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The Fourth Eleven

7-4, i see them righting the ship out of the break but dropping the games to OKC close late, MIA just not enough firepower, and two of the three CHI/BOS/NYK with major help from their friend Violet...

...did anyone else hear during the ASG though that Marv and Reggie were talking about potential trade partners for Dwight and said none of the major names you hear - Dallas or NJ - have the assets Orlando would want? Major wishcasting here but until some sort of deal for him goes down, if they get any kind of decent games after the break out of 00 and Turner, that deal of those two, the Brand and Nocioni contracts, and as many future #1s as Orlando wants is still possible...

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Spencer for hire on Feb 27 at 7:21
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I voted 6-5 with hopes they still can be a good 2nd half team. I hope the Hawes situation, and his future situation, can be resolved by years end. Vucevic and Allen's early season minutes could pay huge dividends in the 2nd half.

Will Collins shock the world and flipflop Lou and Meeks to a] get off to better starts and b] put the ball in Evan's hands more pppplease...

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Dutch Oven reply to Spencer for hire on Feb 27 at 10:46
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"Will Collins shock the world and flipflop Lou and Meeks to a] get off to better starts and b] put the ball in Evan's hands more pppplease..."

I was never on board with this until quite recently. Now, it just seems to make sense. It would certainly accomplish both of the things you listed. I wonder how it would impact Jrue?

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Sharone Wright on Feb 27 at 9:30
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5-6, but if that includes beating the Knicks, I'm happy!

7-4 with the remaining three losses (they already lost to Houston) coming vs thunder, vs Heat and @ Bucks.

The record however will largely depend on whther the sixers (or their opponent) make a move before the trade deadline.

Here's my latest from SB Nation Philly. Basically, this stretch of games will probably define the Sixers season, and may reach far beyond this year.

Brian i sent you an email with a possible post. Have a look at it when you have time.

Will do. Monday's are tough for me, probably get to it tonight.

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Tom Moore on Feb 27 at 11:21
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Despite the big swings this year, I think the team's current 20-14 record is a pretty fair reflection of where they are as a team. Somewhere between the average and the great teams. maybe a division winner if their rivals continue to tread water closer to .500.

Should be a highly competitive 1st round playoff series but no expectations beyond that.

So I expect 6-5 these next 11 games, but who really knows. They are a streaky team and it all depends on whether they are playing with confidence.

3-8. Wins against GSW, Utah, and Indiana. This reason the offense has turned to garbage is the expansion of LouWill's role. Collins has said that even if Lou goes 0 for 15 he wants him taking the 16th shot, so I don't see any changes coming. Off the cliff we go.

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Anonymous reply to spiller27 on Feb 27 at 11:58
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Your theory is that the offense has turned on that expansion of Louis Williams role.

Since he does not play all 48 minutes, do you believe that some how Lou has magic abilities that make the rest of the team stink even when he is not on the floor.

Or is it more possible (likely) that your (pointless) vendetta against Doug Collins and Louis Williams is near the apex of irrationality?

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bebopdeluxe reply to Anonymous on Feb 27 at 14:10
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While it does not like up exactly time-wise, it does seem that about 3-4 weeks ago there was a major flip in the rotations...for the first 15-20 games there was a sizable amount of JTI closing games, with Lou being the guy pulled off the floor with 7-8 minutes to go. Not long after the loss to the Nuggets (where Turner played all of the 4th quarter and OT and Lou got 19 minutes - his lowest minutes of the season), we saw Collins move away from JTI closing games...and we went back to Lou-as-BOSS mode.

Other than the Lakers game, how has that worked out?

I really hope that they are listening to any and ALL offers for Lou...the guy can walk this summer, and rather than have a Glock put to our head to match what others may offer him (it would seem like the ATL would be a great fit for him), I would love to know what we could get for him now.

I'm not arguing in favor of the Lou show in the fourth quarter, but how many close games did they win with JTI in crunch time?

And he really only used the JTI lineup a couple of times early on to close games, it wasn't like a regular thing. It's less that he's gone away from it than he never really settled on it.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 15:00
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It certainly is a fair point...we never really got to see if JTI could close any tight games...most of those games, it was set up for JTI to close, but the Sixers wound up leading by 20+ points in the 4th quarter, so it was usually Turner out there with a bunch of bench guys. Really, the Denver game was one of the only close games that JTI closed...and they obviously did not get the job done (I often wonder if we would have seen more JTI after that game if Andre Miller hadn't channeled his inner Jordan).

You could argue that JTI never REALLY got a chance to see if they could close...hopefully, if we see a reasonably healthy Hawes before the end of the season, Collins gives them another shot.

Turner needs to prove he belongs on the floor for the first 43 minutes before we worry about whether he'll be out there for the final 5.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 16:24
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As a person who has trained and managed people over the years, one of my key mantras is "put people in positions where they can succeed"...it's not about "trial by fire" or having them go through some kind of hazing ritual to earn their stripes - it is about asking people to do what they have the tools and skill set to either do or (over time) learn to do.

Evan Turner was not, and will probably never be a Ray Allen/Rip Hamilton kind of player. He was the college player of the year because of his ON THE BALL skills - any YouTube tape of his game at OSU would clearly show that. If what you are saying is that - in order for him to play the last 5 minutes of a game, he has to succeed in the first 43 minutes of the game, then my question for you is: do you think that Collins is being fair in terms of the opportunities that he is getting and the expectations of what he can produce in those situations?

Not to make this another dreary Meeks vs Turner discussion, but it is clear that Collins has structured Meeks' role to play to his strengths - shoot the deep ball and stretch the floor. It is what he does and what the team needs from him. If the problem with Turner is that what HE does (create for himself and for others WITH the ball) is NOT what the team needs (Jrue is the PG, Iguodala needs the ball, Lou needs the ball, etc...), then there are only a few things that can happen:

1) ET has to become Ray Allen (don't hold your breath);
2) ET needs to have the ball in his hands more...and Collins needs to come up with higher-leverage ways to maximize that value (more than being the 3rd quarter waterboy for Lou/Meeks);
3) ET will continue to be an underutilized 18-20 minutes a game player playing bench minutes and defering to the BOSS at crunchtime, or;
4) We either trade Iguodala (which I am NOT advocating, BTW) or Turner to get the guy that Turner cannot be.

This does not mean that there aren't other things that Turner can do to earn Collins' trust - perhaps his concentration has flagged and he has blown assignments...perhaps there are times that ET has not attacked his minutes with the necessary level of aggression (last Wednesday when he got the 2nd half start is a good example of this)...I don't know. But watching the ease in which he plays with the ball...the instinctiveness in how he handles it (forget Friday night...remember that play in Atlanta where he simply WALKED by Johnson and hit Vuc with that bounce pass for an easy bucket)...to not allow him to develop that obvious skill that he has with the ball (as opposed to playing him off the ball...which only serves to magnify his weakness) would be like using Meeks as a defensive stopper who NEVER shoots the ball.

I agree that he should earn his time...it would be nice if he could earn his time doing what he does best - which is playing with the ball in his hands. If they are not going to let him do that, then why the fuck did they draft him in the first place?

Just from my personal observation, when Turner has had the ball in his hands the past dozen games or so, it's amounted mostly to him using his dribble to get to a spot on the floor where he takes a jumper that he doesn't hit.

If he's attacking the hoop, like he was earlier in the season, that's great. If he's setting other guys up, that's great as well. I haven't seen a whole lot of either of those things for a while, though. What I've seen is a guy essentially playing Lou's game, only he can't shoot the three, doesn't get to the line and doesn't shoot the long twos as well as Lou either.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 16:58
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I think he's in a good old fashioned funk. He doesn't really know what his role is, and is probably questioning why the f they drafted him in the first place. When he was getting 30 mpg, his confidence was obviously higher (he was actually starting to get some legit MIP buzz)...but when Collins re-jiggered the rotations, and he was being forced to play less and less with Jrue and Iggy and more and more with Lou, his confidence sank.

I am not trying to take the guy off the hook - he needs to sack up and produce when he is out there, but I wonder what happened inside of Collins head that - over time - led to less JTI and more BOSS?

I dont think that the aggresive role is what Collins wants Turner to play. He is being used as the back up point guard most times. When he gets his looks they are usually deep in the shot clock off a catch and shoot. Thats not his game. Granted he still must make open shots first and foremost but he just isnt comfortable in that role.

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Anonymous reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 16:39
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There are a few more things that are important in management in my opinion.

Recognize who someone is, not who you want them to be.

At some point, the chance to succeed is not enough, the person will not succeed. Continuing to try and help them succeed at the expense of others is going to alienate those others.

When you hire a new employee you have hopes for them, but sometimes all those hopes do not come true. At some point one must accept that those hopes will not ever come true and you must accept who the employee is and how they fit or dump the employee.

No offense to you, and other Evan Turner zealots on this web site, but Doug Collins knows basketball better than you, me, and everyone else here.

"No offense to you, and other Evan Turner zealots on this web site, but Doug Collins knows basketball better than you, me, and everyone else here."

I'm about as big of a Doug Collins fan as there is, but I hate this line of reasoning. By this logic, no coach has ever made a mistake, so why bother questioning anything they do, because they know more than me!

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bebopdeluxe reply to Derek Bodner on Feb 27 at 16:54
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I don't think the mistake was Collins per se...it was whoever decided to take Turner, and then try to make him a player that he is not...not only that, but utilize him in a role that virtually de-emphasizes the key skill set he has (i.e. playing with the ball)?

The mistake was - given the roster we already had - taking a guy whose key skills you do not want to try to exploit and force him to excel at parts of the game that are his weakness.

Is that Turner's fault?

What system emphasizes a guy being able to dribble into a 15-foot jumper he can't hit?

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Anonymous reply to Derek Bodner on Feb 27 at 16:57
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People do make mistakes, but at this time I will trust the judgement of the coach that most people seem to enjoy having coach the team except when his decisions contrast their preconceived bias.

Doug Collins has seen more of Evan Turner as a sixer than anyone else here and thus I will value his decision making on the situation (for now) more than others. He has played terribly this year, he has shown little to no lasting improvement over last year, and the Herb McGee work seems to have worn off already. Those who argue Turner deserves more time to me are ignoring the facts in evidence.

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bebopdeluxe reply to Anonymous on Feb 27 at 17:02
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How would you characterize Turner's play for the first 15-20 games of the season - when he was among the leaders on the team in minutes played and the team was winning a boatload of games? Was he terrible then?

He was going to the hoop then, rather than settling for bad jumpers.

Listen, I know it's fun to call this a huge conspiracy theory in which Collins loves to screw Turner and Turner is this unbelievable talent who isn't being allowed to play "his game." Much like how Darko's problems have always been his coaches' fault, but there's a much, much simpler explanation as to why Lou is initiating more, and playing more, over the last however many games. The team is struggling to score points. End of story.

Lou can score, and Lou does just as good of job of setting people up as Turner does, if not better. They need him playing heavier minutes because the rest of the offense is really lagging. Turner doesn't help on the offensive end, at all. And through this entire stretch, the defense has still been great.

So you've got a team that's doing very, very well on the defensive end but struggling mightily on the offensive end. Who is more of a solution to that problem, Evan Turner or Lou Williams?

But there is no way you can compare his commitment to Meeks during his struggles early in the year to how he has shortened Turners minutes over the last 5-10 games.

Meeks provides efficient scoring, something the team desperately needs. So you're going to stick with him because he has a history of giving that to you. Why are you sticking with Turner? Hoping he'll raise his game to the point where he's an average offensive player? You're going to take minutes away from Iguodala, Jrue and Lou in the hopes that he suddenly starts doing something he hasn't shown any aptitude for at the NBA level to this point in his career?

Now I am usually not a stat guy but I just glanced at the season stats of Turner, Meeks and Lou. Seems the only thing separating Lou from the others is shot attemps.

Am i crazy in what i see?

Yeah, you're missing what they do with those shots (and FTs).

If you give Turner 100 possessions, he scores 47 points.

If you give Lou 100 possessions, he scores 52 points.

If you give Meeks 100 possessions, he scores 57 points.

It's a big difference. Jrue is at 49 points, and that's unacceptably low.

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Anonymous reply to bebopdeluxe on Feb 27 at 17:11
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How would you categorize the play of the entire team in the same time frame, maybe he was swept along. Every player looked good for the sixers in the first 15-20 games. Spencer Hawes had people thinking the sixers made a mistake (before he was injured) in not offering him a long term deal. Thaddeus Young looked like he developed a jump shot. Andre Iguodala looked like eye surgery had made him a good outside shooter (but not a good finisher, sadly).

The team as a whole looked good, and the team looks terrible now, and I believe they are in between the first 15-20 games (which are the games you choose to look at because they fit your argument) and the team that lost the last five heading into the break.

Evan Turner has looked progressively worse as the season progresses and the work he did with Herb McGee becomes less and less memorable and he reverts to what he was last year. Flashes of good but more often bad than good.

I have no predisposition to want him to succeed or fail. I have no predisposition to think that the coach likes or dislikes certain players as others her do. I think that Evan Turner has not earned the good graces and capital to excuse poor play so many here feel he has.

At some point someone has to play, Evan Turner has shown no ability to 'snap out of it' in his less than 2 seasons of play. When he is bad, he continues to be bad, when he has a good game it usually does not carry over.

I think for whatever reason you want Evan Turner to be a star, you think that he will become one, and much like those who dislike Iguodala you believe Evan Turner is capable of things he is not.

I have seen nothing to indicate that he is not a lesser version of Andre Iguodala, and you do not want two of them on the court at the same time for long periods, especially if Jrue Holiday has ceased progressing

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bebopdeluxe reply to Anonymous on Feb 27 at 16:50
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What is management's responsibility as far as matching a new hire with their skill set? Is it the player's fault that management says "well, I see that your programming experience is in Fortran, but this is a C++ job...you start today - good luck!"

On top of that, Turner did not have a choice of what "employer" to work for...he had to play for the Sixers. They said, "oh, we know that you are great on the ball, but, you see...we have Jrue Holiday and Andre Iguodala and Lou Williams...so, sorry about that - forget those on-the ball skills...we need you to be Ray Allen. Have fun with Herb Magee - we're sure that he can fix you right up!"

Why draft a dynamic on-the-ball guy, and then say "either be a great off the ball shooter or have fun being the backup SF"?

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Anonymous reply to bebopdeluxe on Feb 27 at 16:54
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I can not partake in a discussion that assumes facts not in evidence.

Or maybe the problem is that he isn't as dynamic in that role as the other three guys. Then what are you supposed to do? Limit their minutes to play the worst of the four?

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JH reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 19:37
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How many years of NBA experience Turner has and how many NBA summer training did he got in comparison with the others ? This make tons of difference. Compare him to second year Iggy and even lou's 3rd season as lou came from HS..
Jrue is on his 3rd season with at least 1 NBA summer program with the team setting goals and monitoring his development and he is not that far from ET´s game, Jrue is better shooter and the things that he does way better than Turner stops there. Iggy Brian's BFF is 7 years in the league and has a worst offensive game than ET's right now. Lou learned to shoot from distance with some consistence in the EJ year that is a strecht..
You can t compare a second year and guys with more than 5 years in the league. Is easy to make your point on internet debates but not very accurate.

Turner gained a ton of vital experience getting his ass handed to him in summer league prior to his rookie season. You might be on to something.

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JH reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 20:33
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Sure, the now west conference leader Thunder didn t get they asses handed to them with westbrock and durant in the line up learning they NBA ropes.. Thats how they got Harden..
And by NBA summer I mean the team setting goals and monitoring the player trhu the summer something that ET did not have the chance.. Guys need to play to get better, playing unexperienced guys in the NBA gets you tons of TO and losses, the problem is the sixers don t have the nerve to assume that and collect enough talent to gro together. As I always ask you, play Lou to distribute the ball and be a true PG and evaluate him from that, play Iggy to get you points and evaluate him from that, for God sakes play Dwight in the high post and evaluate him from that ! Turner has not had the chance to play his game, is so easy to kick a dying dog..
What bothers me is guys bashing the dude but they just don t wanna see that he's not been put in position to use his strenghs because of team structure and coaching

I'm sure this was as enlightening as your last post, but I can't get through the grammar. Turner hasn't been given a fair chance, duly noted.

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JH reply to Brian on Feb 28 at 12:32
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Im truly sorry english is not my first language but if you are out of argument, its ok to me.

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Court_visioN on Feb 27 at 12:30
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Where is the 11-0 option???

They're already 0-1.

Heh John Mitchell suggested two possible deals that could shake up the team the other day - AI9 for Dwight and AI9 for Gasol...guess that means he's gotten his marching orders already

sounds like the boot is off for hawes

@spencerhawes00 Just landed in philly headed to do a little rehab. And the boot is now history and I couldn't be more excited.

Collins' estimate was twice as long to rehab after the boot comes off as actual time in the boot before you're playing again. So a month from now, if that holds true.

Really, all this time talking about Turner and Turner's role is a waste of time. The biggest issue, for me, is Jrue. It doesn't matter if it's the system or whatever, but he simply can't continue to get to the line at this low of a rate, and it's unacceptable for his TS% to be 3% off of his first two seasons and under .500. His defense has been leaps and bounds beyond what it was last season, and that's great, but if his offensive numbers stay like this, he's going to drag the team's offensive down below average. Can't have that.

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Anonymous reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 17:30
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You can not put it all on Jrue, Elton Brand even when healthy is not as productive as he has been (I have not looked at his efficiency but I find it hard to think he is as efficient as he has been in the past) and his body does seem to be breaking down. One healthy season of Elton Brand for all that money is a pretty big boondoggle that it might turn out to be. Spencer Hawes lingering injury when it was presented publicly like it was healed and just waiting for Hawes to come back seems to be a problem too.

There is no one person responsible for the sixers offensive flailings. I wish there was. Unfortunately it is truly a team effort

Yeah, when I said "biggest issue" it was implied there were other issues which were not as "big" yet still existed. Brand's disappearance is another issue, but I don't find it as important as a 21-year-old falling off when should be improving.

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Anonymous reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 17:41
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I am still not sure what the cause of this is. At this point I hope it is a conscoius coaching decision to turn him into more of a shooter and less of a facilitator so that when collins goes Jrue can go back to normal. I have been very disappointed in what is going on with him this year (free throws aside)

It's kind of troubling from two different angles. First, I want him to be a PG, want him initiating offense and really kind of want him to have the freedom to go for at least a moderate amount of "home run plays." Having your primary goal being to not turn the ball over is limiting. But I think the issue goes deeper than that, to the point where it almost seems like Collins wants him to be a combo guard and take on the scoring role. Which is fine, that might be a better use of his skills with this particular team, but if that's what they want him to be, there's no way in hell you can give a guy this many shots w/ a .490 TS%. It's death to an offense.

So it's like on the one hand he's really not playing many minutes like a PG, though he is taking much better care of the ball, but on the other hand this other combo guard role, well, he's not playing that well either. With his improved jumper, and it is improved, he should be scoring much more efficiently, but his reliance on the improved jumper and his aversion to getting to the line adds up to a below average offensive player. It blows.

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Anonymous reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 17:54
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I agree with you, but still I hope that it is a coaching issue as it is one that can be resolved. If this is just the natural evolution of Jrue Holiday the basketball play it is much more troubling.

During a game I noticed the announcers say that if Jrue Holiday makes more than 3 turnovers in a game, he has to run (the team has to run?) in practice the next day.

Now, I am all for taking care of the ball, but if true that seems a bit draconian and rough on a kid who is just 21

I don't like it because there's no context. 10 assists and 3 turnovers is a great ratio, but 3 to 3 is terrible. Eh, whatever.

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Turtle Bay reply to Brian on Feb 27 at 17:54
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The fact that Vucevic and Allen have been playing heavy minutes has negatively impacted Jrue's offensive performance, though. Defenders can collapse on Jrue when he enters the lane because they don't have to worry about the bigs rolling to the basket. Both Vucevic and Allen often drift out to the elbow and look for jump shots instead. Watching Jrue drive recently has become pretty painful and has amounted to three guys smothering him when he gets into the paint.

Having said that, It's not as though Brand or Hawes is much more than a jump shooting threat either. It would really help Jrue's offensive development if we had a big who could run the pick and roll.

I voted for 5-6, with wins over the Pistons, Warriors, Celtics, Jazz and Knicks.

They should win the Indy game. If I had to bet, I'd say they put together a win streak after the Milwaukee game that lasts until they play the Heat.

7-4, with our losses coming against MIA, OKC, HOU, and MIL.

I'm still worried about the Knicks

I predict NYK to go 6-5 with losses coming against PHI, DAL, SAN, IND and CHI

I can't wait for the Celtics game just so I can see the Sixers crush them. It'll let Boston fans know that they're team is done and that they have been surpassed.

Talent level wise it's easy to see that the 76ers are very middle-of-the-pack, but within the team concept they hold up well against most of the elite tier. Despite the scheduling disadvantage, I'm calling OKC a win unless they acquire a legitimate post threat. I'm also predicting Jeremy Lin to have 7+ TO's in a Philly win at MSG. Still, losses will occur with Chi coming in with revenge on their mind as well as Miami being just too good. I'll add another loss by the Jazz for a 7-4 finish.

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Stan reply to Cin on Feb 27 at 19:31
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I put the Sixers in the 2nd tier.

1st
Heat
Thunder
Mavericks
Bulls

2nd
Lakers
Clippers
Spurs
Sixers
Magic

3rd
Knicks
Pacers
Hawks
Rockets
Nuggets
Celtics

Drop the Knicks from the third, add the Blazers.

Hawes is out another 2 weeks. I wonder if Thorn will be able to find another 35 year old journeyman center that kinda sucked during his prime.

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L. A. Steve on Feb 27 at 20:30
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Based upon the premise that there is no trade, and the rotation minutes remain pretty much the same, I predict 4-7. I hope I'm wrong, but as long as Doug keeps everything status quo, I'm not too optimistic.

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Tom Moore on Feb 27 at 21:19
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I guess I'll chime in on Turner.

If the Rising Stars revealed anyhing to me it's that Turner still a top wing prospect and probably only behind Paul George. If you think James Harden can handle large minutes at small forward then put him ahead on the list, but otherwise, in the last three drafts, I can only think of George as someone who is definitely ahread of Turner. That being said, guys like Derrick Williams and Jan Vesely, maybe even highly touted Marcus Morris, haven't really stretched their wings in the pro's, but each of them are also predominately power forwards.

So in summary, #2 ranked wing in my head, behind Paul George.

That being said, he doesn't deserve more minutes, much less to start! Confidence and role be damned, he can't hit a midrange jumper to save his life. This is truely disturbing as the midrange, namely pullups, leaners, and floaters, was considered the bread and butter of his arsenal in college. Actually, it can be aegues that the only reason he is getting open looks inside the arc is because he's garnered no respect from defenses outside of super-close basket proximity. Thankfully he can defend and rebound or he would get no minutes at all and rightfully so.

Now, to all those in a panic, all is not lost! As Kenny Anderson, world renowned talent scout, stated during the game, all that's left for Turner is to put it all together. The reason I still belive in his potential is that when he plays tall, which he very much is, then he will be a monster on the wings. If his shot starts to fall he'll draw a ton more contact from guys having to play him closer. The potential is there. Next year is make or break. This year he needs to grow in other aspects to fully compliment his natural skillset and become the all-around force we all thought was drafted.

Apology for poor grammar. Too much trouble on phone to go through editing process.

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thewhettingstone on Feb 27 at 21:44
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i'm not very optimistic about this team post all-star break. 3-8. sucks. but that's the way i see these guys headed. they're not the detroit pistons of 04. they've lost their collective ego to the lure of the individual ego. doug is not a great coach, he is a great speaker and motivator, and an ok nba coach. some of the players are not performing in a space of comfort provided by their coach. maybe all of this is due to injuries...but what i do hope is that doug relaxes and allows his players to help him coach them. also, jrue is not a point guard.

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Anonymous reply to thewhettingstone on Feb 27 at 21:51
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Jrue Holiday was a point guard until this season where the coaching staff seems to have changed his game.

He is a point guard, but coach collins won't let him be

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Turtle Bay reply to Anonymous on Feb 27 at 21:59
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Seems to be a trend after what happened at UCLA.

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Anonymous reply to Turtle Bay on Feb 27 at 22:02
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My understanding was that Jrue Holiday was recruited with the intent of being the starter at UCLA and the point guard ahead of him (Darren Collison, I forget whom?) did not enter the NBA draft as most people expected him to.

(As an aside, Ben Howland has been a pitiful failure as the UCLA head coach hss he not?)

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Turtle Bay reply to Anonymous on Feb 27 at 22:34
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That's another debate, but Howland did take UCLA to the NCAA finals and to two final fours in the last six years.

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eddies' heady's reply to Anonymous on Feb 27 at 23:14
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Howland has done very well for having to lose Trevor Ariza, Russell Westbrook, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute, Jordan Farmar, Jrue Holiday, Kevin Love, Aaron Afflalo, Malcolm Lee and Tyler Honeycutt all early to the draft. As well as putting Ryan Hollins and Darren Collinson in the league (who both stayed four years).

Dijon Thompson was also drafted but never panned out in the league.

Three straight Final Fours '06 to '08. More victories in that three year span than any other coach in UCLA's history including Wooden.

Not exactly a failure. Nowhere near pitiful.

What! Andre is #3 on yahoo whats trending list.......

Don't see that.

I agree with Brian. My biggest concern is Jrue's progression. He was on a steep upward progression after his first two seasons, and seemed to be able to step up in the playoffs against top competition. There was every reason to hope that he would either emerge as a total package PG or a great scoring PG who also defends.

Instead we have seen a non-PG who can defend and score inefficiency. He has not stepped up to the challenge of being asked to do more on offense... at least not thus far. And if anything he is playing less as a PG than ever in his short NBA career. Put it on Jrue or Collins- either way it is a bad sign for this team's future.

As for ET, sure, I'd love to see ET stepping up... but honestly any hope of that is based solely on his college success (and now an bogus All Star exhibition.) You never really know if a successful older college player will have similar success in the NBA- and I really don't think he has ever shown consistent success against NBA caliber players- and yes, that goes back to college, when he played in a Big 10 with zero legit NBA prospects at the wing position. And the few out of conference games he had against athletic wings he sort of struggled.

I'm not saying ET won't find success. I really want him too. But it's more of an iffy thing than with Jrue, who has already shown signs of breaking through at the NBA level.

I should probably clarify a bit. If Jrue doesn't turn into a pure PG, if he really is more of a two, or a combo guard who defends like he does right now, that's fine. That's a valuable player, a definite starter, but if that's the role he winds up in, he needs to be able to score a whole lot more efficiently than he is right now if he's going to wind up being anywhere near a building block.

If he is going to be a legit PG, then I don't care if his usage drops down a little bit and picks and chooses his spots to score, but if he's a combo, he needs to score more efficiently than he does right now, especially if he's going to be paired with Turner and/or Iguodala on the perimeter. Unless you're talking about getting a guy like Deron Williams to run the point.

It sounds to me like you're describing someone like Rodney Stuckey, who also happens to be Jrue's "best case" comparison.

I think Jrue's wirey, sneaky-strong frame along with his awesome quickness really help him on defense, obviously, but he's too slim to finish inside or through contact. He's especially narrow in his shoulders albeit fairly defined. His guile is what is going to carry him while he builds his physique. Until then, it's hard to expect him to be too efficient without the requisite tools necessary to get to the line or a lights out shooting ability to cause defenders to go over the screen.

"best case" on DraftExpress that is.

Yeah, Stuckey can't carry his jock on the defensive end. Jrue's a much better shooter, but Stuckey gets to the line. I'm not giving up on Jrue as PG, it's there. I don't know, I keep hoping for the best at this point, two or three years under Collins teaches Jrue the value of taking care of the ball, while the experience gives him a great handle on what's an acceptable risk for an interior pass.

I would much prefer him to develop into a more classic PG, but he regressed in that regard. Part of it is that Collin pulled the plug 1 year ago when he went to a PG by committee system by giving more point forward responsibilities to Iguodala. But Jrue has still had ample opportunity to create and run the show- and I don't feel like he has progressed in this regard. And I worry that Collins decided to make Jrue more a scorer because he did not really see a real PG in there.

I agree that Jrue does not have the look of a legit high volume scorer. He lacks the knack for drawing fouls or finishing after contact. He also lacks the craftiness that ET flashes. But his offensive game would be great for a lower volume scorer, since he has such a diverse game as both a good shooter and a decent driver. He's a guy you definitely cannot fall asleep on, but he is not a guy who can carry you for long stretches.

Is there anybody who is going to be either at the OKC or at the GSW games (wed or fri)? I am flying from Europe to attend, is there a place where some of you guys meet, say, at halftime?


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