The Sixer Sense Mid-Season Roundtable

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I presented the staff with a few questions about the season so far. Not everybody answered but here’s the answers we got so far. Check back later to see if more staff members get in their answers. And I’ll be abbreviating the names by initial because I’m lazy and don’t really feel like typing the names each time, even my own name. And I love my name. Anyway, here’s the staff and the initials representing them. Oh, and I’m not picking favorites; I’m just listing them in the order they sent me their answers:

Dante Nelson—DN

Emily Gruver—EG

Dan Friedberg—DF

Jake Marciano—JM

John Adair—JA2

Scott Boutcher—SB

Curtis Jenkins—CJ

Jovan Alford—JA

As you saw, we have two members with the same initial. So, since John was second, he has the “2″ next to him.

1. What positives, if any, can be taken from the first half of the season?

DN: Jrue Holiday’s growth as a player. I’m going to go ahead and put Evan Turner in here too.

EG: Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner’s improvement.

DF: We have learned that Jrue Holiday is a legitimate All-Star player.  He might not get in this year, but that’s not the point.  His potential was always there.  He just needed the opportunity.  We gave the kid the keys to the car and he has not disappointed one bit.  He is a legitimate building block moving forward.  Expect him to be in the conversation for Most Improved Player as well.

JM: There aren’t many positives from the first half of the season considering the Sixers are currently 17-23. However, the biggest positive is the development of Jrue Holiday. He has become a top 5 PG in the league and is slowly becoming a player the Sixers can rely on to make a clutch play in late game situations.

JA2: Sixers are in the 9th seed, just 3 games out of playoffs without Bynum. Jrue Holiday has emerged as an All-Star caliber player.

SB: Jrue Holiday has been the most positive thing to come out of the first half of the season. He has stepped up as a leader and has been the best player on the floor each night.

CJ: Positives from this season are only a few. Without a doubt Jrue Holiday has played some remarkable basketball. He has recorded a triple double and is the true leader of this team. Thad Young and Evan Turner have stepped up their play as well. More consistent play from these two and this team can make some noise.

JA: The positives that I can take away from this season is that Jrue Holiday is developing into a star right before our very eyes. No, the transition has not been easy but he is showing that he can score with the best of them. The last positive is Thad Young who I think should be considered for an all-star spot. He has been phenomenal this season in scoring, rebounding, and hustling. He definitely leaves it all out on the court.

2. Who is to blame the most (roster, coaching, team management) for the Sixers’ poor play? Equal blame?

DN: I’m probably going to catch a lot of heat from this but I put blame on Collins. Let me explain. I strongly believe that he put this roster together. Sixers didn’t have a real front office during the off-season. So it was between the ownership and Collins. Please. Next, I don’t believe the roster was originally built for Bynum’s presence. We can argue that the team grabbed all of these shooters but the way I see it, Nick Young is a replacement of Lou Williams, Dorell Wright was a replacement for Jodie Meeks, and Richardson came in the trade. I feel like the team went cheap this off-season to save money more than to get Bynum. I believe this. The roster is too similar to last season to say they made a drastic change just to get Bynum or any big man for that matter. Besides missing out on what Iguodala brings to the table, this is exactly what Collins was ready to work with. The roster is terrible but it’s just not their fault that they were put together. Some say lack of heart but it’s more lack of talent than anything.

EG: Equal blame.

DF: I have my issues with Doug Collins’ proclivity to give veterans playing time over rookies.  Doug has complained about being too slow on the perimeter, but never gave Maalik Wayns (a speed demon who showed great promise in preseason) a legitimate shot at playing time.  He’ll mention our weak interior defense, but Arnette Moultrie gets sent to the D-League.  Guys like Kwame Brown, Royal Ivey, and Damien Wilkins all get rotational minutes.  However, I doubt giving either of these rookies time greatly improves the team.  Ultimately, it’s a talent issue, and pointing the finger somewhere else won’t get you anywhere.  As long as Bynum is out, we won’t know what this team is truly capable of.

JM: Obviously this team was built around Andrew Bynum, so you can’t put much blame on the roster or management because on paper, it looks like a pretty good roster. However, there are some other roster decisions that baffled me, such as the Spencer Hawes signing. It was bad enough to re-sign him as is, but signing him for 2 years just makes it worse. I don’t put much blame on Doug Collins because he is doing all he can, but the national media and the Sixers management over-hype him as a coach. He is a great players coach who is good at getting the best out of his players, but he is not a good strategic coach and not very good at making in game adjustments.

JA2: The roster. Struggling on both ends of the court (97.3 PPG Allowed, 93.2 PPG), out rebounded by 3 per game, inconsistent, just 11-9 at home, 6-14 on road.

SB: The blame is split between management and the current roster. Management did make a major move to acquire Andrew Bynum, but they did not do a good enough job of establishing a playoff caliber bench. They lost Lou Williams and tried to replace him with Nick Young, who is half the player he is. The team on the court has underachieved as well. The defense, which was the strength of this team last season has been sorely lacking all season long. Teams no longer fear facing the Sixers, who used to be a pesky defensive squad that would hassle you all game.

CJ: I think the players and team overall is to blame for the lack of good play. The coaches may need to tweak the schemes to the players liking. The lack of rebounding and defensive presence has slipped compared to last season. I think Doug Collins is doing the best he can with the roster he has.

JA: The poor play has to go around equally because not everybody has been playing well. There have been many games that they did not show up which falls on Doug Collins but there has been games where the shooting and offense has gone cold. So the blame goes around.

3. Yes, it’s been a frustrating season, but Sixers had some decent wins. Any one win stand out to you (favorite win?)?

DN: I loved the game vs the Grizzlies. Grizzlies in the past few years have made a name for themselves as a great home team. Sixers gave the Grizzlies just their 4th home loss on the season by playing a very good game. Plus, it felt good to see them win as one of the worse games I’ve ever seen the Sixers play since 2000 was in Memphis. Great win.

EG: Sixers defeat Celtics in OT, 95-94

DF: The home win against the Celtics on Dec. 7 was great.  Evan Turner hitting a game winner always brings a good feeling.  The Villain has a tendency to drive Sixers fans crazy with his inconsistent play, and something of a dichotomy has formed among his supporters and critics.  Both camps were united that night.

JM: The one game that stood out to me was the December 7th 95-94 Sixers win against the Celtics where Evan Turner hit the game winner. Things looked a little bit better for the Sixers back then but even looking back at it now, it was still an exciting game and good win.

JA2: New Years Day @ LAL—103-99, Holiday: 26 pts, 10 assists, Turner: 22 pts, 13 rebounds, solid bench minutes from Hawes and Wright, Gasol/Howard just 3-19 shooting.

SB: The best win this season in my mind is the 99-89 victory in Memphis. It was the Sixers late Christmas present as they beat one of the Western Conference’s elite teams in their building.

CJ: The win that standout to me is the win against the Los Angeles Lakers on their home court. Not only did the Sixers step up but Jrue Holiday out the league on notice in his hometown. I actually had them losing that game but the Sixers played good solid basketball.

JA: My favorite win so far this season has to be the Lakers game in LA. The Sixers really fought hard in that game and Jrue Holiday and Evan Turner put on a guard clinic versus Kobe. It would have been nice if Andrew Bynum was playing in the game to see how he would play against Dwight.

More questions on the next page!

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