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Playoff Ticket Punched

"Now other fans can see Iguodala is an asshole"- Narrative taken from that story by half of the Sixers populace.

I've really been encouraged by Hawes' limited minutes as well. Tonight he did a few nice things, but then they got him out so he didn't kill the team and what they got was a bonus.

Turnover was very good all-around tonight from the little I saw from the game, 2nd Half. It wouldn't just be this season if he doesn't go berserk in at least one of these last two games. I could see him knocking down about four or five of those rebound and coast to foul line pull-ups. I didn't see that one tonight, but he is really good at that for an NBA player. Too bad that's not really a sustainable skill due to his struggles with the jump shot.

Seems like a pretty good all around effort from everybody. I actually think that the Sixers take the Bulls six if they can avoid Miami.

enjoyed your courtside observations, Brian. Glad you saw a good game. I agree with Rich that I see a 6 game series with Chicago

I am especially encouraged by your take on Jrue-anyone else feel like he could be extra-motivated to have an impressive postseason and reverse the slight hit his rep around the league has taken thus far this season?

There's also the hometown factor for ET and Igoudala vs Chicago...

Looking at the last 4 games, I would say the Sixers earned their way into the playoffs and didn't just back in. They played well enough to win at home vs. Indiana and got burned by the Pacers' insanely hot 3-point shooting that game (13-24; for reference, the Pacers went 3-12 from 3 vs. the Sixers just a few nights later). And the road win vs. the Pacers was only their 2nd loss in the last 14.

Looking at the Sixers' stats from the last 5 games provides a glimpse as to how they might succeed in the playoffs. Iguodala led the way at 17-8-6-2 with 52% FG and 47% 3P (though a laughable 44% FT), Jrue was at 16-3-5-2 with 48% FG and 50% 3P (helped by the 6-6 vs. the Cavs), Thad 15 PPG on a crazy 67% FG and an impressive 87% FT, Lou 14-3-3-2 with 38% 3P, Brand 13-6 with 54% FG, and Turner 8-5-4 with 53% FG. That is how the Sixers had enough offense these last few games while getting next to nothing from their centers and Meeks, and those six players will be key vs. either the Bulls or Heat.

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JC reply to Statman on Apr 24 at 9:54
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So is there any hope for the dead weight to step up? Brand can't play center for a full series can he?

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eddies' heady's reply to Statman on Apr 24 at 10:51
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Really? Didn't back in? You have to just be making yourself feel better, no?

They laid an egg vs a depleted ORL team. Played shoddy D vs a hot shooting IND team. Played a CLE team that is playing out the string and was somewhat depleted. Still had to go to overtime vs an IND team that wasn't hot from three. And played a NJ team that is depleted and playing several D-Leaguers.

This is without mentioning a team that started out with 20 wins and was 11 games over .500 on Feb. 13th only to win 14(!) more games over the next 2 1/2 months and some 70 odd days. And didn't sew up a berth until the 64th game in a 66 game season. Completely pissing away a substantial lead in the division along the way.

6-9 in Feb.
8-8 in March
5-7 currently in April w/ 2 games left to go

What is that stat I read the other day that the Sixers have like the 4th worst record since the break? Along with Charlotte and the rest of the dregs.

I'd view it through a lense that they clearly backed in, and should feel very fortunate to have even been able to do that. A watered-down East can be quite the elixir.

While I respect you immensely, you didn't just use "succeed" and "playoffs" in the same sentence did you? I wholly realize there's different degrees and ways of fandom, but you've been around the bend about as long as I have and at some point you have to accept the blow from the reality stick, no? And this is coming from a usual optimist.

I'm on the exact opposite wavelength in that I think the playoffs are just going to shine an even brighter light on the deficiencies of this team. No post threat, no go-to scorer, lack of getting to the line, limited fast break opportunities, and depending on long 2's with not many consistent shooters (if any) is a recipe for absolute disaster.

Guess we'll see and that's why they play the games. I love playoff basketball as much as the rest but color me unexcited for the first time in a long time. Making the playoffs has this feel of just more torture, wish I could shake this feeling, but it is what it is I guess.

And feeling like this is very abnormal for me. Guess I need to get stitched up from that reality stick beatdown.

Eddies': sorry the optimism has been beaten out of you, but if you read my post closely, I wasn't really being optimistic either. I wrote "might succeed" and didn't specify how probable the "might" will be. Does considering the possibility make me an optimist? I guess that is what Sixer fans are left to these days, debating degrees of non-pessimism!

To your points, "backing in" to the playoffs is technically clinching while losing, which the Sixers didn't do. The second most common definition is clinching while winning but playing badly, which the Sixers also didn't do. If you want to consider longer periods of the season, then it's fine to say the Sixers backed in. My observation was that, however they got to 31-29, the Sixers played some of their better basketball of the season to go 3-1 and clinch their spot. Good basketball is good basketball. (Side note: the Sixers' 34-30 record would also qualify them for the playoffs in the West, and 7 of the top 10 teams in Hollinger's Power Rankings at ESPN are from the East.)

Regarding the rest of my post (the "might succeed" part), do I think it has a high probability of happening in the playoffs? No, of course not. But see the observation for what it's worth: if they succeed, that is how they will do it, resting on the backs of those six players. If there is anything to be optimistic about heading into the playoffs, it is that the "wheat has been sifted from the chaff," so to speak, allowing the coaching staff to finally identify its best assets and start to plan accordingly around them.

Turner last night: "I think the most important thing is coach Collins may be able to sleep tonight, and that will lead to a peaceful atmosphere"

LOL. for my money Turner has the most attractive personality on the team...recall reading that from some reporters with lockerroom access too. Andre comes across standoffish; Jrue somewhat robotic. Turner seems like a clever guy

Anyway, that's certainly a factor in the positive filter through which I view him(try to admit my biases, lol)

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Hobbes reply to mymanjrue on Apr 24 at 12:10
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Clever, yes. Class clown or headcase, though, might be open questions.

I'm still trying to figure out how he never managed to win a role on the starting squad from a guy whose box score last night read...21 minutes, 5 points, 0 rebounds, 0 assists, 0 steals, 0 blocks, 1 turnover, and 3 personal fouls (fairly typical outing, too!).

Just below that quandry is another: the picture of Turner wearing an orange foam helment at a Fliers game.

I think I'd prefer determined and aggressive over clever and silly. I still wonder about Jrue's skill set. But last night he was balling with a bleeding nose, showing more than a little leadership and chutzpah. That's the kind of personality I prefer.

Yeah, you make decent points...Jrue's personality I think is better suited to NBA success. Obedient, doesn't make waves.

I would say that Turner HAS, through his play, earned a starting spot over Meeks and would(and have, somewhat excessively, lol) argue that the fault is with Collins for not giving it to him...but that's been beaten to death around here

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Hobbes reply to mymanjrue on Apr 24 at 12:35
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...by rights, should be an interesting summer.

oh indeed

Beat pitiful Cavs, a 'not lax but not especially hungry' Pacers and Deron-less Brooklyns for a ticket to the Sweet 16.

Wouldn't say they walked tall through the front door, nor have they snuck in the back. More like a routine entry through the side door for this cast of AAU characters - Lavoy Allen, the lone 4-yr letterman - and their malt shop head coach.

Men's Division opponent, Bulls or Heat, ahead. What will the occasionally-spunky but middleweight Sixers bring to the table? It remains to be seen. They'll be comfortably girded in an upset dream and nobody-expects-anything armour, "Rocky" head gear. Should fight hard and loose as long as they can hear the bell. Can backs be against the ropes when a series is tied 0-0?

More questions: Will Iggy continue to shoot from deep like Allan Houston? Are there advanced statistics he can wear to help him improve his foul shooting? Will Elton push, hack and will his team to his 2nd-ever playoff series win? Will Jrue, Lou and Evan get over themselves and get the ball to the right spots on the floor, early? Will Spencer locate his inner Republican Convention and delegate respectable lane resistance? Will Jody heat up like Frank Selvy? Is there a Sam Young in the house? Will fireman Thad Young continue to display courageous fight against the hot front walls of Chicago or Miami? Will Joey Crawford, Violet Palmer and Zach Zarba be assigned to referee Game 1? During which game will Mt. Collins erupt and spew lava? Did Rod Thorn really fall asleep at the Molly Pitcher rest stop last night?

hahaha got three laughs from me, dolla dolla bill-"their malt shop head coach," "ill Spencer locate his inner Republican Convention and delegate respectable lane resistance," and the red hot ending,"Will Joey Crawford, Violet Palmer and Zach Zarba be assigned to referee Game 1? During which game will Mt. Collins erupt and spew lava? Did Rod Thorn really fall asleep at the Molly Pitcher rest stop last night? "

keep on keepin' on brother(like a bird that flew)

Yo, mymanjrue, am glad the laughs transfer! Playoffs should provide more fodder. Thanks for your feedback.

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Hobbes reply to Dollar Bill on Apr 24 at 12:45
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AAU. Home entry ways. March Maddness. Boxing. The GOP. Firefighters. Turnpike geography.

Now Dollar Bill is mixing all his metaphors. Please, someone, make this season end.

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Hobbes reply to Hobbes on Apr 24 at 12:56
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...and I've lost my ability to spell.

This organization melts peoples' brains. Get us to baseball season, please.

it started already, butyou can be forgiven for trying not to notice

Et tu, Hobbes? Pile on! I should have known you were the clubby sort.

Unfortunately, 'AAU' is NOT a metaphor. College training: Williams 0; Holiday, Young, Hawes 1; Brand, Iguodala 2.

In closing, theoretically, ALL WORDS are metaphors, mere symbols of the drive to share human experience, Walt Whitman's yawp, a reach across a divide. You being a writing instructor, I'm surprised you needed that reminder. Do keep stirring, keep mixing, till your well runs dry.

is not this whole sweet life but a metaphor?

'Tis, until PECO, or another provider, shuts off your juice.

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Hobbes reply to Dollar Bill on Apr 24 at 15:02
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All words are signs, not metaphors. Some are largely denotative, others more suggestive/conotative/metaphoric. And when we are using them to represent or share human experience, facility with the codes and conventions of usage counts plenty.

Regardless, I wasn't "piling on." I like your style, and I share your assessment of most things 76ers. (but you were garbling your metaphors; if the backhanded compliment didn't work, that even your clever writing seems weakened by this exhaustive team, then I apologize.)

Signs, metaphors, symbols, stand-ins... semantics.

"Language is intrinsically approximate, since words mean different things to different people, and there is no material retaining ground for the imagery that words conjure in one brain or another." - John Updike

Thanks, but no need for an apology. I enjoyed the process of writing, and wasn't submerged by your remarks.

Agree, we have some similar angles on the current Sixers.

heat up like Frank Selvy

I read about Selvy not long ago, scored 100 points in a college game. But he shot 39% in a rather undistinguished 10-year NBA career, so is mentioning him as a marksman a nod to his college performance?

Ironically, the much-maligned former Sixer Willie Green, whom you have staunchly defended through the years, had a much better shooting year than Meeks this year, while playing very similarly otherwise. Who knew that Willie had it in him? (He never shot like that with the Sixers, that's for sure.)

Yeah, Statman, was referring to the scorching Selvy of Dixie, though I did see him play at Convention Hall for the blue & white Lakers.

1st pick of '54 NBA draft. Averaged 41.7 his Furman senior yr, topped 50 8 times; not surpassed until Pistol. 41-66 (!) from field, 18-22 from line in 100 pt game (worth reading about; one source - SI Vault, 2/6/95, "Man Of The Century").

Was a decent pro guard; All-Star for '55 Hawks, '62 Lakers. Missed shot in regulation's end that would've given LA the crown in '62; lost in OT to BOS. See for yourself (#11), 2nd half of Game 7 is on youtube - "1962 NBA FINALS GM 7 Lakers vs. Celtics" (introduced by Boston legend Johnny Most)

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Willie, a good soldier who's faced adversity on- and off-court. Found nice shooting groove this year. Whatever his results, I remain a fan.

There was a reference on NBA.com to a Inquirer article in which Lou said he would not be exercising his option. Has anyone else seen mention of this. I know a lot of people on this board have mixed feelings about Lou (to put it kindly) but I could easily see his absence costing the Sixers a few games.

I believe someone reported he said he would be opting out (before the game against the pacers?) and then Lou said he hadn't decided yet.

If the plan is to try to max out the wins next season - and I'm not saying that should or will be the plan - then Lou staying for the final year of his deal would be a help, possibly a big help. If the plan is to rebuild, or even change the direction of the roster, then Lou staying for the final year is a great thing, because he'd have tremendous trade value on a one-year, $6.4M contract. Basically, Lou for one year is a great thing, no matter what. The only issue I'd have with Lou being on this team next season is if he's signed to an extension similar to Thad's. That would be a bad move, imo.

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Stan reply to Ben on Apr 24 at 14:41
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He would be a fool not to opt out. At worst some team will offer him the full MLE which is more than what he is getting paid now.

Yeah, if I was his agent, it wouldn't be a question. If he doesn't opt out, the only real reason for it is that he likes it here.

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JC reply to Brian on Apr 24 at 14:54
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If Lou wants to stay doesn't his agent just demand a new deal or else he opts out? And/or if the Sixers want him to stay don't they have to offer him a new deal? Or isn't that how contract extensions work?

Lou has to decide on the final year first, before free agency even opens. If he doesn't opt out, I'm sure his agent will immediately be looking for an extension.

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MCT reply to Brian on Apr 24 at 15:18
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Would there be any difference if he opts out and then re-signs vs. extending his current deal, as far as the flexibility in the terms of the contract?

Well, yeah. He could have a much higher salary next year if he opts out.

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MCT reply to Brian on Apr 24 at 15:50
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I meant more the way the contract is structured, like for example can they only extend for "x" number of years, where as a new contract can be longer?

Yeah, extension can only total three years, I think. This was a bit murky and no CBA is available yet, so I may be wrong. I think he can get an extra year if re-signed as a FA.

A funny little tidbit from @kirkgoldsberry. Turner, along with Dirk and Al Horford, are most efficient at the right short corner jumper over the last two years. That's interesting.

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MCT reply to Rich on Apr 24 at 15:02
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Sweet, maybe that can be the one shot that he always hits - like Uncle Jesse in the Full House episode with Kareem Abdul Jabbar in it.

Am I the only one who saw that episode? Should I not have admitted that?

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Rich reply to MCT on Apr 24 at 15:40
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Up there with the Family Matters Larry Johnson "Grandmama" episode.

As for Turner, I'd like to know the numbers. They are always wide open shots, so maybe the misses stick out in my head more.

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Stan reply to MCT on Apr 24 at 17:11
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yikes. For some reason I remember that episode and I was 6 or 7 when I watched it.

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L. A. Steve on Apr 24 at 16:32
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Last night's Player of the game was Evan Turner: 19:55 mpg, 5 rpg, 4 apg, 13 ppg on 6 for 8 shooting, and great defense, not to mention the fact that he ran the offense with aplomb. The idea of having a 6' 7" point guard is a tremendous asset, but it's been so long since there has been one we forget, mostly because they're so hard to find. Last night, for the first time this year, I saw the starting unit actually giving Evan the ball and letting him run the show, and when he was conducting the offense, the team looked good, he looked good, and his teammates got good shots.

Why Doug Collins doesn't see this is a mystery to me, but unless he sees the error of his ways, I predict real friction in the future. I don't believe Evan will stand for it next year. This season he played the "good soldier", under the guise tough love, but next year, I predict confrontation. Personally, I think ET is the most talented player on the roster. Now I know that, currently, his shot isn't that great, but as hard as he works I have no doubt that sometime within the next 2 years he'll become an above average shooter. Even now, other than shooting, his skill set is excellent, and grades out as follows: a very good passer, a good defender, he has a great handle, great rebounder, can go to the basket, has great one-on-one moves, and is unselfish, a good team guy. OK, I know everyone doesn't shares my opinion, in fact most people on this board seem to think he's a bust, or close to it.

So, in the event that a trade needs to happen, which could very well be if DC remains the coach, I purpose this deal, Tyreke Evans for Evan Turner. Tyreke, a former ROY, a scoring 2 who would insure that Jure Holiday continues to play the 1. Although I believe that trading Evan Turner would be a dumb move for the Sixers, we all know dumb moves are part of the Sixers' D&A. So if they're going to move him why not move him to a team that is 13 miles from my house, the Anaheim Royals, featuring Evan Turner at the point, in return the Sixers get a talented young 2 with local ties, sounds good to me.

Want no part of Tyreke.

The problem is that Evan Turner isn't even the best ball handler on this team. In the PG role, he's probably an average guard. If Turner wants to be successful, he needs to emulate Paul Pierce or Manu Ginobili.

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L. A. Steve reply to Stan on Apr 24 at 17:40
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Frankly, I don't know who is better, but even so, it's much more about the pass than the dribble. The ability to set-up teammates for easy shots, deliver the ball on time to the cutters, seeing the whole court, reading the defense and calling the correct play, and just being a player who gets greater satisfaction from making an assist than scoring a basket, very few players have that mentality or skill. Personally, I think Evan is the only playern on this team who has that ability.

I think it's kind of insane that you've watched Iguodala and Turner play and you think Turner is the one who relishes setting his teammates up.

To say that Turner is a better passer than Iguodala in any respect (desire, judgment, vision, execution) is to turn a blind eye to actual results, and I would venture to say that even most Iguodala critics would be forced to agree.

Yeah, I think you are severely overrating Turner's passing ability. Look at his assist numbers, not amazing. I don't think he's respected enough as a scorer for his passing to be way above average. Oh, and Iguodala is a better passer.

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L. A. Steve reply to Rich on Apr 25 at 13:45
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Comparing Dre's numbers to Turner's numbers is comparing apples and oranges. Dre is an 8 year vet while ET is a 2nd year player. Dre has a career average of 36 mpg while Evan's career average is 24 mpg, (1st yr 23, 2nd yr 26). Unfortunately the most telling stat, touches per game, is unavailable, that statistic really describes the assist opportunities. However, I think it is safe to assume that Andre has many more opportunities to make assists than Turner. I mean, most of the time ET is on the floor he is filling the role of a spot-up 2, a role that affords him few touches. On the other hand, AI plays more minutes and has more touches than than any of his teammates.

Brian is right Evan isn't the only player on the team who thinks pass first, both Andre and Spencer fit that bill. When I made that rebuttal post I was thinking about the total package of skills for the point guard position, of which passing is a major component. However I didn't really spell out the non-passing attributes as well as I should have. Most of that short rebuttal was focused on the passing component, what I should have said at the end was, I believe the Evan Turner is the only player on the team that has the complete skill set to become a great point guard. To be honest I was thinking more about the message in my original post, actually, I didn't put a lot of time on that comment, my bad!

Look the main thought of the post was the trade, ET for Tyreke Evans. Other than Brian nobody addressed it. Actually, you guys proved my point, paraphrasing the basic feedback, it went something like I predicted, he aint they good. I think your feelings mirror that of the coach, so why not move him. Frankly, I think Brian underestimates Tyreke, if you're looking for a scoring 2, and they are, he's more suited for this team than Evan. He has good numbers: 34.4 mpg, 16.6 ppg, 4.5 apg, and 4.6 rpg, I would expect Sixers Management would be thrilled to make that trade, however, I'm not so sure about Anaheim, (think positive). So we'll see what they do, I just don't think it's going to work out well next year if he has to sit behind Jody Meeks again.

Steve, I for one appreciate your input on Turner because it jibes with my instinctive reaction from watching him the last couple years but I often feel leery of trusting my instincts because i'm not generally as knowledgeable in these matters as many others...

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L. A. Steve reply to mymanjrue on Apr 25 at 18:39
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Gee, you fooled me, I think your basketball acumen is great. I love your stuff and think it's right on point, Likewise, your skill as a writer is first rate.

Don't sell yourself short, you're right on the money, just keep the faith, I think in the end will be on the winning side of this argument.

I really disagree about your characterization of Iguodala. "The Point Forward" was a mini experiment that I remember being used for a little while last year, but he's off the ball a lot this year as the team sort of runs this low percentage, share it in common offense. If anything, Turner gets the ball more than Iguodala.

There is a nice stat called usage rate that tells you how many possessions a player "uses" (shooting and passing) which shows who is involved in more plays, be it passing or shooting. ET's is higher than Dre's this year. I think that helps prove that your perception is probably a little off about who has the ball more, at least for when they are on the court.

Oh, and as for Tyreke, I'd probably trade Turner for him, but I don't think Sacramento would do that. Mr. Evans has plenty of warts as well. If that were proposed though, I think I would do it.

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L. A. Steve reply to Rich on Apr 25 at 18:58
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OK, here's how it works. After the opponent makes a basket, a big takes it out and passes it to Evan, who dribbles it up the court and passes it to a teammate somewhere around half court. He then cuts through the lane, and goes and stands in the corner, waiting for a pass that never comes. This is the play DC has designed for him. He's not really involved in the offense, however, he gets a bogus touch, such is the fallacy of your stat.

Usage rate doesn't take passing into account, it's just shots, free throws and turnovers.

thad, eb and AI9 didnt travel with the team for the next 2 games

hopefully jrue and lou minutes are limited
the sixers also signed xavier silas

I added the shot chart and the link to the game capsule above. Enjoy (click the link to expand the full story above if it's collapsed for you).

Who do you think the better passers is- Jrue or Evan? To me it seems like Evan is the more natural passer.

Right now, I think they're both too much shoot-first. Also hard to evaluate considering the system. I saw more from Jrue in his first two years than I've seen from Evan in his first two in the passing department, however.

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Rich reply to Stan on Apr 24 at 21:10
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This is only a debate after Jrue's disappointing season, but I feel he is the better passer. I look at the season he had last year and see that. Really, I think Jrue's development has taken a hit this year because of the "no risk" offense Collins has ran. It doesn't explain why his TO numbers are pretty much the same, that's his fault, but his assist to turnover is still much better than Turner's this year.

Brian says it a lot, but Jrue would benefit tremendously with a big who could catch and finish, something he hasn't had at least the last two years. If I were Jrue, this summer I would work on one thing and one thing only: The pick and roll. He has the talent and IQ to be deadly in it, but he just isn't good enough there. That has to be a weapon.

As far as who is a more natural passer, I still think it's Jrue. While Turner does make a very gifted pass from time to time, Jrue is more efficent and cerebral player. Less sizzle, but often a little more substance.

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