Game #8: Reality Check

a 76 to 94 loss to the heretofore winless Detriot Pistons, behind a ghastly 29% shooting performance (shattering the arena record). Possibly the worst loss of the Doug Collins era, a 45 drubbing to the Chicago Bulls on Dec 21, 2010 not withstanding.

At least those Bulls were a championship caliber team. This was a winless Pistons team, playing on the road in Philly. Losses like this simply don’t happen to good teams. Which brings me to my point, a needed reality check, the Sixers are not a good basketball team.

What’s wrong with this team? There are some plausible answers; a lack of size, a rosterwide shortage of ballhandling, a lack of toughness, maybe the coaching?

But I believe that there is actually single true cause. Jumpshot Fever is rotting is the core of the 76ers. The narcissistic obsession that has ruined many a great basketball player is running rampant through this team.

Simply too many shooters (and not great ones) who can’t do much else. frequently they are lining up jumpshooters at all 5 positions. When those shots aren’t falling, do they diversify the attack? Nope, they double down try to shoot their way out of it.

The insidious effect of all these missed J’s is that it’s not just destroying the offense, it’s destroying the bedrock of last years success, defense. A spiral of despair grips them, and the discipline neccasary for the Collins defensive scheme dissolves into a rout.

Look, I understand the need to make changes after last year horrific shooting exploits. But it looks like we maybe overshot the mark….

The 2012 Sixers understood their identity as a defensive club. When the shots didn’t fall they didn’t get discouraged, Hell, that happened every night. They knew they could routinely grind out wins with defensive effort and discipline.

This team doesn’t believe that. When the shots don’t fall, they quit.

There aren’t any easy answers at this point. But, I believe there are some counter-intuitive remedies within this Bynum-less roster:

1) Replenish your bench: Move Thad and Turner back into thier reserve role. This is not a demotion (Thad’s actually been playing pretty well), just give yourself somewhere to go, something to change the dynamic if the shots aren’t falling

2) Move Hawes back to his honorary Starter position. Why reward Hawes when he’s perhaps the biggest culprit? I think they had the right plan for him last year, run him out for a few minutes and see which Hawes your getting, if it’s FrankenHawes send him to the bench, and bring in reliable Thad Young to change it up.

3)Embrace your size disadvantage and go tiny. “Going small” is losing it’s meaning since almost every team in the league is doing it. I propose we go even smaller. When the opposing team goes without a post scorer a lineup of Thad/Wright/Turner/Young/Holiday could outrun almost any team in the league. They’ve actually experimented with this line-up but this might need to become a standard unit.

4) Take a flier on crazy-ass Delonte West. Yes there is baggage, yes no players mother or grandmother will be safe. But you can’t ignore the fact that a ballhandling defensive guard is out there, available for the league minimum. Did you know, Delonte is the only player to successfully execute a wet willy during an actual NBA game?

That’s the kind of creepy, crazy guy toughness this team is lacking. As an incidental bonus this would be a great thing for GrowthPlates…

 

 

Sadly, GrowthPlates correspondent d40, brought his son, 9 year old j40, to his first 76ers game last night. Here’s his thoughts on the 7 hours ordeal he spent at the Wells Fargo Center:

It’s a long one at the Wells Fargo when your 76ers shoot 29.8% from the field. Even longer if you sat through Sixers camp night from its 3:30 Floor Drills start time. Even all 200 campers, given their Sixers affiliation, probably couldn’t have pulled down more boards than the Pistons.

For the campers, floor drills consisted of dribbling and proper shooting form,(sadly Nick Young was not in attendance, he could have learned something), followed by a closed performance by the Flight Team, meet and greets with World B Free and Malik Rose, and a trivia contest where the kids would box each other out trying to get the attention of the Flight Team member so they could answer how many dancers are on the Sixers Dream Team started for a free tee shirt (22).

What’s not to love about all this when you are 9? Except I’m not 9. And then there was the game….

It started with Richardson running blindly into Kwame Brown in the tip off circle at pre-game handshake time. The Sixers couldn’t get out of each others way for the rest of the game.

The Sixers apparently decided to be gracious hosts and let the Pistons practice their dunks tonight. Here’s one…

Would you like another?

I don’t know if Knight was credited with the dunk, as this might have been scored Defensive Indifference…

ET had a high energy start in the best sense of the word and then just disappeared which I don’t quite get given the options.

Nick Young had a a ballerina type spin move with 32.8 in the third that was almost comical, no actually it was comical, and of course did not end up in the basket.

Here is what it looks like when you opponent loses a contact lens, and then has to shoot a free throw. usually a good thing, not tonight…

So when j40, the Sixer camper, asks towards the end of the first, “how are we not winning, it looks like we should be ahead”. My answer is one word – “Finishing”. You can look great, or like a ballerina, but if you don’t finish, you don’t win. He then says, “they look great passing” which they did early but the passing wasn’t getting finished with a basket, it was getting finished with a clank and then a rebound by Greg Monroe more often than not.

The worst, but most accurate comment though came from j40 towards the close, and yes we sat through the whole train wreck, “they aren’t trying their best. I know this”. From the mouths of babes.

THE GOOD:

Scoreboard Enhancements – You can see the whole team stats instead of just the five on the floor

Free McDonalds Coupon Books to the first 15,000 fans on Friday against the Jazz, which means everyone gets 2.

THE BAD:

The Pistons Bynum played tonight. Ours, once again, did not. I did hear a rumor floating around that Andrew was out practicing and may be back sooner, but I’ll take that with a shaker of salt.

THE UGLY:

A nice thing but a bad sign was the Sixers upgrading second level seat holders to behind the basket lower level seats so they would have full sections of folks with those free throw miss inducing “wackers”. The ugly part is that we can’t get fans to buy those seats.

ON TO THE PRESS CONFERENCE!

Doug Collins, comes into the press conference looking like a man who knows he’s made a terrible mistake….

Doug Collins: Fire away

DC: It’s one of the few times that I’ve been coach that this team has played with a lack of effort. I have no idea… we had a good practice yesterday. I have no idea why, I really don’t. I asked the coaches what’s going on, I have no idea…

I wish I knew, I wish I knew. tonight we got started and I looked at my coaches, we had no energy, why?! Oh my God! all we talked about, I told my guys Detroit is playing good basketball. they picked us apart.they threw the ball wherever they wanted to tonight. 

We had times coming out timeouts, with plays called, where guys just didn’t get open, it just comes down to the will to get open.

Are they tired?

DC: we’ve only played 8 games, we better not be. We don’t have much physicality, and that hurts. If you think they are physical wait for Utah Friday.

Doug finds the answer

DC: When you shoot poorly it’s deflating, I have no idea why we shot so poorly, and it sucks the life out of you.

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2 thoughts on “Game #8: Reality Check

  1. There’s a reason the Sixers are loafing despite having good practices. If the past off-season is any indication, this crop of young guns knows that if any of them play even slightly above average for an extended period, they will immediately be traded like Elton Brand, Andre Iguodala, and Lou Williams before them.

    Right now, the Sixers are suffering from two major perceptual problems: lack of compelling stars on the court and a lack of charisma. You mentioned that the Sixers could bring in Delonte West, but why stop there?

    I have heard at least three different analysts say the Lakers should trade Pau Gasol for outside shooting in order to facilitate Mike D’Antoni’s offense. Put together a package of the Sixers’ best mediocre outside shooters (i.e. anyone) for Gasol. Then make another trade for Jameer Nelson and, seeing as how he isn’t doing much, sign Malik Rose to a one-year deal for the veteran minimum. That gives you a team with the front court of the contending 2011-2012 Los Angeles Lakers, the back court of the beloved 2004 St. Joseph’s Hawks, and a savvy, veteran, native Philadelphian forward from the 2003 Champion San Antonio Spurs.

    You could call the team the St. Jongeles Sixspurs. Who says no to this!?

  2. Narcissus and Delonte West in the same blog entry. You can’t get this kind of material just anywhere. Only at growth plates. Delonte would definitely cause this Hawk fan to tune in to more Sixers games.

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