We’re rebooted for the post-season. More coverage will come later this week, but we’ll kick off our post-season coverage with an awards show, celebrating the best regular season for the team in a while.
The Career (Assisted) Suicide Award
Marreese Speights, you’re the winner. I get that you don’t like sitting on the bench. You can score and rebound better than most players on the team. However, your inability to play defense, whatever the cause (lack of desire or legitimately not knowing what defense entails), gives the coaching staff no choice.
Mo might have been in line for a rotation spot down the stretch, however complaining about your situation on twitter isn’t the way to express your grievances. By the way, let’s give the assist to Evan Turner, who used the #freespeezy hashtag in one of his recent tweets. And Evan, please stop, since we don’t want to lose you again.
The Willie Green Memorial Award
Andres Nocioni, come on down! Really, you’ve replaced Willie Green as the object of my irritation. Why, oh why, do you even play at all? You’re not really a good shooter, you couldn’t defend Charlie Manuel well, and you insist on putting the ball on the floor when you can’t even dribble well. Seriously Doug, stop torturing us. Please just forget about him.
Thaddeus Young, with the easy victory. Yes, Jodie Meeks went from inactive at the start of the year to very important role player. However, the only major improvement from Meeks was his minutes played. He always had the shooting ability – he showed that at Kentucky 3 years ago. He just needed the opportunity. But Thad changed his offensive game, becoming more efficient, and embraced and committed himself to smart defense. Going from “train wreck” to “not bad at all” really helped the Sixers exceed the expectations.
Most Notable Performance
Jodie Meeks’ 20-point first quarter outburst against Charlotte gets the nod here. There were other candidates, but this outing had an impact not just in the game but for the rest of the season. Meeks clinched his spot in the starting 5 for the rest of the season, giving the Sixers the shooter they desperately needed in their lineup.
Sixers @ Bulls, on March 28. Obviously, it wasn’t the other game in Chicago, which was arguably the WORST game of the year. Here, the Sixers beat the Bulls 97-85, with the defense forcing Derrick Rose, MVP favorite, into committing 10 turnovers. Dre went for a quiet 19-7-7, while Thad Young played well against a Chicago frontline which, though well-suited to defend bigs, had trouble defending the smaller, quicker forward. The non-Rose Bulls scored 54 points combined, shooting under 38% from the floor.
From this game onward, though, the team has struggled with inconsistent performances and injuries. The Sixers also had wins against San Antonio and Boston among the elite teams, but the SA was just plain ugly (really, that would be a nominee for worst game only because it was so hard to watch) and the Boston win came in a good match-up against an injured team.
Andre Iguodala, yet again. Though still an issue that Andre is the best player (ideally he’s the second-best you have), he performed well this year despite regressing offensively. His defense, amazingly underrated before this year, continued to impress. He might actually get voted onto an all-defensive team, about 3 years too late. The only difference from last year is a consistent focus, since he, like pretty much everyone else, quit on Eddie Jordan.
Most Valuable Player
Many do not distinguish between best player and most valuable, since the most valuable is, by logic, the best player. Now, there are a few reasons why the best player, listed above is not the MVP of this team. The real MVP of the Sixers is Elton Brand.
Why? For someone not on the Derrick Rose for MVP bandwagon, it seems contradictory. However, Elton has had a great year, leading the team in scoring, rebounding, and blocked shots. He has played in all but one game (while serving a suspension) despite injuries to his hand and other nagging issues, whereas Andre Iguodala has missed 13 games with injuries. He also passes the “irreplaceable” standard, as no one on the roster can replace him.
And also, kudos to Doug Collins, who would probably win this award if he were eligible. Here at The Sixer Sense, we’ll give him a Coach of the Year vote, as despite some of his moves, the team would be lost without him.