plus-minus numbers.

There are some who believe the Jazz might be moving Millsap sometime before the end of the season - Brians Dwight pipedream aside, I wouldn't mind for the right price

Tray reply to GoSixers on Jan 17 at 18:11

I'd be really skittish about making any trades while we're this hot, because I still think we're a .550 team and that we might go and trade the future away because right now we appear - falsely - to be just a piece or so away from contending.

And yet did i say give away the farm? I wouldn't give much up for him to get him if Utah is looking to get rid of him (ESPN Trade machine isn't exactly up to snuff right now - it's being adjusted) - i'm thinking spare parts - nocioni, lou, a pick in the 2012 draft that's top 20 protected or something...if utah is motivated to sell him because of a youth movement - a good gm can take advantage...i'm not really sure i said anything about mortgaging the future but the sixers have a GAPING hole in the front court that isn't going to be fixed by development of anyone on the roster, and in the 20s it's unlikely you get a better talent than millsap

I'd even let them have lou or meeks if they wanted him to get millsap

Only thing is that it kills the dwight howard pipedream

Tray reply to GoSixers on Jan 17 at 18:31

I didn't say anything about what you said. I just said I'm worried that we'll make a bad trade on account of how well we're playing. If Utah does trade Millsap, though, I imagine the best player in the deal will be a little better than Lou, or at least will play a different position than Lou. Utah has Alec Burks and he looks okay. Among guards who play 10 minutes or more, he's already 9th in the league in FTA per minute, and not just because he's a gunner - he's taking 2 foul shots per every 5 shots, which is really good. The utter lack of a three-point shot is a problem, but is perhaps fixable.

I think they need a PG and an SF. Turner would be a pretty good fit for them. I woulnd't trade Turner for Millsap, though.

Tray reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 18:39

Why not?

A few reasons, in no particular order:

(1) trading for Millsap would take a max contract off the table for the Sixers this summer. I'm not doing that unless Howard gets traded to one of his preferred destinations this season.

(2) It's a short-term move, in my eyes. His contract expires the same year as Brand's, so you aren't getting a long term replacement, or if that is your goal, then you can just sign him when Brand expires.

(3) In the short term, I think having Turner adds more to this team than having Millsap does. Millsap isn't big enough to play the five, so he'd just be thrown into the rotation at the four and we've already got two guys to play the four in Thad and Brand. Millsap would provide depth, but his minutes would cut into, or replace theirs. He'd probably be an upgrade (at least if he keeps playing at the level he's playing at so far this season), but the upgrade there isn't worth the downgrade at the 1,2,3.

(4) This team really needs Turner as currently constructed. Without him, you wind up with Lou and/or Meeks playing too many minutes on the perimeter, Lou handling the ball too much, and Nocioni as a regular part of the rotation.

(5) Turner's on his rookie contract, it's costly for a rookie contract since he was a #2 pick, but he's still under control for more seasons, and it would be really hard for him to get away, if the team still wants him.

(6) There's still a chance Turner develops into a better player, a player much better than what Millsap is now or will ever be. I wouldn't trade him for anything less than a better fit with an equally high ceiling, or a guy who makes a big impact on the team as currently constructed. I don't see Millsap as either of those things.

In my brain i was thinking utah just needed the roster space and would take nocioni's expiring deal and the 20th or so pick in the draft :)

What would we have to give up to move up enough in the draft to get a player that might help us make another step?

At draft time? Depends. The Wizards traded away Rubio or Steph Curry for Mike Miller and Randy Foye, but I'm not sure there will ever be that dumb of a team with a high draft pick again, that was once-in-a-lifetime idiocy.

Probably if someone has a high pick in this draft, they won't move it. The best chance is to make a deal now gambling on the pick you receive in return, but you'd have to either give up something of great value and/or take back a really bad asset. You could probably do a three-team trade where you take a guy like Marion off of Dallas, you send like Turner and Nocioni to a bad team and get the bad team's upcoming #1 pick. Something like that might work now, but then you'd have to cross your fingers for the lottery.

Oh, and btw. Marion is guy everyone should be keeping their eye on for the next 6 months or so. If Dallas can move him without taking any money back, they might be able to sign Dwight Howard and Deron Williams to play w/ Dirk. That's a big if, though. Marion is owed like $18.5M over the next two years and Dallas literally can't take a cent in return.

Lamar has a buy out - right?

Yeah, OK so I looked at the numbers again, and it breaks down like this:

If they amnesty Haywood, buy out Odom ($2.4M), find someone to take Marion (without taking back any salary at all), renounce their bird rights to Terry, Kidd, Brian Cardinal and Mahini, find someone to trade for Beaubois and Dominique Jones w/out taking any money back and cut Sean Williams, then they'd be at $26M for 2 players, plus cap holds for 10 roster spots that would put them somewhere around $35M committed. Two max contracts would run you right around $28M if you're talking just straight free agent signings, so subtract two of the cap holds and it's still REALLY tight. You can pretty much forget about doing a sign-and-trade for either Williams or Howard to max out their contracts, well, because they wouldn't have anyone left to trade, though I guess they could add in Marion/Beaubois/Jones in a trade, but Roddy doesn't make enough money for it to matter and I have no idea why anyone would take Marion back in such a deal.

Of course, if Cuban was willing to amnesty Dirk, then he could clear enough to get both of them pretty easily, or if Orlando wanted to take Dirk back in a sign-and-trade, which seems unlikely on both fronts.

Basically, it's going to be nearly impossible, but Cuban may be able to make it happen if he can find a sucker willing to take on Marion for nothing.

Stan reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 21:34

Maybe Cuban can convince Marion to retire. I doubt Marion would give up 18 million. I can't envision a scenario in which someone would give up an expiring contract for Marion.

Retiring doesn't give them cap room

When it comes to the draft, I'm looking for educated input (Where are you derek) on low teens power forwards - the sixers have got to figure that position out cause Elton Brand is getting old fast.

With the way other teams are playing, i could see the sixers drafting in the 20s even,

Dwight reply to emtmess on Jan 17 at 17:16

I think the only player worth moving up to get in the draft is Jared Sullinger. He's clearly the top power forward of the draft.

And I think the only player we could trade would be Evan Turner.

The question is whether it is worth getting rid of our small forward of the future in exchange for our power forward of the future.

I haven't paid any attention to college hoops or the draft, and hope I won't have to until June.

Dwight reply to Dwight on Jan 17 at 17:25

Not a big March Madness fan?

Nah, I was when I was a kid. I watch some games, but the allure completely disappeared for me when all the good players started being one and done. I kind of enjoy seeing the smaller schools who keep a team together for four years competing w/ the big programs, but ultimately it's just inferior basketball to me. I think they play better basketball in the WNBA and I wouldn't watch that either.

Stan reply to Dwight on Jan 17 at 17:29

Not a big fan of Anthony Davis or Andre Drummond?

Nah, I'd be following a little bit if the Sixers were contending for a top pick, but not w/ the Sixers playing well. I really don't care. I'll get some interest as the draft nears and the guys who might fall to the Sixers are a little more clear. Right now, I just don't care.

sixers open -6 vs denver

I want to see what happens w/ Denver tonight. Hopefully MIL keeps up their road/home bad/good play.

Maintaining my streak so far this season of going with my instinct (which is almost always wrong) i'm going with the nuggets +6 and whatever the under is

id take denver +6 also

Interesting note on Bismack's curious DNP-CD the other day from the Bobcats' Yahoo team report:

"Bismack Biyombo, the seventh overall pick, did not play for the first time in his rookie career against the Cavaliers. D.J. White is so completely out-producing Biyombo that there really aren’t minutes to throw Biyombo’s way."

I'm not sure that's right - neither is rebounding a ton, Bismack blocks way more shots - but White scores a little, and does so efficiently, while Bismack's an offensive zero.

I haven't seen much of him, it's tough to tell whether throwing him into the water is the best way to teach him to swim. If this is a case of the Bobcats thinking White gives them a better chance to win, then I think that's kind of silly. They're a shit team.

Tray reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 19:29

Yeah, it seems foolish unless too much playing time is going to destroy his confidence in himself as a player because he's so bad right now. Which isn't the case. Actually I'm watching him now and he looks okay, 4 boards in a few minutes. Though he just got called for traveling.

I think they should probably just avoid him on the offensive end. Have him run around setting screens and then crash the offensive glass. bring him along slowly at that end instead of giving him the ball and expecting him to do something with it from a set position.

Spencer for hire on Jan 17 at 19:25

The new C.E.O. of the team was on the radio late last night saying the sixers had their best ticket selling month in years and he expected a few sellouts in February.

Dude, this guy reminds me more of PT Barnum

I wish he would just come out and say it - instead of dancing around it 'we won't spend money on the roster until attendance comes up'

Johnnylaptop reply to GoSixers on Jan 17 at 19:58

I was thinking the same thing.

Biyombo just threw one down on a pick-and-roll, then out-jumped Dwight to break up an alley oop. That ball was up there, too. I think they might've taken him out of the game, too. Wait, no timeout.

Shit, just watched it again, he got up there w/ two hands and knocked the ball over the backboard, was fronting Howard and read it well. Nice play.

Blocked Ryan Anderson at the conclusion of that play, may have been a foul.

Dunk in transition after chasing Redick off the three-point line on the other end.

What happened to Denver / Milwuakee
just turned it on - got home - gf says 'we're going to watch the team in the girly uniforms' (Denver powder blue :)

At the moment bismarck has the highest +/- (tied) of +9 for the magic tonight

Dwight - thank you for points rebounds and blocked shots

Biyombo is the reason they're in this game right now. Let's see how he does from the line here.

1/2 from the line.

He's got 11pts 8 boards, 4 blocks and he's really got Howard frustrated here. ORL keeps knocking down threes, though.

and then he drops a pass that would've been a dunk.

Stan reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 21:08

Bismack Biyombo, Derrick Favors, Andre Igoudala

Fuck one, marry one, kill one...GO

That boy ain't right

Tray reply to Stan on Jan 17 at 21:47

Um, I think Bismack has huge one trick pony potential, but that Favors has a great chance of never amounting to much of anything, a little like Kenyon Martin. On the other hand, Favors can play a little on offense. I guess I'll say, Iguodala >>>>>> Favors > Bismack.

Are the nuggest as 'transition basket' as the sixers? Seems like a lot of turnovers / point conversions

Wow the Nuggets are cruising by the Bucks. This team is good. They are deeper than us.

They also have big men who can dfend well

Who said doug collins was old school?

Zach Lowe: Just spoke with Spencer Hawes for a while. Says Doug Collins has entire team doing yoga together for first time to keep bodies fresh.

Under this scenario, what do you think of the Sixers taking Beaubois with the trade exception from Speights?

I think I don't want to do anything that could possibly facilitate Howard and Williams going to Dallas.

the heat are on a 36-7 run

Well it doesn't look like this game is going to take much out of Denver. Going to be a battle tomorrow night, and the Sixers really need Turner. I don't want to see Lou defending Andre Miller at all. Actually don't want to see Lou defending Lawson either.

Tray reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 21:54

One of the weird features of the Nuggets season so far has been the resurgence of Harrington, and the surgence, if you will (can't call it a resurgence, Brewer was never good) of Brewer. You're seeing a bit of both today. But the really huge development for Denver is Gallinari becoming a pretty good scorer from inside the arc. Excluding three-point shots, he's shooting 54% from the field this year. In past years he was much worse.

For their starters, Nene and Gallinari played less than their season average thus far by about 5-6 minutes per player. The other three starters either played more than their season average or roughly the same (Lawson). Andersen played twice as many minutes from the bench - probably had something to do with their big lead that dwindled to low double digits by the end of the game.

Bucks also played on the second game of a back-to-back.

Let's hope Denver isn't as sharp from the travel and time-zone changes.

Utah up 12 in the second

Tray reply to GoSixers on Jan 17 at 22:10

Jazz are a pretty weird team. Huge parts of their rotation, including their starting rotation, can't score. You could get away with starting guys like Gordon Hayward and Raja Bell 10 years ago, or giving major minutes to Watson and Miles, but it's hard to do it today. Speaking of which, here's something I don't get. This season, Raja Bell is a 44.4% shooter from the field, a 29.2% shooter from three (so his efg% from three is 43.8%), and a 100% shooter from the foul line. He's taken, however, just three foul shots, and 54 shots total. BKref claims his efg% on the season is 50.9% and his TS% is 52.4%. How can this be? His EFG% should actually be less than his raw FG%, because his EFG% on threes is lower than his FG% overall. And I can't see how three made free throws could bump his TS% 8 points over his FG%. Something's off. Here's the page:


He's 17/30 from 2, so that's what, and efg of 56.7%?

58 points on 54 shots and 3 FTS, so 58 divided by 55 and change divided by two. TS makes sense.

Tray reply to Brian on Jan 17 at 23:03

Yeah, that's right. It's weird though; I always thought that the reason efg% is higher than FG% is because (and only because) it counts the threes for more, not because it susses out a high 2-point fg% that the overall fg% masks.

I wonder if they'll try to use Faried to counter Young.

Tray reply to Dwight on Jan 17 at 22:11

They never play him so I doubt it.

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