From us at the Sixer Sense and FanSided, I wish you all a Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, a Crazy Kwanzaa, and a generally great day. One thing to note: on December 26th, tomorrow, the site will be down for maintenance from 5:00 AM to 8:00 AM. We are improving our servers to accommodate more visitors across the network, and this is the best time for us to do it. Hopefully this inconveniences the fewest people possible. So don’t try accessing anything here during that time. Thanks!
Also, the NBA is back!!!!!!!!!
The Sixers resume play tomorrow. We’ll have a substantive season preview up Monday afternoon (as the Christmas presents were essentially a best-case scenario improvements series instead of predictions and expectations).
For now, I’m going to do short Christmas Presents for all of the non-rotation (at this time members). After the jump…
- PRESENT: Time
Why? Nik needs some time to get accustomed to the NBA. Most rookies get a full training camp and get eased into the rotation. And unlike a lot of rooks, because of his lack of athleticism and strength he could struggle more than the average rookie. As he adjusts to the speed of the game, look for him to get better as the season progresses. He still has a lot to learn on both ends of the floor. Luckily, we have other bigs to use.
- PRESENT: A position
Noam Schiller (who knows Israeli basketball better than anyone) expressed shock that Craig Brackins would actually make an NBA roster, let alone play for a decent team. He played for Maccabi Ashdod, an Israeli professional team, during the lockout, where his stat line was unimpressive. He doesn’t rebound, and Doug Collins plans to play him at the 3, on the perimeter, where he can possibly hit some shots when he plays. If he wants to play outside, though, he’ll need to become an adequate perimeter defender. At 6’10″, Craig might have trouble staying at that position.
- PRESENT: Improved Shot
Nocioni pretty much was awful last year. He shot a lower percentage from mid-range than Andre Iguodala. He shot poorly everywhere except for at the rim and in the corners. He needs to get his shooting stroke back in order to be of any use to this team – if he can only shoot corner threes and not defend on the perimeter, he could be very useful. Especially in a “decoy” role, a la Jason Kapono last year.
- PRESENT: Safe Keeping
Battie isn’t in game shape at this point. Whether he’ll be useful at all remains in question. While the “closer” at times last year, he couldn’t be relied upon for back-to-backs or for more than 20 minutes per game. Why we sign him and not a younger player, like a Kyrylo Fesenko, is mind-boggling to me (both couldn’t happen because the Sixers are up against the luxury tax). Anyway, Battie needs to stay away from the court until he’s ready, at which point he could be unleashed. Whatever that means.
- PRESENT: A D-League Assignment
Lavoy will need playing time as the season continues. He shouldn’t see the light of day on an NBA court this year. But a D-League assignment should work, especially when Battie is ready to go. As the seventh big on the team, we can afford to see him off for a while. While there, he can work on the things which could make him a decent role player. Mid-range shooting, defense, and rebounding should be paramount for him. From watching him at Temple, he’s a good defensive player and a decent rebounder, but a tentative shooter who needs to be more assertive. He can get a chance to do this in Maine (where our D-League affiliate is located – and yes, I had to look this up).