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Hell yeah, Sixers keep beating teams they're not supposed to (record-wise). I hope next game shows what they can do in a possible playoff matchup against the Magic. Saludos.

These are some serious wins the Sixers are picking up. I think they've officially become the team you don't want to see in the first round.

i just got back from the wachovia and that had to be the best atmosphere in years. The ovation given to a.i was unbelievable and got me teary eyed. Great win this team can beat anybody the way their playing if they get in im starting to think they may be able to beat detroit who is starting to look old fast. You're right about Thad he had some clutch offensive rebounds and is jst so smart out there its hard to take him out of the game. id like to see them run a two man game with miller and young a little bit to give him some touches and a green light to shoot.

Yeah, I don't know if Thad has hit the wall or if Cheeks is just rewarding Carney for his good play lately, but Thad's minutes have taken a hit. He was out there for crunch time tonight, though, and he made a huge difference. I don't think the Sixers are an automatic out in the first round for anyone but Boston at this point.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 20 at 0:21
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I was a little curious about that. Rarely do you see a player brought in for just the fourth quarter. I don't see any wall-hitting here. He's been great lately with the exception of one game, I forget which.

I also saw these interesting remarks over on Yahoo!:

There’s a reason that Miller – 32 years old and seemingly out of step with the rebuilding process – hasn’t been shipped to a contender following his involvement in the trade that shipped Iverson out west.

But is this the smartest way to go? The most successful rebuilding efforts aren’t usually based around winning 41 games and accruing the 16th pick in the draft, and while Philadelphia’s postseason run might be pretty inspiring (and the playoff gate receipts can’t hurt), it might not go a long way toward netting this team the unmitigated superstar it needs to turn things completely around.

Even if Philadelphia signs Iguodala to a hefty contract extension, the 76ers should still have a little more than $10 million in salary-cap space this summer. But the free-agent pickings are slim and it’s hard to see Gilbert Arenas, Elton Brand or Shawn Marion, assuming they opt out of their contracts, signing with the 76ers.

A couple reactions to the Yahoo quote. First, going from a 41-41 team to a contender isn't a complete rebuild, especially when you're talking about a .500 team with mostly young pieces. It's an upgrade process at that point.

Second, that cap money can be used for a trade as well. So any disgruntled team or player is open season for the Sixers w/ their cap space.

Third, I'm not 100% convinced that a true superstar is needed. You add Elton Brand, Josh Smith, someone like that and you've got 5 good/very good pieces on the floor and very good defense. Isn't that how Detroit won it all?

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 20 at 3:53
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Elton Brand's stated, pretty clearly, that he's going nowhere. Nor will we have the money for him once we pay for Iguodala. Josh Smith may leave Atlanta, who knows with their crazy front office, but for the millionth time, a starting rotation of Miller-Iguodala-Young-Smith-Dalembert would have no real 4, no shooters, and might not have a real 2 either. Detroit had lots of shooters, which compensated for the lack of a superstar. And even Hamilton or Billups are better scorers than anyone on that hypothetical team. I mean, how many wins do you think Josh Smith could possibly be worth? How much better can our defense get? Here's a novel idea. What about Ben Gordon as a starting two guard/sixth man? Then you'd have a guy who could make big shots in the fourth quarter.

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Andres reply to Tray on Mar 20 at 9:08
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Great idea. Gordon is somewhat inconsistent, but he's clearly an upgrade over Willie.
About Josh Smith, he could be a valuable piece because when the Sixers play with Evans, is basically 4 on 5 on offense. He might be a good rebounder, but not a very good defender or shot blocker, and that leaves Sam to do all the work down low.

I just saw Brand interviewed last night on ESPN and he said he's letting his agent deal with where he's playing. Said he wouldn't comment on whether he was going to opt out or not.

Also, if they sign Brand, who will be an unrestricted free agent, they only have to get year 1 of his contract under the cap. If they sign Josh Smith, a restricted free agent, then it's the average yearly salary that counts against the cap. I believe.

Also, having Josh Smith as your starting #4 over Reggie Evans for 82 games is probably worth I don't know, maybe 10 wins? Maybe more.

Gordon is going to cost too much for basically a slightly better version of Willie Green. Yes, he can shoot better than Willie, but his D is worse than Willie's. I also think that'll be too much money to pay for a sixth man.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 20 at 14:24
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Slightly?? This is a guy who's capable of dropping 30+ on any given night. Probably one of the best instant offense guys in the game. Willie's basically been a wretched NBA player until December of last year, and I think what he did for four years says more about his true abilities than what he's done over the past four months. And "he can shoot better" is a huge understatement too, the one guy can't shoot at all and the other's one of the best shooters in the league. I think that would be a huge addition. If you want to say he's a slightly better version of Louis Williams, that would be a little more defensible. But even Williams isn't a real perimeter threat, and he's not nearly good enough to hog the ball the way he does.

I'm not really big on defending Willie Green, but Gordon's a career 43% shooter, Green is 41.6%. Gordon is absolutely a much better three-point shooter (41%), but again, is it worth $11M/year for a 6th man volume shooter who plays no defense? I'd rather over-pay for Calderon.

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Joe reply to Brian on Mar 20 at 17:50
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I agree almost completely with everything you have said Brian.

Ben Gordon? Why do you want a ball stopper? Honestly. Look at teams that win, they don't have these bums. He is marginally better than Willie Green. Willie has been better this season though in my opinion. Willie is a better defender as well. We already have someone to make those big shots right now. He was the guy who made them in the post against AI last night.

Lou Williams actually looks like he could be a very good defender. Anyone notice that too or am I crazy? He does a good job keeping his man in front of him.

We are extremely similar to the Pistons in my mind. I can go player by player and give you dead on comparisons when it comes to their championship team. Thad and Prince is so on.

Since when are Rip Hamilton and Chauncey Billups offensive powerhouses? Seriously. You say they are so much better of scorers... why? Miller is on the same level as Billups I think. If anyone wants an argument I could type one out. Iggy is 6 years younger and is a much better player now than Rip was at his age. Why is Rip so much better?

The only difference? They got Sheed to put them over the hill. We don't have a Sheed on this team. Josh Smith could be our Sheed maybe.

@Max. Don't have full confidence in Ed. He has yet to do anything really except make a good trade to dump Korver's salary. You are setting yourself up for heartbreak honestly.

yeah Calderon is 10X better than Gordon.

The main difference, and I agree with Tray on this, is that the Pistons can spread the floor with those guys. Billups, Rip, Tayshaun and even Wallace can hit the three. The Sixers do need someone to do that, someone besides Iguodala who needs to improve his percentage.

That being said, Rip is not, nor has he ever been a good defender. Miller, Iguodala, Thad, Josh Smith and Dalembert would be a better defensive team than the Pistons team that won the title, in my opinion.

Also, this Sixers team will probably finish with a low-40's win total, with only Andre Miller as a true veteran in the lineup. Their point differential will probably be a point or two on the plus side. They may or may not get out of the first round of the playoffs, who knows? What I do know is that adding Brand would make them a much more potent offensive team, and probably keep them even on defense, if not improve there as well. Adding Josh Smith will make them a better defensive team and a better offensive team.

Keep THAT group together for three years or more and who knows what they will evolve into. We aren't talking about a .500 team that's just barely holding on to a playoff spot with a bunch of over-the-hill veterans, we're talking about a team with a ton of upside that's developing players and winning while they're doing it. I don't think you can point to another team with this same mixture, so who knows where they go.

One last thing. A lot of people have talked about how you have to have a superstar to be contender in the NBA today, the Pistons were the exception that proved the rule. Well, I'm not 100% sure we don't have one in Iguodala. If he boosts his 3pt% into the 35-40% range he'll be an impossible guard at the two. With everything else he gives the team (assists, rebounds, defense) he could very well be at the superstar level in a year or two.

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Tray reply to Brian on Mar 20 at 23:35
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I agree that:

Louis Williams is a pretty solid defender

Iguodala has a small but real chance of becoming a superstar

and... that's about it. About Brand, this is what the LA Times had to say recently:

Even though Brand can become a free agent, most talk is about him recovering to help next year's team.

"I'm not one to just up and leave a situation," he said. "I'm not a quitter. I owe it to the fans. I owe it to Coach [Mike Dunleavy]. He's out there coaching every single play."

It would be unlikely that Brand would walk away from a large contract coming off a serious injury with few teams in a position to throw money at free agents. But Brand also has a strong desire to win.

If he does opt out, the Clippers are intent on re-signing him and can tack on another year to Brand's deal, while other teams can only offer him deals of up to five years.

______________________

Now, about the team with Josh Smith, again, they'd desperately need some shooting, and scoring in general (maybe that could be addressed by letting Miller go when his contract expires and signing - this is just a crazy thought - Baron Davis), and I don't know that I agree with the notion that they'd be better than the championship Pistons defensively, mainly because Dalembert's substantially worse than in-his-prime Ben Wallace and Mo Cheeks isn't quite Larry Brown.

Best atmosphere since '01.

Every game should be like that the rest of the way. That's two games down to the final possession against playoff-caliber teams in the past week that the Sixers won. Finishing close games now is exactly the type of experience they need to get on their way into the playoffs.

The Crowd was outstanding! The second half was intense basketball seeing as the Nuggets came out with a 7-0 run to tie it right away. Mo is definitely giving Carney some love with extra Thad minutes but that has to be understood, he has somewhat earned minutes at someones expense. Thad got his in the 4th though! It has to be said that many of us at home no doubt were fightin back the emotion tears until the lil big man gave us all the hand-to-ear one more time. That was his signature move to us all who loved him. Number 3 will grace the ceiling eventually in Philly. What a great game!

Last nights game was epic. I had to listen to the 4th quarter on the radio; and I could still feel the tension. Awesome.

That Yahoo comment - another cheap analysis. First, this is probably another one of those clowns that predicted a bottom conference finish with 22 wins. For the sixers to maybe be above 500 is a real accomplishment in and of itself. The reality is - it's not that the sixers are just going through the motions here in order to get 41 wins. It's the WAY they are doing it - they are beating some of the best teams in the league. The youngsters are blossoming before our eyes. These young guys - in order to win big in future seasons they have to expect to win - they have to get that taste - and it's happening now. As for the "superstar" signing, I have full confidence in Ed Stefanski. He will find a way to upgrade the roster so they can make the next step. Exciting times, indeed.

I don't think the core of the Pistons spread the floor any better during their championship seasons than the Sixers will in due time.

Besides Billups, they had noone that was feared really from the outside. Prince didn't shoot many 3s and Sheed shot a horrible percentage. Rip did not have NBA 3 point range at the time and was a midrange specialist.

I would argue they didn't spread the floor well at all, but pretty much played great defense, didn't turn the ball over, and had contributions made by veterans off the bench like Corliss and unexpected guys like Okur.

The Pistons now are a completely different team, since Rip has drastically improved his 3 pointer. And Ben Wallace is no longer the Center, but Rasheed/McDyess.

We do need a Rasheed Wallace though. That one more guy... Josh Smith I would argue. He is good at taking ill advised 3s and sometimes making them like Rasheed. Jason Smith is Okur.

I would argue Thad and Iggy will spread the floor better than Rip and Prince did in due time.


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