With Jrue Holiday’s cameo in the rookie-sophomore game, that about does it for the Sixers all-star weekend festivities.
Tomorrow’s SNS will look forward to the last 26 games: what will, might, could, should, and can’t happen. Today, however, we’ll do a little review, with some videos, showing the good, the bad, and the ugly of this season so far.
This comes first, since I want to get it out of the way early, kinda like the Sixers did themselves.
2-4: The Sixers record against Washington and Cleveland, who have combined for two fewer wins than the Sixers have all season. The two losses to Washington were horribly painful, while the Sixers account for 20% of Cleveland’s victories.
3-13: The Sixers record in the first 16 games, which left them last place in the Eastern Conference. The last place team in the West, the Clippers, also started slow but rebounded fairly nicely.
Spencer Hawes’ running style: Well, it hasn’t hurt the team, but it’s very awkward looking.
Fouling behind the 3-point line (and other epic collapses): The Sixers haven’t made the smartest decisions on the court all year – given their scoring differential, Basketball Reference gives the Sixers a projected 31-25 record, four games better than their current record. Late-game mistakes have doomed the Sixers on multiple occasions. First, Jrue Holiday’s inexcusable foul on John Wall, 35 feet from the rim, doomed the Sixers in Washington in their fourth game of the year. Then, well, this happened against Orlando:
And then this happened not much later:
There’s more, but I don’t want to talk about the past.
Evan Turner’s expectations: Evan hasn’t played well for a large part of the season, but recently his play has improved and his versatility has helped the Sixers win a number of games this year. He hasn’t lived up to pre-draft expectations, but he’s come around well. Still, he needs serious work on his jumper.
Jrue Holiday’s defense: Where did it go? I know people love his defensive potential, but it seems like he’s taken a step back from last year. With this in mind, I believe that this is a primary reason for Doug’s moving of the offense in Andre’s direction. With less responsibility on the offensive side of the court, he could focus more on his defense, which gave him steady playing time last season.
Lou Williams’ shot selection: He needs to drive the lane more, although in recent games he has done this more. Hopefully it continues to get better, as I’ve had enough with the long, contested twos.
Marresse Speights: He’s entered and exited the doghouse so often this year I’m not sure what to make of it. Recently, he seemed to finally start trying on defense again, then his playing time diminished and eventually disappeared completely, being replaced at times by Darius Songaila. I’m not sure if I want to blame this totally on him, as at times I’ve been confused by the player rotations. But if he played good defense consistently, then I wouldn’t have to include him.
Elton Brand: His numbers across the board are up, his defense has been relatively strong, and he’s finally producing at an acceptable level (though his contract is still too large). Brand leads the team in scoring and rebounding and provides that “veteran presence” that coaches love to rave about.
24-16: The Sixers record since their 3-13 start, a .600 winning percentage. Rough losses aside, this has been quite a turnaround for a team with low expectations coming into this season.
Passing and Ball-Handling: The Sixers are the only team with two players averaging 6 assists per game (Holiday and Iguodala). Meanwhile, they also average only 13.2 turnovers per game, second-best in the NBA. The Sixers have a balanced attack, which makes ball-movement important.
Plus there’s this pass:
Doug Collins: he’s not perfect, but he’s done an amazing job overall with this team. The turnaround wouldn’t have happened without him.