When I came to the realization that no one wanted to talk about Game 7 anymore, I decided breaking down the game would be fruitless, because no one would care or read it.
Anyway, the Sixers had their exit interviews yesterday, and Doug Collins told his players what he wanted from them over the summer. Unlike last summer, when the Sixers could not make contact with anyone due to the lockout, the Sixers will be able to keep up with their players to agree. Thus, no Boris Diaw situations here.
Specifically mentioned by Marc Narducci, former Sixers beat writer in this piece for the Inquirer, was Collins wanting two players to exchange some pounds:
For anyone reaching between the lines, it appears that change is coming.
“We have some good young pieces, and we obviously have a lot of character on the team. Our guys fought all the way,” team president Rod Thorn said. “But there are ways we need to improve, and hopefully we can do it.”
Collins said that some players needed to make some non-basketball changes. He urged Evan Turner to lose weight and Thaddeus Young to gain some.
I think we can all agree that Evan Turner could stand to get a bit quicker, and losing weight would seem to help that cause. He came into this year in much better shape, even after a lockout, than he did into his rookie year. It would help if he developed more quickness, since he often struggled to get to the rim, instead having to pull up short of his defenders for floaters and other difficult shots. He won’t ever be efficient if he can get all the way to the rim.
Of course, after this summer, we may be hearing “Evan’s in the best shape of his life!” stories, which permeate news feeds come training camp time.
Meanwhile, Collins wants Thaddeus Young to put on the pounds that he wants Evan to lose. Doug, who in the past has referred to Young as a “thoroughbred”, thinks that Young can handle the power forward position better if he gains strength. Which makes sense on the surface, since Young played nearly all his minutes this season at the 4 spot.
But the problem with playing Young nearly exclusively at the 4, as it has been for 2 years, is that his ceiling as a player becomes “highly effective bench player.” Now, highly effective bench players are very valuable to competitive teams, because they should be willing to pay someone the money Young is currently making to come off the bench and produce. The Sixers only have that as a luxury. They aren’t close to being a championship contender. Why not swing for the fences with him and put him back at the three tentatively for next year? If it doesn’t work, you can always move him back into the undersized 4 role. He played effectively enough without extra weight last year at the four, and despite his dwindling shooting percentages he did have more confidence and an improved mid-range jumper.
Obviously, at the moment the position is already filled in the starting lineup by Andre Iguodala. But if he can serve as a backup at both positions and do well, he can be even more effective than he was this year. He could even start, provided Iguodala is moved. For the money he’s making, his age and skills, and where this team is right now in terms of contention, next year will be the time to take a chance.