Untimely (All Star) break for Sixers
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on February 14, 2009
Ouh, and happy Saint Valentine’s day everybody, it’s been a f’n busy week at work, I can finally relax now and take care of my blog.
So Sixers got to the All Star break with a 27-24 record (.529) after the 91-87 W over Memphis of three days ago - the (late) recap follows below, at the end of this post.
As many noted, included myself, the break…breaks a nice streak of games: four straight Ws, 5-2 in the seven game-homestand, 14-4 after the loss at San Antonio (Jan 3), 18-10 since Di Leo took over as head coach (Dec 13, W over Wizards).
Sixers clearly found their rythm, a nice balance offesnively and defensively, good chemistry, so I think this interruption comes at the wrong time.
And I’ll pass on the fact that the All Star Game is still #2 in my “Things I could not care less about” list, just after maths.
Still the All Star weekend it’s the chance to take a look at what happened in the last weeks and, mostly, try to make an analysis of the future.
First off, while trade rumors are becoming crazy (yesterday an actual deal was concluded, Raptors sent Jermaine O’Neal and Jamario Moon to Miami, in exchange for Shawn Marion), I’ll state one more time what I think Sixers should do before trade deadline: NOTHING.
While it’s crystal-clear what our biggest need is (get a SHOOTER to upgrade the SG position), it’s apparently less clear what we would miss if our biggest asset (Andre Miller) is traded.
I’ve read countless trade proposals involving Miller, some made even SOME sense: Andre-for-Mike, in a Miller-swapping deal with Minnesota, Andre-for-Hinrich, with Sixers and Bulls exchanging PGs. Many made zero sense, and I won’t bother reporting them.
While I USED to like Mike Miller, he stunningly decreased his production this year: 9.1 PPG, 47% FG, 34% from behind the arc and 69% from the line (!) while I’m typing this, to go with a rescpectable 5.6 RPG and 3.7 APG.
Please notice that Willie Green - and I mean W-i-l-l-i-e G-r-e-e-n ! – averages 8.4 PPG, with 44% FG, 32% from 3 pt land, 69% FT (= Mike Miller), even if adding nothing in all the other categories (1 reb, 2 assists per game), where the Wolve is indeed contributing.
Of course it would be better to have Mike Miller than Willie Green, but at 9.7 mill until 2010 ???
And who would play PG? Lou Williams? Uhm…. If a deal like that one with Minnesota goes down, Sixers will likely miss the postseason, NOT get cap relief, and have to sign a scrub PG next summer.
Guys, I’ve said it numerous times, Andre Miller is a heck of a PG, his importance for the team has been vastly underrated since he came here.
With him you have a durable point guard, who never misses a game (500 consecutive games played, longest streak for an active player, and counting) distributes the ball, makes every teammate happy, hits clutch shots, is a silent leader. What can you ask more?
Yes, his defense vs quick opponents is suspect, and it won’t get any better at 33 y/o, but that’s why you signed Ivey, after all. And I cannot name many PGs capable to lock down Paul, or Harris, or Deron Williams (I purposely mentioned players that usually ABUSE Andre), can you?
So LET’S KEEP ANDRE MILLER !!
I’ll take a step forward: I think we should start considering a reasonable price to resign him next summer. I think a 3 year-20 mill offer would be fair, and could get the job done.
Miller is one of the main reasons the young players got significantly better, and are continuing in this growing process. Which, by the way, is the most encouraging thing happened to the team in the last weeks.
Let’s take a quick look at the rest of the roster.
- Marreese Speights: a beast, that improves at every game. Can you say steal of the draft?
- Royal Ivey: solid contributor, getting minutes in the 4th quarter also.
- Andre Iguodala: Sixers’ MVP probably so far, putting All star numbers and missing the All Star team because…well, I have no idea. He’s even becoming clutch !!
- Thaddeus Young: another star-in-the-making. Remember he played as PF for large part of last season: well, this year he began as starting SF, then went from starter to bench player - when Iguodala was moved to SF and Green put back in the starting line up at SG – to starter again when Brand went down, changing spot for the second time, PF again. All of this without any significant effect on his (always positive) production.
At the second year in the League (and making it to the Sophomore-Rookies game, see the pic), many of his colleagues would have been confused by all these changes. Instead, he is showing great maturity and composure. PF or SF, just make sure he’s on the floor for at least 30 min per night.
- Sam Dalembert has improved lately (also because it was impossible to do worse, let’s be honest) and is now having a positive impact on the team. A clutch block vs Grizzlies, to name one of the good things he did in this stretch. I‘m afraid think he won’t be traded.
The few negative notes are:
- Lou Williams is shooting 15/53 (28%) in the last six games, 31/101 (30%) in the last ten. Take it to the rim, Lou, and stop with those annoying “long two pointers” at the end of the quarters. I still like you and won’t waive you from my fantasy teams (LOL).
- Willie Green is the usual scrub, that can occasionally have a good game. To his credit, he’s not making much damage, though.
TO SUM IT UP, Sixers are now at the 6th spot in the East, but just 1/2 game after the 28-24 Miami Heat, now 5th. Even if our schedule says we will play 13 games at home and 18 on the road to end the regular season, I think we can reach the 4th seed that would mean home court advantage in the first round.
Currently Atlanta is there at 31-21, and has 16 games to play at home and 14 away, but I think taking the Hawks’ spot should be our (reachable) goal. Not to mention we match up pretty well with Atlanta, so facing them in a seven games series would mean a good chance to advance, reguardless of who will have home court advantage.
GRIZZLIES GAME RECAP: three long jumpers by Marreese Speights in the 4th and a streak of clutch plays by Iguodala to beat Memphis, in a game that was tougher than expected.
In the last 2.25 minutes Andre won a jump ball vs 7-1 Marc Gasol, scored off a wonderful assist by Miller (82-82), then on a long jumper (84-82), then went 2/2 from the line (86-84), then converted a tough, decisive left handed shot on a drive with 25 seconds left (89-87), then pushed Mayo to shoot an off balanced jumper on Memphis’ last offensive possession, and eventually sealed the game from the line.
Yes, “it was only the Grizzlies”, but that wasn’t bad at all.