My first blog in a long time. Enjoy.
Andre Iguodala: Before the season started I predicted Andre Iguodala would really struggle this season. While statistically he is having the best of his career, you can't argue that I was spot on with this one. Iguodala has been extremely expressive over his frustration with the roster. As the losses begin to pile on, Iguodala is growing more and more tired of this team. My opinion? There is nothing wrong with his attitude, period. Iguodala is a young player beginning to come into his own, is in a contract season, and simply wants to win. You gotta love that in a player. Iggy has performed up to expectations this season, and then some. He is a fantastic ball player. But if Iggy is to decide that he wants franchise money, he has to be kidding himself. Currently the Sixers only have 17 wins and are on pace for 25-29 wins, right around what I expected. How can you pay a guy franchise money who has already proved that he does not win you ball games? Iggy is a second tier player playing in a first tier players' body. I love him, but Iggy is a great player playing second fiddle to an even better player alongside him. Grade: B plus.
Andre Miller: Let me start by saying Andre Miller is the ultimate class, professional. He has shown that he can consistently impact the game on a very high level. Now, let me get this off my chest. WHAT THE HELL IS HE STILL DOING HERE? I mean come on, granted Ed Stefanski is most likely looking for the best deal out there, but you are just wasting this guys' career Ed! Andre Miller deserves to be an integral part of a contender. He is arguably having his second best season as a pro, get him out of this town Ed. Grade A minus.
Willie Green: Before the season started I predicted that Willie Green must show greater consistency. Willie Green is easily having one of his best seasons as a Sixer, but he has also shown he simply not the same player he was before his injury. While he is a great scorer when on, his inconsistency just kills the Sixers and is a large part to why the Sixers' offense lags many nights. Not only has his offense been inconsistent, but his defense, while improved, has been off and on all season long. This is one of the greatest weaknesses of the Sixers for a reason. In my opinion, due to his inconsistency on both ends of the court, there is no reason to start Willie Green any longer. While there is no one solution to solving the Sixers' problems on offense, something can be done on the defensive end. Thaddeus Young, our future starting swingman, has already proved he can hack it in this league at 19 years old. Regardless, Willie Green is much more effective coming off the bench as an offensive spark. Grade C.
Samuel Dalembert: Let me start by saying I was one of Samuel Dalemberts' biggest haters. I just did not like the way he played the game, or his lack of knowledge for the game, and his ridiculously overpaid salary before the season started. Simply put, the Samuel Dalembert has been the BEST Sixer this season. Dalembert is really coming into his own before our very own eyes. Already averaging a double double this season, Sammy easily has the largest impact on the offensive and defensive end when on the court. Even better, his contract looks rather reasonable right now. In my opinion Sammy is now a top ten center in the NBA. Want proof? Just watch the effectiveness of the offense and defense when Sammy is NOT playing. It drops considerably. If the Sixers can find a bruising PF in the draft or free agency this offseason, watch out. Samuel Dalembert could be even better if he has a scoring big man that takes up space next to him. Grade A plus.
Louis Williams: Once a risky, second round pick, Louis Williams is now viewed as one of the top up and coming scorers in the league. Louis Williams is an electric scorer anytime he is on the court. He can light up the score board inside and out, and make a few defensive plays that really impacts the course of a ball game. The negative? What position does he play? I don't think anyone really knows yet. Williams has taken great strides in his point guard skills such as dribbling, controlling the tempo of the game and limiting turnovers. He definitely has poing guard potential due to his very young age. But, would Williams be better if he played the two guard, which is his natural position, or even coming off the bench? I believe the answer is a combination of both. I think Williams has proved he is a starter in this league, that much is a given. This offseason is going to be huge for Louis Williams, not only for getting his new contract, but the Sixers FO really need to make a decision on where they would like Williams to play. Since a consistent, scoring shooting guard is a clear need for this team, do they add one in the draft or give Williams the position to put the ball in the hoop? A decision has to be made very soon due to the importance of the 2008 nba draft and our likely lotto pick. Green cannot start for this team anymore. Start Williams at the two guard or move Thad in at SF and Iggy to the two guard. Changes have to be made. Grade: A.
Thaddeus Young: I loved this kid in college, and even more now in the NBA. Lets get this out of the way, Young has a lot to learn. Thad displays dificulty handling the ball and staying within himself on offense. He simply looks nervous out there, but all of that is understandable since he is a rookie. What you have to like about Thaddeus Young is that he is already an impact player while being so raw. His potential as a defensive player is outstanding. One of his biggest weaknesses before he was drafted was his inability to rebound the ball. Well you can throw all of that out the window. He is a rebounding machine when in the paint, where he plays most of the time. While he doesn't get his points, it is not his fault. I don't think there is a play on offense where Thad is the number one scorer. Most of Thads points come from second chance opportunities and on fast breaks. He even got his first start last week. His potential is through the roof. I never would have thought he would look this good at such an early point of the season. Grade: B plus.
Jason Smith: Another great pick by the Sixers. Jason Smith has all the tools in the world to be a successful, starting power forward in the league some day. Rebounding, quick feet, an excellent finisher around the rim, good mid range shooting stroke, great fundaments, great athleticism, size, you can go on and on. Even more impressive is his understanding of the offense and defense. How many plays do you see Jason Smith taking a break on offense? Smith is constantly active on the offensive end, setting picks for others and making smart decisions with the ball. On defense, he is an excellent rotational defense evident by his better than believed shot blocking ability and aggresiveness in the paint. Grade B plus.
Reggie Evans: the worst player on the Sixers. Granted he has made the Sixers one of the best offensive rebounding teams in the league, it is just that his offense is THAT bad. If he was anywhere near adequate on offense the Sixers would have at least 5-10 more wins guranteed. Grade D plus.
In the grand scheme of things you have like the core of this roster. Louis Williams, Iggy, Jason Smith, Thad, and Samuel Dalembert. The biggest strengths of this team are athleticism and defense. That's about it. The two biggest weaknesses of the team are clearly the lack of a consistent scoring SG and a scoring PF in the paint. The Sixers are on pace to win a little less than 30 wins, right around what was expected. Everything is right on schedule. Miller has already proved to be one of the most underrated point guards in the league. Miller is a difference maker and should be moved sometime near the deadline of before or during the draft. We should get a considerable amount for Miller. Changes must be made in the starting lineup. Evans and Green should not be starting and that change will occur sometime in the next few weeks or so. Thad needs to start. Williams needs more playing time. Smith needs more minutes at PF. This entire season was and still is intended to see the young guys develop and progress their skills. Don't stop now.