Monthly Archives: October, 2013

Sixers Balls: It’s about those “Ping-Pong” Balls…

NBA Lottery Machine

The time has come. The hour is upon us . The “Winless for Wiggins”, “Diggin 4 Wiggins”, or just “Tankadelphia”, whatever you prefer to call it, is about to begin. Will the Sixers make history this year? I mean, will they make run at the worst winning percentage they once held close to their hearts? Well… I am going to go with 17 wins. Last time I looked that is where Vegas had them.  Most people I talk too think it will be even less than that. Hey, I will take it .That just means more ping-pong balls coming the Sixers way. That last sentence could be taken in so many different ways.

I was thinking how to do a Sixers preview this year. I could sit here and write a few paragraphs on every player currently on the roster. Nah…I say, I should do a break down  on who will last the entire season on this team. Yeah, that sounds more fun.  I will go from highest to lowest.

Let’s Begin.

99.9% (I would say 100%, but with Hinkie you never know)

Carter-Williams- The rookie will be thrown to the wolves. He will likely play 30-35 minutes a game. He will turn the ball over a ton and he will be able to create off the dribble for others.  I am going to have fun watching him develop. He will have to learn the mental toughness to be a NBA point guard.

Nerlens Noel– As Brown once said, I doubt he will see the floor this year. Of course, I would like to see him out there causing havoc on the defense side of the ball, and a lot less havoc offensively, but it makes sense to get this dude totally healthy.

75%

James Anderson– To be honest, he might be Sixers second or third best player this year. He had a good preseason and won the starting two-guard spot with that. I said it before; he might be the only Sixers that can knock down an open jumper.

Tony Wroten– The Sixers look fully ready to take on the “Wroten Project’ and that makes me happy. Now, just work on that jumper Tony.

Arnett Moultrie– Why is he so high? Well, he is hurt and is out until at least January. Plus, nobody else wants him. I really don’t see the Sixers picking up his option for next year,even if it is only 1.1 million.

60%

Thaddeus Young– It really seems on the surface that Brown wants Thad to stick around through this process.  He is the perfect pro for kids to learn from. At the same time though, I hope that Hinkie trades him to a contender. Thad doesn’t deserve this hot-mess.  He is the Sixers likely best trading chip. He’s due about 27.4 million over the next three years.

Lavoy Allen– I would put him lower, but I just don’t see any value he has. He is an OK backup big-man. I think he makes it through the year for the Sixers and then they will likely let him walk.

Jason Richardson– J-Rich is going on a hiatus this year. Hinkie found him a nice a little time share in Caribbean.  He has a player option for 6.6 million next season. My guess, is that he picks it up. Hey, at least you can still use him in 2K.

50%

Kwame Brown– The only way he leaves the Sixers is if they buy him out. So I figured to go 50/50. What? They are tanking…

Evan Turner– Turner is in line to have a solid year. The main reason for that is the current state of this roster. Brown did say there were only six NBA players on this roster. His number should go up. By the way, I know most of you can’t stand Turner, but he is one of those players Brown was talking about. The Sixers have until Thursday to pick up Turners option for next year. If they don’t (which they likely won’t), Turner becomes even more valuable. EXPIRING contract.

Spencer Hawes– I have said it a millions times. Hawes does have some value. He is a big-man that can shoot and pass. He would be solid first big-man off the bench for a playoff team. Yes, I said that correctly. I know, I cant’t stand him either. He is in his last year of his contract at 6.5 million. You know what that means.

40%

Daniel Orton- I could see him lasting the year, strictly off his size (6-10, 275 lbs).  Other than that reason, I have no clue.

Darius Morris– I am a little bitter about him beating out Wyatt but it is what it is. Really don’t feel like writing about this dude.  Maybe a playoff team could use a third point-guard?

25%

Hollis Thompson– One of those guys lucky to make it out of training camp, even on a Sixers team like this.

Brandon Davies- The 22-year-old, power-forward was signed by the Clippers in early September and was waived by them just a few days back.  He was suspended from BYU’s team in 2012 for having sex with girl.

Many people have said and written about it. This year is about finding individuals that fit this team moving forward.  I am expecting a lot of shuffling with this roster before years end. The Sixers have only 21.3 million committed to players next season, according to HoopsHype.com (Noel, MCW, Turner, J-Rich, Wroten, Thad, and Moultrie); though Moultrie and Wroten’s contracts for next year are a team option. We will know by Thursday with Turner (8.7 million qualifying offer).  Like I said before, J-Rich has a player option for 6.6 million.  Sixers are going to have a ton of money in the future and likely a lot of “Ping-Pong” balls. On The Road For More Balls…

Sixers Balls: Who gets the last spot…

Brett Brown Philadelphia Sixers

When you talk about the Sixers roster, you really don’t think of players having a hard time making it. Seriously, some may think that the Sixers are in no place for cutting anyone.  I can see some people’s point with that. At the end of day, someone is going to have to get cut, even on a roster like this. Obliviously, the first casualties were Royce White, Khalif Wyatt, Vander Blue and Mac Koshwal. 

To be honest, I thought that the Sixers were in a perfect spot to take a chance on White (might still end up in the D-League for the Sixers), I guess not. He isn’t in Hinkie’s calculations.  I didn’t think both Wyatt and Blue would make this team, but I thought at least one would. Well, that didn’t workout either.  I have stopped thinking things.  To go back to White real quick, all I really saw from him was his passing skills this preseason. At times, he looked scared to shoot the ball.  Some think that it was his attitude that got him cut. Maybe…

Now the times comes to see who makes the final roster or not. I will take a crack at it. The roster stands at 16, so obviously someone’s gotta go.

On the outside looking in…

Rodney Williams, Hollis Thompson, and Gani Lawal

If I’m picking any of those three, my guess would be Williams. Strictly based off his athletic abilities.

Who the hell knows….

Kwame Brown

I mean, I said it before and I will say it again. The Sixers are “Tanking”. It only makes sense to keep him here. Though it’s still possible that the Sixers could buy him out and give his spot to some else.

On the Cusp…

Daniel Orton and Darius Morris

I once thought Wyatt could maybe beat out Morris for a roster, BUT I have stop thinking. Orton hasn’t done much out there and neither has Morris. So they should fit nicely into Hinkie’s plans this year.

Guaranteed 

Lavoy Allen, Evan Turner, MCW, Hawes, Moultrie (injured), Noel (injured), Richardson (injured), Thad Young, Tony Wroten, and James Anderson.

A couple of bright spots for the Sixers this year could be Anderson and Wroten. Yes, there actually could be some bright spots. Anderson had a solid preseason and proved that he might be the only player on this team that can knock down an open jumper. As for Wroten, I wrote about him before, I love this dude’s energy and his attacking style.

Well, the final roster will have all of those guys except for one.  Don’t worry that roster will likely change a thousand times before years end. My final thoughts on the Sixers roster, I defer to Coach Brett Brown. Brown:

  Who knows?” “You have six NBA players and then you have a bunch of guys who are fighting for spots and want to be seen and need opportunity.” via Philly.com

Sixers Balls: Player Rankings..

Funny Grandma playing basketball

ESPN finished their player rankings of 500 NBA players.  Guess who is not in the Top Ten or even in the Top Twenty?  Any Sixers of course, but that would be Mr. Kobe Bryant. Where does he fall?  Well, he fell down to number 25 in ESPN’s hearts. Yes, I get that Kobe has a ton of wear and tear on him. Yes, I know that he is coming off a major injury.  I get it.  Though to have Chris Bosh, John Wall, and Al Hordford (love that dude, but come on) ahead of him is absurd. Honestly, I never even liked Kobe, but I respect the hell out of him.  Hey, maybe they’re right? Maybe age and his injuries have finally caught up to him.   I will wait to see him on the court before I knock him off the peddle stool.

Since I am talking about the player rankings, lets see where our “Lovely’ Sixers roster fits in.  Lets Begin…

Thad Young Sixers

First up is Thad Young at #89. He was ranked at #91 last year. I would love to see Thad stay through this whole rebuilding process. He is one of those guys that young players can learn from, but most importantly learn how to be a professional. At the same time, I hope another team can rescue him from this hot-mess. Thad deserves it.

Evan Turner Sixers

Next the incumbent Evan Turner at #148. He was ranked at #119 last year. I mean, where do I begin with him?  His numbers will likely go up, because of his surrounding cast but does that even mean that he improved? Most likely not, though I am a “rare’ fan of Turner and we are almost extinct. If Evan is ever going to blossom this will be his last chance.  If not, all of us Turner fans will be extinct.

Spencer hawes

Another fan favorite for ripping Mr. Spencer Hawes at #179. He was ranked at #118 last season. Well, damn. That’s a nice little drop off. Fans love to make fun of Spencer. Yes, I will include myself in this one. Though in a league that has few decent big-men, Spencer still has value. He can knock down an open jumper and has nice passing skills for a big-man.  Personally, I could see him gone by the deadline.

Michael Carter-williams

Michael Carter-Williams comes in at #198 in his rookie year. He is one thing to look forward to this season. The kid has excellent vision and can get to the rim. The down side? Turnovers and his jumper. It’s all about development.

Nerlens Noel Philadelphia Sixers

Another rookie  would be Nerlens Noel at #221. The number 6 overall pick (might have been #1 if he didn’t get hurt), will likely miss the entire season, while rehabbing his knee.  It’s not a bad thing either. Let him get 100%.  Or Hinkie said to him, you’re sitting out this year, because this doesn’t mean shit anyway. I like to think he said it that way. 

Lavoy Allen Philadelphia Sixers

Lavoy ” I have narcolepsy ” Allen comes in at #272. He was ranked #232 last season. Really not much to say about this dude, other than he is an OK backup and that he apparently over sleeps a lot.

Jason Richardson Philadelphia Sixers

The veteran Jason Richardson at #290. He was ranked #121 last season.  Even at his age and the fact that Hinkie asked him to kick-back this season, he shouldn’t be this low.

Tony Wroten- Philadelphia Sixers

PhilaPhans

Another player to watch is Tony Wroten coming in at #341.  He was ranked at #379 during his rookie season. He will almost certainly move up the charts, by his increased playing time and his energy and size. If he actually develops a jumper, he could make a big jump.

Arnett Moultrie Philadelphia Sixers

Arnett Moultrie is next at #346. He was ranked at #400 last season. Moultrie was about to receive his chance this year, but he is out until at least January with an ankle injury.

James Anderson Philadelphia Sixers

James Anderson comes in at #429. He was ranked at #424 last season. The 4th year shooting guard has been having solid preseason for the Sixers. He looks to have won the starting 2-guard for the Sixers. Has a decent jumper.

Kwame Brown Philadelphia Sixers

Not sure how this dude is ranked above anyone but Kwame Brown is ranked at #450. He was ranked at #332 last season. I mean, the only way to top-off “Tanking” mode is to have Kwame start at center this year.

Arsalan Kazemi Philadelphia Sixers

Arsalan Kazemi is next at #466. Ummm, some how he was ranked at #193 last year, even though he was playing in college.  He’s got skillzzz… I am sad to see him playing overseas. I still don’t understand why, but I guess he wanted to be closer to home. Loved his energy during the summer league.
Tim Ohlbrecht Philadelphia Sixers

Tim “I have been cut already” Ohlbrecht is ranked at #495. He was ranked at …Well, he wasn’t ranked last year and for some reason he got ranked this year.

Royce White  Philadelphia Sixers

Who wins Mr. Irreverent? That would be Mr. Royce White at #500.  He actually was ranked at # 290 last season. He does like to foul a lot. Sorry, that’s all I got for him right now.

RECAP

So the Sixers have 14 players ranked in the top 500 players. One being number 500. Two, who are not even playing in the league, and four players ranked 450 or lower. If that’s not “tanking” I don’t know what is. 

LeBron was number one obviously, followed by Durant, CP3, Harden, Westbrook, Curry, Dwight, Irving, D-Rose, and to finish the Top Ten Marc Gasol at number 10.

 

Sixers Balls: Atlantic Division

atlantic-division-nba

The start of the NBA season is just about a week away.  I am pretty sure I know what to expect from the Sixers (17-22 games won), unless they piss us all off and some how, some way, get the eigth-seed in the East.  The chances of that happening?  Well, the chances of this out-of-bounds play being called in a NBA game are better…

Actually, you never know…

Moving on…figured I’d checkout the rest of the Atlantic division foes and see where they fall in the NBA world. Are the Nets real contenders?  What are the Celtics doing? Tanking or patching a band aid on it? Should the Knicks just blow it up after this year?  Should they invest their future into Melo? The Atlantic division is full of questions. It’s funny the way I look at it, the Sixers might have the best direction of all the teams.

Boston Celtics

Let’s start with the Boston Celtics. Gone are the “big boys” Pierce, Terry, “Doc”, and Garnett.  In are the “new boys” Gerald Wallace, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Kelly Olynyk, and Brad Stevens.  Who’s left? That would be the star point-guard Rajon Rondo, along with some decent players in Jeff Green, Brandon Bass and Avery Bradley.  What does that add up too? Something that the Sixers fans know all to well, the “Land of Mediocrity”  

I am really not sure what the Celtics are doing. They traded most of their big stars, but didn’t blow it up all the way, by holding on to Rondo. They love what they have with Olynyk, who played extremely well in the summer league. I guess they want to build around Rondo and Olynyk. The Celtics have Brooklyn’s first rounder this year and the Clippers first rounder next year, plus their own pick. The problem? The positioning of those picks. The Nets and Clippers picks will be late in the first round. The Celtics picks could be anywhere in between 10-16.  Not many game changers in those lands, unless you get lucky.

They could trade Rondo and really tank or they could wait and see what the Nets do. The Nets are built for the next 2 years, if they don’t succeed, they could blow it. How can that help the Celtics? I forgot to mention that they have first rounders from the Nets in 2016 and 2018 as well.

Last thing, I think Brad Stevens has a very good chance of succeeding. But there are questions surrounding him.  Not questions about x’s and o’s, but about how he is going to motivate his players? In college its more like a father and son relationship. When it comes to the NBA it’s about gaining the respect from your peers. That is the challenge for Stevens.

Wins (28-33)        Starters   (Rondo, Bradley, Green, Olynyk, Sullinger)

Carmelo Anthony New York Knicks

Next up are the New York Knicks.  Gone are Marcus Camby, Jason Kidd, and Steve Novak. In are Andrea BargnaniBeno Udrih, and Metta World Peace.  Who’s left? Raymond Felton, Tyson Chandler,  Stoudemire, and Iman Shumpert.  What does that equal too? A solid team. A championship team? Nah…

To me at least, this starts and begins with Carmelo Anthony. Melo’s name has always been tossed around with the likes of Kobe, Lebron, Wade, and Durant. To be honest, he doesn’t deserve it. Yes, he could score with any of those players. The difference? Well, that would be the rest of his game. He just doesn’t have the feel for the game that those players do. Sorry, analytical people, I used the word “feel”. This will be Melo’s last season to prove that he belongs with those names. It also could be his last in the NY. Sorry, Knick fans you still have Stoudemire for at least another year ( 2 years, $45 million left).

To me this team is built on false hope. The hope that Bargnani can fit next to Melo and not hurt them defensively. I can see that working offensively a tad. Defensively? Not so much. Hoping that Metta World Peace and Chandler still have game left, and that J.R. can duplicate his performance from last season. Since his off-season resigning, he’s had surgery (knee) and has been suspended (Drug) for five-games. So his 2013-14 season is off to a rousing start. Hoping that Stoudemire can at least play 20 minutes a game. Hoping that Melo can finally take that next step in his career. That’s a lot of hoping.

Felton is a decent point-guard. He brings physicality to that position, that you don’t see much. Shupmert looks be fully back from his knee injury and that is a good thing for Knicks fans. He could be a break-out candidate.  I always like Udrih. I fall in love with some players and it doesn’t really matter how they produce.

Wins (44-47)      Starters   (Felton, Prigioni, Melo, Bargnani, Chandler)

Brooklyn Nets

Next up is the Brooklyn Nets. Gone are Keith Bogans, MarShon Brooks, Kris Humphries, Jerry Stackhouse, F Gerald Wallace, and C.J. Watson. Amazes me that Stack was still even playing. In are Kevin Garnett, Andrei Kirilenko, Shaun Livingston, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry and Jason Kidd. Who’s left? Joe Johnson, Deron Williams, Brook Lopez, Reggie Evans, and Andray Blatche. What does that add up too? Win a title this year or next season. OR BUST...

Obviously, when you first look at this team you think how the chemistry will be and Christ, they’re are old and slow. But, hey, the game slows down in the playoffs and the Nets could have the best half-court team in the league. The first thing that Nets will have to realize is that this team is Deron Williams ‘team. That Garnett and Pierce were brought in to be role players, not the “stars”.  They also will have to decide who is the first option on the team offensively? The first option should be Lopez. Let the “big-man” do his thing. The second option should be D-Will and after that, just find who has the better match-up that night.

To get back to the chemistry thing, I don’t see that being a factor at all. Garnertt and Pierce know how to build chemistry and others will follow suit. As for that athletic factor on the wing? My man, “AK-47” will take care of that. Kirilenko can still hoop. I love Reggie Evans. There is a guy that understands his game and stays within his strengthens. More players should learn from him. He was like Livingston, even though he could never stay healthy. Still has game left. Terry still can do some things.

Jason is an interesting factor. He is jumping from the player ranks, right into the coaching world. Can he adjust? Ummm, I think this dude could have been a player/coach his whole entire career. So does that answer the question? Biggest challenges are the Pacers and Lebron’s bunch. This will be fun to watch.

Wins (50-55)       Starters    (Williams, Johnson, Pierce, Garnett, Lopez)

Toronto Raptors

Lastly, the Toronto Raptors. Gone are Andrea Bargnani, Linas Kleiza,  John Lucas III, Mickael Pietrus,  and Sebastian Telfair. Does Telfair really do anything on the court? In are D.J. Augustin, Austin Daye, Tyler Hansbrough, and Steve Novak. Who’s left? Kyle Lowry, Rudy Gay, DeMar DeRozan, Amir Johnson, Terrence Ross, and Jonas Valanciunas. What’s that add up to be? An interesting team and fun to watch.

This team has talent, but will it fit together? They have young talent in Valaciunas and Terrence Ross. They also have underrated talent in Amir Johnson. He is an underrated rebounder. Gay, Lowry, Rozan are all solid players. Hansbrough brings toughness and Augustin brings scoring to the second unit. They have a little bit of everything, except for that ‘star”.

New general manager Masai Ujiri was brought in this summer and comes from the Denver Nuggets team that he built. So the guy knows how to build a team. I am actually, excited to see how this team turns out. They will likely battle for the seventh or eighth seed in the East.  I know that doesn’t seem exciting on the surface, but it’s about growth with this team. Lowry needs to rebound from a down year and I think he can. Rooting for the Philly boy. DeRozan has improved his game overall, and will still dunk on anyone’s head. Valanciunas is the key to this team.  If he can develop, that will go along way for the Raptors.

Looking forward real quick…If they have success developing their players, the next move should be getting that “star” on this team. Ujiri will have plenty of assets to make that happen for this team, if they develop. The Raptors have $74 million committed to players this season, next season just $48 million according to HoopsHype.com. Though Ujiri will need to make a decision on Lowry (last year of contract). Does he think Lowry is the starting PG of the future?

Wins  (38-43)    Starters  (Lowry, Rozan, Gay, Johnson, Valanciunas)

Sixers Balls: The Challenge For Brett Brown

Brett Brown Philadelphia Sixers

There is much to be said about first year NBA head coaches. The first thing people look at is where they came from. Are they coming from the college land? If they are, can they handle the NBA? If they’re from the NBA assistant world, who have they worked under? Are they good player development guys? Do they bring a good offensive/defensive scheme with them? Most first year head coaches are judged right away, even before they patrol the sidelines. That’s just the way it is in today’s society. I mean, let’s just say that the Sixers hired someone from the staff of Bernie Bickerstaff.  I sure as hell would go running into on coming traffic. That really is a scary thought.

For example, Brad Stevens the new head coach of the Boston Celtics falls right into that “college-land” obviously. Personally, I think Stevens has a very good chance of succeeding.  But there are questions surrounding him.  Not questions about x’s and o’s, but about how he is going to motivate his players? In college its more like a father and son relationship. When it comes to the NBA it’s about gaining the respect from your peers. That is the challenge for Stevens.

It’s hard to keep people motivated when they know they’re in a losing situation.  Stevens will have to deal with that. Brett Brown has a few different challenges, but at the end of the day, he and Stevens are basically taking on the same challenges.

Brett Brown, obviously falls under the “NBA assistant world” and was highly thought of.  Working under Gregg Popovich as an assistant for the past seven seasons and being one of San Antonio’s top player development guys helps too. He was so highly thought of, that people were trying to talk him out of coming to the Sixers. That if he waited it out, a better situation would come along. Brown was even hesitant himself, and I can’t say I blame him either. Usually when a team is in the situation the Sixers are in, most of the time they have a stop-gap coach.  Then the team goes out and gets the coach they want, after collecting enough talent. Well, Brown wasn’t having any of that. Brown:

“I was not going to take the job without the four years (guaranteed),” Brown said about his contract. “And I am extremely grateful to the owners where they took a step back, and I think it’s a tremendous reflection of what they truly think too. It’s going to take time. They really do have a tolerance. There is a patience. And as much as it was security for myself, I felt like they made a statement to the marketplace that they’re for real. They really do see this being a long-haul type of position.  via USATodaySports

The Sixers obviously realized they had a guy they believed in and they wanted for the long haul. They believe in Brown’s philosophies, and his abilities to communicate, and motivate. Communicate and motivate are the KEY words in that sentence. There is going to be a lot of long nights coming. Players will be down on themselves. Some might think that they might not belong. That is where Brown will have to be at his best. Letting them know that there is light at the end of the tunnel. That it’s not about wins or loses right now. That its all about getting better as an individual and as a teammate. It’s about getting better every single day. That is where Brown’s player development comes in.

Brown has talked about his coaching philosophies, how he doesn’t have an analytical bug. He will listen to it, but he doesn’t swear buy it. That is a good thing. Leave the analytics to the GM and let the coach be the motivator. When you are a head coach in the NBA you know plenty of x’s and o’s. You understand the game. What separates the average coaches from the good coaches is the way they relate to players. Here’s hoping Brown is that motivator.

Sixers Balls: Tony Wroten…

Tony Wroten- Philadelphia Sixers

PhilaPhans

Everybody knows this season is not about the “W’s”. I have heard some people actually say that the Sixers may make another run at the worst winning percentage in NBA history. Yes, that thing they were relinquished of just a few years back (Thanks Bobcats).  When it comes down to it, it’s all about the individuals for the Sixers. It’s about hoping and wishing for that “Diamond in the Rough”.

This roster is full of undrafted, castoffs, and underachievers.  It’s full of players that are just trying to get one more shot to prove that they belong.  It’s early…OK, fine. It’s real early, but the one guy that is standing out and catching some people’s attention is guard Tony Wroten. Who? If you don’t know who he is, you might want to find out.

The former first round pick (25th overall of last years draft) of the Memphis Grizzlies, played his college ball for the Washington Huskies.  He averaged 16.7 points, 5.0 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game for the Huskies and was named to the All-Pac-12 first team in his only season of college ball (2011-12).  The former Huskie has easily been one of the best players thus far in the preseason.

Wroten, 20, is a 6″ 6′ point guard,  but he plays more like a combo guard in my eyes. Once he takes off his warm-up, he is in attack mode.  The kid can flat-out get up and down the court. He looks like he eats about 30 packets of sugar, before he enters a game. The kid just has a ton of energy. There are few things that jump-out about him besides his energy level.  That would be his transition game and the way he attacks the rim.  Brett Brown has said that he wants the Sixers to play fast; well Tony Wroten fits that model perfectly. He easily looks to be the fastest player with ball.

The one thing that Tony looks like he needs to work on is his jumper, even though he just went 4-8 from 3-point land the other day. He has plenty of time to work on that.

Why would the Grizzlies give up on raw-talent like Wroten for just a second-round pick? That is a easy question to answer. They don’t have time to take on a project; they’re too busy trying to win a NBA title. On the flip side, the Sixers, obviously have time for that.

So the kid, who played just 272 minutes all last season and averaged 2.6 points per game on 38.4 percent shooting, will get plenty of opportunities. It’s early as hell, but he looks to be ready to take full advantage of his opportunity. Remember its all about individuals this season. We talkin individuals.