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The Skid Continues

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Court_visioN on Feb 20 at 2:28
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I thought Jrue was pretty aggressive in getting to the paint, even if he didn't get any foul calls. Baby steps.

Let's say we lose one of these next two games, or maybe both. Memphis has won its last 4 and is 12-5 at home with home wins over the Nuggets (twice) and Pacers, Houston's 12-4, with home wins over the Thunder, Spurs (twice), Blazers, and Hawks. Both teams are quite capable of beating us at home, at least. Does one start to think about trading Iguodala, whose value is at an all-time high right now? Do you think that his appeal to superstar free agents is worth keeping him? If not, isn't it looking these days like we need to either rebuild a bit or get a superstar free agent, and if we don't think we're going to get one or that Iguodala will help much with getting one to come wouldn't you trade him? As well as we've played, this season hasn't been too encouraging as far as making me think we have a whole lot of upside as presently constituted. Neither Jrue nor Turner is maturating the way people said they would. It's quite obvious that we can't just stand pat with this core.

this might be frivilous, but if the foul call was on AI, shouldn't the clock go back to 1.5 or something, when the reach-in happened? instead, it stayed at 0.1, which was after the whistle.

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Spencer for hire reply to HW on Feb 20 at 7:57
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I agree with you and expected the refs to look at a replay. I hope they don't panic and make a wrong move. If your 3 draft picks and Nucioni's expiring and Brackin's [team option] contract can bring in a guy that helps, beyond this season than go for it but don't give up picks for a rental.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Spencer for hire on Feb 20 at 10:02
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Unless they find a way over the next 7-10 games to reestablish themselves as a legit top-4 seed and potenial 2nd round participant (which, over the past couple of weeks, they have NOT looked like), I think they MUST see what they can get for Lou. It is an asset that they have ZERO control over after the summer (unless they are fully prepared - like they were with Thad it seems - to match the market to keep him...and I am not even sure that makes sense in the long-term), and if they can add either a defensively-oriented project big or a 1st round pick, they have got to consider pulling the trigger on a deal like that.

One other side benefit of trading Lou is it forces Collins and the other players to figure out other ways to close games offensively, which can only help IMO.

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Sharone Wright reply to bebopdeluxe on Feb 20 at 10:04
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We have enough trouble scoring as it is. Without Lou, our halfcourt 4th quarter offense will be a total joke.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Sharone Wright on Feb 20 at 10:13
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Maybe it will force Collins and the other players to stop relying on BOSS mode to win games.

Maybe they will just RUN THEIR OFFENSE.

Maybe Collins could - through selection of personnel - force MATCHUP issues with the other team that we could exploit (Lord knows other teams do this to us).

Maybe it will help Jrue, ET or others to learn how to take those shots.

Unless you think that Lou-as-boss late in games can get us to the ECF, I am ready to try something else...because that should be the goal - right?

Yea, I'm actually tired of BOSS mode. Put in a real offense and stop relying on Lou to jack up shots.

I guess I just wonder what that "REAL offense" might look like?This season has turned me into a Lou fan-think he has really stepped up his game-passing as well as scoring. Dunno how you replace his 15 a night. I am in the mindset of see what you can get for Turner...which I am pained to say. Maybe Lou+turner gets you a significant piece...in the right deal, I wouldn't be opposed.

But do have to say that the Lou hate, often quite justified last year, resonates less and less this season. He is playing the best all around ball of his career. Yes, that might mean it's the perfect time to deal him, but I would want legit pieces in return

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Spencer for hire reply to bebopdeluxe on Feb 20 at 10:09
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That's a very good point about a Lou trade forcing Collin's hand but shouldn't our % of missed end of quarter and end of game situations also force his hand?

I still believe starting Lou and letting Turner and Meeks play together more speeds up Turner's progress. Or putting Lou on the wing exclusively. Simple moves that could pay dividends.

Yup. I was shocked they didn't review it, then furious when I went back and reviewed it myself.

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Spencer for hire reply to Derek Bodner on Feb 20 at 8:26
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Derek, doesn't any offensive improvement for this team have to come from within? A change in roles or combinations? I wish Jrue would be tried at the end of quarters and games.

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Spencer for hire on Feb 20 at 8:38
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It amazes me that Thad is this "mismatch nightmare" all game and isn't used when a basket is needed. Probably because he avoids contact.

But our coach should take a cue from L.Brown and put Lou on the wing [ala A.I.] and have Jrue up top and Thad on the block with them. How does Minnesota defend that.

These losses may be a blessing in disguise. May cause coach to reevaluate his rotation, strategies and roster. With the lead, I thought Jrue should've had the ball in his hands at the end of the game. Also, I agree about the run off of time after the foul call.

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Sharone Wright reply to sfw on Feb 20 at 9:38
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I am just dying for Jrue to make the leap as our go-to crunch time guy, but when he got the ball with about 1:20 left, he got caught in the air again and turned it over, reminiscent of the Nuggets game. Seems like he kind of spazzes in the clutch. Pains me to say it.

i hear ya. Jrue is my favorite player on this team and I see so much potential...but still so much work to be done...

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Spencer for hire reply to sfw on Feb 20 at 9:40
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Hopefully he reevaluates over the allstar break and does change things. Definitely not time to panic. Any moves to make probably only affect the defensive end [E.Davis, Ty Thomas?]. Not a lot of trade options and time to let Jrue or Evan join in the late game situations.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Spencer for hire on Feb 20 at 10:03
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+1

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Steve V on Feb 20 at 9:15
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I know most of us didn't want to trade Iguodala for Ellis , but Brian bringing up what to do with Lou at the deadline got me thinking, what if we could get Ellis without trading Iguodala? Golden State is known to want a bigger guard to play next to Curry, so would you guys be happy with a trade of Lou,Turner and Nocioni for Ellis? I'm one of Turners biggest fans but a lineup of Jrue Ellis Iguodala Brand and whoever is healthy at center, with Thad and Jodie off the bench seems pretty appealing to me.

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Stan reply to Steve V on Feb 20 at 9:41
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No. I really don't think Ellis is much better than Lou and I wouldn't give up Turner for him. Also his contract doesn't expire until 2014

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Spencer for hire reply to Steve V on Feb 20 at 9:47
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Ellis and his turnovers aren't a great fit with Collins. I would rather Jrue or Turner be given more rope. I believe a trade that minimizes Elton's role is the only way to "shake things up".

If E.Davis or Ty Thomas can be gotten and give our frontline some shotblocking and athletism I would do it. Toronto may want additional picks to get H.Barnes and Thomas seems to be on a short leash in Charlotte.

I'm ready to hit the panic button. 34 games left to go in the season and only a 4 game lead in the division with a talented NY team playing good basketball coming off a 8-1 run. Tied with Orlando for 3rd place and a .5 lead over team that will have its all star PF back in April. If NY wins the division it will be very depressing to see us go from the #3 seed down to the #7 seed.

7 games isn't a big enough sample size to hit the panic button imo. Nor is 9 games a big enough sample size to consider the Knicks a legit threat, especially when one of those 9 is a loss to the Hornets at home. See how things look heading into and immediately after the all star break.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 10:09
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As much of a fan of what Collins has done with this team as I am, are you concerned that the team is starting to get a little tight and mentally/emotionally fried from Collins' coaching style? And if that is the case, does it make sense to take your foot off the gas for a couple of games, not coach every play "like it's your last", live with some 14-17 TO-type games, and see if it loosens these guys up a little.

It seems like there is zero "flow" right now in their game.

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Spencer for hire reply to bebopdeluxe on Feb 20 at 10:17
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The best thing to happen for these players is 3 days away from their coach, in my eyes. What can Collins do to shake up and bring energy back without a]trades b]practice time. A lineup change may work or a wrinkle of some sorts [trapping pressure?] but how to do it is my question.

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Sharone Wright reply to bebopdeluxe on Feb 20 at 10:17
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Yeah, and more yoga. Seriously though, you may be right. I find it annoying that he is always talking about his defense keeping the other team in the fence but outside the house (his analogy for forcing the other team to make long twos), but at the same time his offensive philosphy makes our guards shoot long twos also, because they are scared to death to drive and get the ball stripped. I like Collins, and I trust/hope he can drwork on something to turn this around.

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Gdog reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 12:47
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Have you watched the Knicks play recently at all or are you just basing it upon the fact that they werent that good in the beginning of the season ?
Do you think the Sixers are a better team than the Knicks right now ?
I don't. I hate that but that's the reality of the situation. Anthony, Stoudemire, Chandler and even Lin(in a very small sample size) are better than any players on the Sixers right now. Lins new to the scene obviously but for the past 2 weeks hes one of the top guards in the league. Whether that remains who knows, but right now you cant even compare pont guards. Knicks are playing great--dismiss it all you want but they just beat down(without Anthony) a full strength Dallas team that 2 nights ago humiliated the sixers without their 2nd best player(terry).

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Rich reply to Gdog on Feb 20 at 13:32
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I love the terms "beat down" and "humiliated" being used to make a point.

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Rich reply to Gdog on Feb 20 at 13:36
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Nets, Jazz, Wizards, Lakers, Wolves, Raptors, Kings, Hornets, and Dallas.

Not exactly murderer's row, and their two tough games were on the road, where they needed two epic chokejobs by Minny and Toronto. They are playing pretty well right now, but honestly a lot of things are going their way. Their schedule gets a lot harder after tonight.

I was thinking about this: If Lin turns the ball over 8-10 times against the Sixers, that's like what? 15 free points.

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Gdog reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 13:59
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hmm. Not exactly murderers row ? Half of those teams beat Philly. Dallas at this point is one of the best teams in the league(they had won 10 in a row prior to Knick game).

As far as Lin turnovers, lets look at yesterdays line against the 8th ranked defense in the league.
28 pts, 14 assists vs 7 turnovers. Hes responsible for 56 points of his teams total. Who cares if he has 7 turnovers...really.
Jrue has never had a game like that in his entire career and I doubt he could. Hes not that kind of player--maybe he will be at some point but he isnt now. I understand you all root for the Sixers but you have to give some credit where its due, even if its to the Knicks.

four out of nine beat philly. That's not half.

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Rich reply to Gdog on Feb 20 at 14:17
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I said they were playing pretty well. That's credit. The Sixers beat the Hornets on the road, and I'm sure you would have jumped on that and made it into a huge thing if it was the other way around. They also literally played the Wolves the same kind of way, except Minny didn't feel like shitting their pants at the end, and the Sixers still go jobbed. The Sixers beat the Raptors handily this year, and the Knicks needed them to fall apart and a Lin three at the end. Teams have highs and lows during seasons. I'm not going to analyze every win and loss in a 9 game stretch as the truth. They're going to have to show more for me to definitively say they are better than the Sixers.

Oh, and as far as Lin TO's and assists, of course you pick his best game. On the season, he's averaging 9.5 and 6.5. Sure, nine assists is really good, but that second number really knocks their value down.

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Rich reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 14:19
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9.5 and 6.5 are his numbers as a starter. SIX POINT FIVE.

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Gdog reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 15:58
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Your forgetting that since hes been starting hes averaging like 27 a game. So 27 PPG, 10 assists, really do 6 or 7 turnovers mean anything when your putting up those kind of numbers ? ...if we had a PG like that his face would be on every billboard in philly.

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Rich reply to Gdog on Feb 20 at 16:17
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Yes, the turnovers do have a major impact. They knock his floor game down tremendously and hurt the team in a big way. If we're rounding up here, 10 assists and 7 TO's are a huge deal. They make it misleading to just say "26 and 10, He's so sick, Bilboards!"

I've been really impressed by Lin and would be all for they guy if he didn't play for the Knicks, but it's a little early to say what he is definitively. He hasn't made their Offensive Efficiency much better at all, which is where the turnovers play a huge part. The dirty little secret is that Knicks are winning with defense.

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Tray reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 17:10
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Only player in the history of the NBA I can find who's turned it over 6 times in 6 straight games. Previous record was 5 straight, a mark hit by Kidd, Stackhouse, Barkley, Malone, and no one else.

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Gdog reply to Tray on Feb 20 at 17:40
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26 and 10 outweighs 7 turnovers a game. Unless you have some equation where turnovers count for more than 2 points.

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Stan reply to Gdog on Feb 20 at 17:48
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41 possessions:
20 shots- 28 points
14 assists- 30 points
7 turnovers- -14 points (assumed)

That equals to 44 points on 41 possessions.

I honestly don't have a conclusion or know whether this is good or bad. Just making a benign statement.

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Rich reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 18:16
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I like that breakdown. He took 6 free throws as well, so that's three more possessions. Would the turnovers count as 2 though, I'd count them at minus-1. I have no idea what I'd do for them. They can lead to points for the other team. Another point that I'd make about his assists is that he's gotten countless from simply passing the ball to a wide open Steve Novak who hits a BOMB.

(Counting TO's as 2): 44 points on 44 possessions.

(Counting TO's as 1): 51 points on 44 possessions.

If you compare that to Jrue yesterday, he had 20 points on 10-20 shooting, which is average and not terribly efficient. He had 2 assists for 4 points and counting TO's as minus 2, he had one for a minus 2.

That strikes me as: 22 points on 23 possessions if we're counting TO's as minus 2. And Jrue didn't have a great floor game by any means. He was basically right on pace with Lin, just with a lot less responsibility.

The statement that the "28 and 14 cancels out 7 TO's" is ridiculous. You can't just pretend like they didn't happen. This is why Lin and the Knicks haven't gotten any better as a team offensively. He's just shouldering a big load of it, while Jrue is only asked to be a smaller part of the puzzle here.

I have been impressed with how he's played with his teammates and as Statman said, how efficiently he has scored while putting up big numbers.

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Stan reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 18:32
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It gets complicated. What if he gets fouled while taking a shot and misses? Doesn't that count as a FG attempt? Also in Lin's defense, some of the wide open shots to Novak were due to Lin's penetration and the double teams he got. Lin also had 5 steals which could be counted as two points taken away from the opposition.

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Rich reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 18:41
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No that doesn't count as a shot attempt.

No doubt on Novak that some of that is Lin. Some of it is also a kick back for a thirty footer that the dude drains, something Jrue never has the luxury of. Lin also has a big who can finish strong, something else Jrue doesn't have. The amount of times Brand or others have screwed up a great look from Jrue are countless. Meeks too.

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Stan reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 18:55
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I'm not really concerned with Jrue vs. Lin. I'm concerned with Vuc + Brand vs. Chandler + Amare. A PG like Lin can exploit that weakness.

if we had a PG like that his face would be on every billboard in philly

In his 9 starts, Lin has averaged 25.0 PPG, 9.2 AST/G, and 5.9 TOV/G. The most impressive part is that he is scoring efficiently from the field, 50.9% FG% and 58.4% TS%.

But your statement really isn't true. In 05-06, the Sixers had a PG who averaged 33.0 PPG, with 7.4 AST/G and 3.4 TOV/G. He had a TS% of 54.3%, which is marginally lower than what Lin has done in his 9-game sample. But because the Sixers were under .500, Allen Iverson's name wasn't plastered on every billboard.

In NBA history, there is almost no precedent for a ball-dominant, scoring PG leading his team to sustained success. The most famous example was Tiny Archibald in his amazing 72-73 season, leading the league in both PPG (34.0) and AST/G (11.4) -- and leading his team to a 36-46 record.

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Stan reply to Statman on Feb 20 at 18:01
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I also thought some of his shots were stupid. A PG should not attempt a 3 pointer over a 7 ft power forward imo. He was lucky it went in and that it didn't get blocked.

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eddies' heady's on Feb 20 at 10:54
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I really don't see how Collins is supposedly wearing thin with the guys. I would say it's just more that fans always look and analyze every single little thing after a few losses, frustrating ones at that. I mean, that Clips game came down to the last shot. That was a game of two teams both shooting abysmally, the Clips just accumulated more offensive boards which negated our fast break opportunities, and we had a few more turnovers than them, uncharacteristically. Lose on a miraculous last second shot that nearly got blocked.

The Orlands game is sort of the outlier, just a team that was unbelievably hot, 45 points on 3 pointers?

The Dallas game was kind of similar to the Clips game in that it was two teams shooting even worse though. The guys dominated that first half, then couldn't get any shot to fall in that 8 pt 3rd quarter. I mean, we're talking about a second half won by Dallas 45-24, yet they still only lose by 7?

Last night's game vs MINN can be chalked up to just one of those games. Their season-long bug-a-boo reared it's head by way of not getting to the free throw line. A 16 attempt disparity, with our guards only getting to the line 2 times the whole game. A game that was there for the taking countless times, but for some odd reason they go away from what was working and start settling for jumpers (which has turned into a frustrating trend, see DAL game and quite a few others). Last night was especially frustrating because it's not like there was a DeAndre Jordan or Dwight Howard camping out in the lane.

These things happen throughout a season, as Brian said, it happens to even the best of them. For me, I guess I'm taking the bright side of this stretch as I outlined above. This team has given me enough evidence that they're legit in this compressed lockout season. Would I consider them as such if it was a regular normal season? Probably not. But as chaotic as it's been and going to continue to be, they will be a force to be reckoned with for the duration.

I'm pretty resigned to the fact this squad isn't going to make the ECF, albeit there's a very small chance they can if the matchups align themselvs properly and favorably (whomever in 1st round, Bulls in 2nd). Before they provided evidence, I still felt they could make the 2nd round just from familiarity with each other and schemes for the 2nd straight year.

Getting all wound up (concerned?) about what may or may not happen in May, or over a couple of mid-season losses is overanalysis that I'm not ready to succumb to - at least at this point.

It's depressing because we've had good lead and lost them due to offensive rebounding and a stagnant offense. Our guards are playing like crap and our coach is relying on BOSS mode to get out of these slumps. It's quite possible that this team isn't as good as we thought it was.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 11:33
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Or maybe that their early season play (a diving providence of roster continuity, lots of home cooking and a unbalanced schedule of easy teams/games) got us thinking that they are better than they actually are.

They finished last season 38-28 - a .576 winning percentage...right now, even with this recent 2-5 hiccup, they are still at a .625 winning percentage. You could argue that what we are seeing now (with the schedule getting tougher and other teams eliminating our early-season organizational advantage) is closer to who we are - a good-to-very good team that will still struggle in close games to elite teams because of our lack of a closer. This is what I thought they were at the beginning of the season, and that is what they are now.

I viewed this season as another year of growth - particularly for our younger players (especially Jrue and ET). In that vein, having games against good teams be determined by the same old/same old BOSS mode - particularly given the fact that Lou can walk this summer - seems to do little as far as developing the team. Whether it is continuing to run the offense in crunchtime, letting guys like Jrue, ET or others start to take on more late-game responsibility (even if it potentially means more losses), or making a move to acquire additional late-game help...all of these things make more sense to me than simply defaulting to BOSS mode...especially if the BOSS is leaving town this summer.

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eddies' heady's reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 11:33
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I feel ya - two questions:

As you stated, if all your guards are playing like crap, wouldn't you probably rely on Lou by default to get out of a slump? The only guy that can consistently get his own offense and/or get to the free throw line?

How good did you actually think this team was to begin with?

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Spencer for hire reply to eddies' heady's on Feb 20 at 12:38
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They are around where I would of hoped record wise but way beyond my hopes in 2 stats; #1 defensive team and on an N.B.A. record pace for least amount of turnovers.

I feel those 2 stats COULD lead us an extra round in the playoffs and my main issue is I feel we aren't using all the tools in our toolbox at the end of games. Thad is hitting his jumper now and if isolated I like his chances as well as Jrue. Evan isn't ready yet so I understand the hesitation to go to him.

I didn't like the offensive execution for a lot of the game, but they seemed to get it right at the end last night. No isolations, just exploiting whatever matchup they had. I do agree that Thad is underused (seemed underused the whole game against a minus defender in Love), but if they don't get a good shot the first 17 seconds in the shotclock, that's where you throw it to him at the foul line and iso him to see if he bails you out. That would be more preferable because at least the defense has moved and worked for some of the possession, and they can't load up on Thad.

The only huge problem was the Lou shot at the end, and that was the correct play when you are trying to waste time. Man, I'm still not over that. What a huge mistake.

Any interest in trading for Darko? I know he's not great and I believe he has three years at $4M/yr left (which is more than he's worth admittedly), but he certainly would not cost much to get. He is rotting on MN bench (played literally 1 second yesterday) and we are desperate for size and shot-blocking. He is still big, reasonably young, and can block some shots. Just my thoughts. Perhaps I am reaching here.

It is an interesting discussion on what Lou should have done on the crucial possession. Assuming someone was counting down the shot clock (which is almost always the case on the Sixers), everyone knew the shot clock was winding down. If Lou had held it until the last second, the defender -- if smart (I don't remember who it was) -- would have moved closer to challenge the shot, since only a jump shot is possible with that little time remaining. In that case, the chances of an airball go up, and the game clock would have gotten reset to 3 seconds anyway. And, the chance of making the shot would have gone down. I don't remember exactly, but the shot Lou got was mostly open, though the footwork before the release wasn't quite right.

So we have two possibilities:
(A) Lou surprises the defender and shoots with 3 seconds on the shot clock. Maybe a 35% chance of making the basket (uncontested jumper, though off the dribble with poor footwork). Almost no chance of an airball. 65% chance of Wolves defensive rebound with 3+ seconds left.
(B) Lou waits until 1 on the shot clock. 10% chance of making the shot with a hand in his face. 5% chance of a stupid foul by the defender. 15% chance of an airball (game clock resets to 3 seconds). 70% chance of Wolves defensive rebound with less than 1 second left.

Since the Sixers had the lead, the percentages as I estimated them still favor strategy "B" (the most likely outcome in either case is a "regular" miss that gets defensive-rebounded, but strategy "B" leaves less time on the game clock). But if the airball chances for a forced last-second shot are significantly higher than the 15% I estimated above, then the strategy question becomes more muddled.

By the way, it's too bad NCAA rules didn't apply, because Lou could have just chucked the ball at the ceiling, and the game clock wouldn't have stopped until the shot was confirmed to be an airball (came down below the plane of the rim).

Unfortunately, the Sixers never considered option (C), which is to have Lou pass to someone else for a surprise last-second shot that just has to hit the rim.


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Rich reply to Statman on Feb 20 at 15:08
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Good breakdown as always. The reason I place a lot of blame on Lou is actually a compliment to him: He is so good at getting a shot off, any shot off even if he makes it harder for himself sometimes. It makes me feel even more that he miscalculated with his abilities.

I think if a defender got into his grill with a second and a half left he could have either created space with: 1. A one dribble runner from the foul line, or maybe a deep floater that would have been ideal for time wasting purposes. or 2. A step back three that would have been a horrible shot, but all he would have needed to do is hit the rim.

The big takeaway that I got from it. I don't think he was even thinking about this. If he knew that wasting as much time was what he wanted to do, I feel that he could have set up his man to think he wanted to shoot with three seconds, and then got one off with a second left.

Great point, I think what Lou was actually thinking was something along the lines of, "I'm a scorer, I'll shoot when I'm ready and I'll make the shot" -- probably very little strategy involved.

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Rich reply to Statman on Feb 20 at 15:39
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Yep. I just think if he wanted that specific shot, he could have set the defender up with the same move 1.5 seconds later if he thought ahead and got the same exact look later. Sad thing about it all is that the shot rimmed in and out.

Was just reading about the Pau Gasol trade situation. Would you trade Brand and Lou for Gasol and Blake? Would the Lakers do it?

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Anonymous reply to Statman on Feb 20 at 15:14
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How about this, why don't you give a justification for the Lakers making a deal that gives up one of the best power forwards in the game for a broken down power forward due a lot of money next year and a shooting guard who probably hits free agency in the off season?

The Lakers need a point guard, Louis Williams is not one. Elton Brand is a broken down shell of a player

Why would the Lakers make a trade where they give up the best player, get much worse, and still need to pay Elton Brand next year?

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Rich reply to Anonymous on Feb 20 at 15:36
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The Lakers don't need a PG at all if they went back to Triangle principles. Plus, with Kobe as ball-dominant as he is, a pure PG would be a waste of talents. Lou would actually be a pretty good fit next to Kobe as a pretty deadly off-ball scorer. More importantly, he is so much better than anything they have.

Brand is a much better defender than Gasol and while he has been pretty bad offensively, a move to LA could rejuvenate him playing next to Bynum. Plus, his salary is a huge trade chip next year as an expiring.

I'd understand why the Lakers wouldn't want to do it, but that's not absurd to at least kick around.

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Spencer for hire reply to Statman on Feb 20 at 15:35
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I think either Iggy and Vuce or Iggy and Jrue would get Gasol but I don't think I do either. And I still believe Turner could step in and run this team.

Collins may not be rubbing thin on the players yet, but he is getting on my last nerve with his end game coaching. He has done nothing to fine tune an offense that is thin on talent to begin with.

He is a smart enough guy to recognize that teams who are behind in the second half are going to switch to a zone defense until his team shows the patience and/or the schemes to attack it successfully.

He should be a smart enough guy to know the team needs to run a play or drive the basket on these iso's with the clock running down. Run a pick & roll or have Lou drive the basket and try to get fouled as the clock runs down. MAKE the entire team fight for an offensive board when there is not enough time on the clock and you know they'll be calling a timeout anyway.

I'm all for Iggy and Vuce in a trade for Gasol. We can then try to pick up Nash this summer as a free agent and have a team that can compete pretty well for next year.

I am hoping that with the break, Collins gets these players some high quality practice time and some new schemes on offense for the second half. This team has become as disappointing in the last 7 games as it was impressive out of the blocks.

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Anonymous reply to TNT on Feb 20 at 16:12
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I'm all for Iggy and Vuce in a trade for Gasol. We can then try to pick up Nash this summer as a free agent and have a team that can compete pretty well for next year.

Why would the Lakers be in favor of such a trade?

The rumors are that the Suns are currently working on an extension with Nash. He probably will not be leaving Phoenix.

Carmelo will be back in the lineup tonight against New Jersey. Let's see if this improved Knicks defense holds up with him in the lineup. My guess is that the knicks will go from one revolving door on defense to two (at least). I'm also assuming Lin will have significantly less production.

Doesn't matter as long as they win. Carmelo's probably the best pure scorer in the league. Hes not going to hurt them.

Forgetting Lin for a second, have the Knicks been better since they got Melo? Or were they better before they made that trade?

You're asking someone who doesn't seem to be able to grasp basic concepts.

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Stan reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 19:57
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I'm not worried about Melo, I'm worried about Chandler and Amare. They have one of the best PF/C combo in the league. Melo isn't a primary concern but he keeps defenses honest. Lin may be an average PG but he can exploit the mismatches his team has.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 20:47
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Their record has probably been better without him but that doesn't mean they can't figure it out. He had a partial season with them last year, and then this shortened season. I think the Knicks are more of a playoff threat with Melo then without him.

Melo was a huge threat when they get swept out in the first round last season. He's been out of the first round of the playoffs exactly once in 8 tries in his career, been swept out in the first round 3 times.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:11
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How many times has Iguodala been out of the 1st round? That's not a knock on Dre either, but it's the truth.

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Stan reply to MCT on Feb 20 at 21:22
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But is Iguodala labeled as a superstar or as one of the "pure scorers in the game"?

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MCT reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 21:24
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Ok what about Kevin Garnett? Took him years to get out of the first round.

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Stan reply to MCT on Feb 20 at 21:28
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It had a lot to do with the talent around him. When he had Sam Cassell and Latrell Spreewell he went to the WCF.

Melo has had decent talent around him.

People label Melo as a top 10 player when in fact he is a top 25 player.

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MCT reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 21:31
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I'm not a member of the Carmelo fan club, believe me. But who has he played with that was so good? A washed up Allen Iverson? Past his prime Chauncey? He has Amare with him now but they haven't played together very long.

I hope the Knicks fail miserably so I'm really not going to argue on it too much.

Different problem, but same end result with Garnett. Great player, but not a guy who's going to carry a team on the offensive end, so he can't be the only "star" on the floor because he can't/won't take the tough shots. More can't in his case. Melo doesn't defend and doesn't score efficiently enough to be a team's entire offense in a playoff series, IMO. And he's never been able to take a step back when defenses key on him.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:33
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Well I hope I'm wrong because I hate the Knicks and I dislike Carmelo Anthony.

I'm not making the argument that Iguodala is some kind of savior. Just responding to the "Melo's a stud, he's going to carry them in the playoffs" stuff.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:27
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Well I agree with that. I don't put Carmelo on the same level as Lebron, Kobe, Wade, Durant, etc. I'm just saying I think the Knicks are still better with him then without him, regardless of their record since he was traded.

Looks like it tonight.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:29
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Think we shoud give them some time to play together first before we make a judgement on that?

This game isn't over, yet. But I'm not sure why this game should carry any less meaning than the run of good games they've played with Lin. It's only a small sample size when it doesn't support your argument?

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:35
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Because they haven't all played together yet. Lin was deep on the pine before. Then Amare came back, and now Carmelo is back. You don't think more time is needed to see how well they will or won't work together?

I've been saying throughout this whole run we need to see how it works when they're all on the floor. Everyone else has been saying they're going to win the Atlantic and they're a complete team and they're so much better than the Sixers. Melo and Amare went out and the team started winning with defense. That's a fact. Now those two guys are back and suddenly the team is going to continue winning with defense? I don't think it's logical to assume the success will continue with their entire roster when you add two big minuses on the defensive end to a squad that was enjoying success because of their defense.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:42
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I have never said, nor do I believe, that the Knicks are better than the Sixers. I do think that they are better with Amare and Carmelo then they are without them though, that's all I'm saying.

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Stan reply to MCT on Feb 20 at 21:45
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I think the Knicks are more talented than the Sixers. If they play defense and run a stable offense they are much better than the Sixers.

"I think the Knicks are more talented than the Sixers. If they do two things their personnel really doesn't allow them to do, they're a better team than the Sixers."

I'd agree with that.

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Stan reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:50
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:)

I hope you're right

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Stan reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 21:33
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But my argument wasn't that Melo would carry them in the playoffs. My argument was that Chandler and Amare would. They can exploit the Sixers front court and with Melo and Lin the guards can't help the bigs out defensively.

You're assuming Lin and Melo are going to allow the bigs to take over. Maybe Lin will, but I'd be shocked if Melo toned down his usage rate.

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Rich reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 21:36
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You realize Amare has been absolute garbage this year though, right?

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Stan reply to Rich on Feb 20 at 21:42
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He didn't have a true PG till now.

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Rich reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 21:45
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That's fair. I saw him live though, and man he doesn't look like the same guy. He can't shoot mid-range jumpers anymore. They aren't really all that close.

Am I the only one that thinks that:
1) the 26-10 FT disparity vs Minn is a really bad sign
2) zero points and zero shots in 9 minutes in the fourth of a close game is not going to cut it, even if you are an All star? Or "PPG is overrated"?
3) Lou took a typically bad shot, but NO ONE even tried to go for the off reb that could have closed the game even after the miss?
4) 2-4 in close games (+ something like 2-10 last year) should tell us that Doug Collins has to be a better job in these situations, as perhaps even he admitted? I'm counting the five point Ws over Orl and Lakers here, that actually didn't come down to the final plays

2) zero points and zero shots in 9 minutes in the fourth of a close game is not going to cut it, even if you are an All star? Or "PPG is overrated"?

It's amazing to me that you've followed the Sixers for so long and have no concept of the positive effect that Iguodala has on a game. From the time he entered the game in the 4th quarter, he had 4 defensive rebounds (the rest of the team had 3) and 2 assists (the rest of the team had 1 and 2 turnovers), set up 2 other open jumpers that missed, and should have had the game-winning defensive stop had the call been made correctly. So yes, when a player does everything else on the court, PPG is overrated. Without taking any shots, Iguodala was the best Sixer on the court in the 4th quarter vs. the Wolves.

The funny fact is that I am fully aware of how much valuable is Iguodala for this team, both offensively and defensively. But at the end of the day he's not getting the job done, especially in games like this, that's my point. Kevin Love had an extremely inefficient offensive game but scored 12 in the 4th, including the (perfect) winning FTs, something we all dream Iguodala will be able to do some day (Iguodala included). I'd gladly take Love's inefficiency and win the game, with the team carried by the inefficient scorer.
It's funny how when stats back him up, then Iguodala is an All star, when they don't is "Things-that-the-boxscore-doesn't-show". Rebounds and assists are fine but last time I check the team that scores most points wins, not who has the best PER, +/- etc etc. Maybe I'm oversimplifying :-)

Rebounds and assists are actually in the box score. Those are measurable things. If he takes a shot and misses it, people kill him. If he gets into the lane and sets Thad up for a perfect look. People bitch that he didn't take the shot. The team scored fine down the stretch, his rebounding, defense and that big assist to Thad (which really won the game, if not for the bad whistle) were all "winning plays."

It's fun watching Melo demand the ball in the post, completely stall the offense, then turn it over.

pretty ridiculous scoring from Deron Williams - 32 points all on threes and foul shots.

Nets are the only team to play teh knicks twice now with Lin as the super duper star of the team. It looks like they're able to contain him better tonight, which is saying a lot for a bad defensive team.

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Stan reply to Jeff on Feb 20 at 21:38
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I love how people will start bitching about Melo now :)
I honestly think NYK would be a much better team with Iguodala at SF.

And rightfully so. He halts the offense and makes the defense worse. I've had debates before with other people. I personally view Melo as the flashy type of player who can put of a lot of points, but makes can make his team worse in doing so. I dont think you can win a championship with Melo as your primary scorer.

Deron Williams has been great so far. He's really tough when he's on.

That charge that Jeffries got on him was absolute garbage too. Kenny Mauer made that call, wiping two points off the board. Block/charge is really at a crisis point in the league this year. That guy gets Finals games.

12 point game :(

I'm starting to get worried. I can't tolerate another day Linsanity coverage.

Looks like the refs might help them as the game gets closer.

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Stan reply to Jeff on Feb 20 at 21:52
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If they come back and win it, I will have to unplug my computer, listen to my ipod for the next 24 hours, and skip class tomorrow to avoid my Asian/Knicks friends.

Sweet play, Melo.

Nets should just run all 24 seconds off with the personnel they have on the floor.

If D'Antoni brings back Lin, they should go right at him like they have been all night.

Melo and Amare taking turns missing bad shots. Nets pushing their lead with D-Wil on the bench.

I also noticed Lin defering to Melo more often, resulting in Melo iso plays. It makes me smile.

Nice play, Melo.

Nice D, Amare.

So for all the Knicks lovers out there, how does getting blown out, at home, by the Nets, when the Nets are on the third night of a back-to-back-to-back figure into your "Knicks are the best. Lin is GOD! Sixers have no chance in the Atlantic!" logic?

Gdog, was this a beatdown by the Nets, or were the Knicks demolished?

Well, you know, The knicks were without Walker and Shumpert so yeah that's the only reason why the knicks lost.

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South Broad reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 22:09
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It was actually humiliated, not demolished.

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MCT reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 22:12
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How many "Knicks lovers" are there around here? I'm thinking one or less.

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Stan reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 22:15
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1. Melo came back and the team had a hard time adjusting

2. Deron Williams was playing out of his mind

3. Novak had a bad shooting night

4. They were coming off an emotional win against Dallas

5. They came back from an 20 point deficit and cut it to 7 point lead at the end of the game.

6. Melo and Amare are still adjusting to coming back from injury

7. Tyson Chandler was injured yesterday and is still effected by it today.

8. Jeremy Lin only had 3 turnovers so there is improvement

9. The Nets have a decent rebounder in Humphries and a superstar PG in Williams. The Sixers do not.

10. The Nets were extra motivated due to their loss 8 games ago.

BOOM!

Your fourth ridiculous reason was the most hilarious.

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Stan reply to Jeff on Feb 20 at 22:34
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I was laughing while I wrote that.

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Rich reply to Stan on Feb 20 at 22:25
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1. That's going to be a problem for every game here on out.

2. That's what All Star point guards do against guys who can't play defense.

3. He's not going to be 4-6 every night.

4. Crappy excuse.

5. They did that because Deron Williams had a brutal 4th foul called him, and played against an abomination of a lineup. To top it off did almost all of that when they went to a defensive lineup without Lin. Oh, and why are they down 20 points to the Nets at home?

6. Same thing as #1.

7. What, you thought he was gonna go for 20?

8. Lucky he didn't have 5 or 6, but that's OK. Offense was still bad.

9. Well if that's all it takes to win basketball games, then pencil Prokhorov to be raising the trophy in June, right?

10. Another bad excuse.

OK, fixed it.

Lin did a nice job padding his stats in garbage time against this garbage Nets lineup.

Headlines will read: "Lin's near triple-double not enough to get knicks by Juggernaut New Jersey"

Your sub-.500 New York Knicks!!!!!!!

Couldn't believe how bad Kenny Mauer was in that game tonight. Unreal how bad he was.

I thought Lin was OK tonight, kept his TO's low even though he was very lucky on a few of them (Not great, but steady). He padded his stats late in the game, but their offense was brutal all night. Just because he's getting numbers doesn't mean they are improving as a team on that end of the floor.

They have a tough stretch coming up starting on Wednesday. It will be interesting to see how they handle this on the fly.

TNT announcers joking about something regarding John Wall and the Princeton offense.

One announcer: "I don't think Princeton's ever had that kind of talent in their backcourt."
Other announcer:"Harvard has!"

Should've countered "Wall can't spell Princeton."

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Stan reply to Brian on Feb 20 at 22:29
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That's a great way to lose a job.

Good that both the celtics and knicks got blown out, but it would be nice to not have to count on these two teams losing in order to feel comfortable about the sixers keeping their lead.

Yep. I'll take it for now, though. Better than the alternative while the Sixers are scuffling.

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Turtle Bay on Feb 21 at 0:38
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Eh, I think D'Antoni is a pretty terrible coach. I'd be a lot more afraid of the Knicks if they had someone who valued defense to get some kind of defensive production out of their offensive-minded personnel (Melo and Amare).

Oh wait, I forgot the great Mike Woodson is their "defensive coordinator."

Here's how bad the reffing was in that Knicks game. Anthony Morrow got a rebound and blatantly got hit in the face, the started walking off and got called for a travel. I thought to myself "You can't do that even though he got hit." Turns out, Melo hit him so hard that he lost four teeth on the play AND GOT NO FOUL CALL. Unreal, especially considering he had the ball in his hands at the time. What were the refs looking out.

He lost four teeth on that play? Wow. Yeah, the refs seemed to have no control over that game. I liked when Chandler followed Humprhies to their bench and got the tech. Still have no idea what he was doing.

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Rich reply to Brian on Feb 21 at 0:56
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Pretty impressive that he came right back and scored 5 points at the end of the game.

I like Morrow. He's definitely a nice piece to have in the fold for your team even if he can only really do one thing. If they got Dwight (Hopefully not), he'd be a great guy to have.

Yep. Great shooter. May be a little overpaid, but worth it to a formed team if you can hide his warts.

Knicks didnt get it done there. Trap game. Big win over Dallas, sure to be a letdown.
I dont love the knicks but they have way more talent then the sixers and Im frustrated that the sixers front office cant somehow do the same. Im frustrated that the Sixer "PG of the future" can score 3 points in a game and some guy out of nowhere for the Knicks can score 27 a game and lead them to a 8-2 record while my Sixers sink.
Similar with the Giants and Eagles. I respect the Giants organization and the way they draft and am frustrated that the Eagles cant do the same.

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Stan reply to Gdog on Feb 21 at 9:10
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But I don't think the Knicks are a championship team. In football it's more likely to win a championship since you're playing one game at a time. In basketball a good team has 7 games to exploit your weaknesses and win.

Also, I really don't think the Giants were much better than Eagles. They won the division by one game and had a lot of lucky plays to keep them in the playoffs.

The Mavs clearly had a letdown game against the sub-.500 Knicks.

The Knicks, on the other hand, got a lucky win against Dallas, but have dropped two of three, at home, to the Hornets (7-24) and the Nets (10-24).

I think on National TV against the Knicks in the Garden dallas played really hard. they just got beat. You dont have a letdown game against a team that just went 7-1.
The Knicks have gone from being REALLY bad with Isaiah Thomas and all that mess to somehow being a playoff team.
Maybe their coach isn't so great, but you cant argue the talent. I have no idea how they did that, but they did.
The Sixers have been in this "just a step above average" for the last decade. At the end of the day, the Sixers are not contenders. Just like they haven't been for the past 10 years. Unless you clamor to have a 35-43 win team forever, you have to recognize this team has to make some changes to get better. Id gladly have them win 20 games for a couple years if they had some long term solution..right now it seems they dont. They are at their ceiling.

Yeah, you do have a letdown against a sub-.500 team when you're playing a 20-10 team the game before and the Celts in Boston the game after.

The Knicks are a fun story for the media and for excitable fans, on the floor they're the same average team with a couple big names that don't fit together and a couple other nice pieces that can't be properly utilized because their big names don't fit together.


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