We looked at the starting 5 last time around. This time, we’ll look at one of the best benches in the league, simply known as The Night Shift. The starters were always known for their bad starts and The Night Shift always came in and saved the day. The Night Shift also had the team’s scoring leader in Lou Williams. In this type of season, having depth on your bench goes a long way in being able to manage minutes and injuries and stuff like that. The members of The Night Shift are: Lou Williams, Evan Turner, Thaddeus Young, Lavoy Allen, and Nikola Vucevic.
Lou Williams: Let’s first start off with this. I don’t think I have officially said this here at The Sixer Sense but I do not like Lou Williams’ game. Don’t want anything to do with it. It seems more harmful to the team’s future than helpful. His shot selection is terrible and I want him off this team or in a lesser role so bad it’s not even right. With that said, my personal feelings will be kept quiet.
You have to admit that Lou is the best pure scorer on this team. When he gets going, it’s all over. We’ve seen this happen many times. The problem with that is, he needs to jack up shot after shot in order to get it going. You live or die by the
sword Lou. More times than not, Lou will kill the momentum of the offense. Ball movement becomes stand around and watch Lou dribble the clock out and then chuck up a bad shot or pass at the last second for a teammate to chuck up a bad shot. His defense is pretty bad too.
All in all, his season was a good one. He continues to be one of the best 6th-Men in the league. He even led his team in scoring without one single start. While he can stall the offense, he has gotten the Sixers out of a few scoring droughts and is also a leader in points in the 4th quarter this past season.
Season Grade: B
Evan Turner: Turner may have had the most disappointing season for the Sixers. The #2 pick struggled to live up to the assumed star role that comes with being drafted at #2. I personally have not given up on him. He has shown flashes that he can be a big contributor on this team. The argument is still out there that if Andre Iguodala isn’t on this team, Turner would have more room to grow. But, in the games that Iguodala missed, Turner never really took advantage of it. Maybe he needs a bigger role than what he currently has now.
Still, his season was a letdown for anybody and everybody. Hopefully he blossoms into a star next season. Turner did do one thing that was much better than all of the other players on the roster: get into the paint. But, there is a reason why the Sixers were dead last in FT’s attempted. Turner avoided any contact and sometimes it actually made things worse. There have been times where he’s been very inefficient in his shooting. He seems to be one of those players that is perhaps spoiled. expecting things to come to him instead of going out and getting it.
Evan did a decent job defending. But, when he’s matched up with a solid defender, he’s almost useless. You saw that in the Celtics series. Avery Bradley pretty much shut down Evan. But, as Bradley had his shoulder problems, Evan was able to somewhat play better. He has amazing handling of the ball. You would figure it would help him shake off defenders but no. He had many “million dollar move; one dollar finish” or whatever the saying is this season. Meaning, he would do all of these fancy moves but when it came down to his shot, he failed. I keep saying it but Evan’s season left a lot to be desired.
Season Grade: C-
Thaddeus Young: Thad had another solid season. I also happen to believe that he has lived up to his contract enough to justify it. I also don’t think he’ll get much better than he is now. Good thing the contract is a flat rate. Anyway, his hustle plays did wonders for this team. He and Lou Williams lead one of the best benches in the league. For the most part, his stats are even with last season’s stats so yeah he may be flat-lining.
For some reason though, I can’t seem to grasp any solid memories of him this season. He played in 63 of the 66 possible games this season so it’s not like I didn’t get to see him play. He was injured most of the playoffs. But I know he had a good season. He’s one of those energy guys. As I said with the starters, he and Elton Brand have been two players that never really quit on a game. He improved defensively in my opinion. He still needs work on rebounding. His quick first step and soft hands really make him deadly around the rim. I said his rebounding needs work but he definitely fought for offensive rebounds and put backs. And he sacrificed his body to get lots of charges which shows he’s a decent help defender. As the season went, he did slow down from his injuries; but overall he had a good season.
Season Grade: B-
Okay now for the rookies. They didn’t play well at the same time, but both players played well enough to be considered a part of the night shift.
Lavoy Allen: Mr. 500. ESPN gave out their player rankings and Lavoy was in last place. Someone had to take that spot. I just didn’t think it was fair though since we never saw him play and NBA game. But whatever. When Spencer Hawes went out with injuries, Lavoy was given the green light. At the time, fellow rookie Nikola Vucevic was blowing our minds with his impressive play. And Allen came in and did his thing. It wasn’t spectacular. He didn’t show that he would ever be a star. But, he played well enough for people to realize he belongs in the league. Dispite his best efforts, he would eventually fall out of rotation in the middle of the season. Instead of playing him, the Sixers went and signed Francisco Elson for a little bit. But, towards the end of the season, Lavoy was given the green light again. He eventually became a starter for the team, especially during the playoffs vs the Celtics were he was pretty much the only guy who could slow down Kevin Garnett.
Allen made the most out of his season by playing hard ball. His offense is still limited but his defense and rebounding and heart are good enough that he should be in the rotation next season depending on what the Sixers do to upgrade their big men. ESPN even apologized for their “mistake” in their rankings. Allen took it all in stride though. Perhaps it did motivate him. We can only hope he stays motivated.
Season Grade: C-
Nikola Vucevic: When the Sixers made the pick in the draft, many were kinda like, “Eh we could’ve done better”. This past draft was rather weak and it really didn’t make much of a difference if Sixers picked 16th or lower. One thing about the rookies is that they showed very good basketball IQ. As the season went on, just like Lavoy Allen, injuries provided the opportunity to make some noise for Vucevic. Some called him a Spencer Hawes clone. And yeah, their games are similar. Vuce did play like he was in the league for a few years at least. With a limited training camp and barely and practices during the season, this is very impressive of a rookie.
Vucevic was more of an offensive weapon compared to Lavoy’s defensive skill set. He made some nice plays. He made smart plays. He wasn’t as talented or strong as other big men, but he held his own for a while. Just like with Allen, Vucevic didn’t convince me he was going to be a star, nor was he suppose to. But, both Lavoy and Nikola should be around for a good while if their skill set improves to their level of IQ. Sadly, Vuce fell out of the rotation and never really got back in it. If Spencer Hawes is gone next season and the Sixers get and actual Center to start games, I’d be okay with Vuce being the backup. time to see what we got in these young guys (haha they’re older than me!).
Season Grade: D
Welp that’s it for the magnificent Night Shift. the 3rd part will focus on the rest of the roster. One note: Anybody that has played for the Sixers this season will be graded, even if he’s not on the team anymore.