Under DiLeo, no mo’ slow Mo
Posted by Ricky - Sixers4guidos on January 10, 2009
After the Charlotte game – recapped below this post – I think you will enjoy Sixerdave’s deep analysis on how things turned under interim coach Tony Di Leo.
When Mo Cheeks was fired on December 13th, many including myself thought the team might have been jumping the gun.
However after further review, the Sixers may have been trying to jumpstart the run and gun.
The Sixers were 9-14 under Mo Cheeks but had much higher aspirations after signing the biggest offseason acquisition, Elton Brand.
Since Tony Dileo has taken over as coach, the Sixers are 7-6 and had to play most of those games without their star power forward.
So how did Dileo turn it around?
The team returned to its frenetic defensive style that was so successful last year. The increased activity on defense led to fastbreak after fastbreak which allowed the Sixers speedsters to do what they do best. The Sixers have some phenomenal athletes on the team who are deadly in the open court.
Also, the Sixers half court offense has been more creative, setting up shots for Thaddeus Young and Andre Iguodala in the post where they can start to work from closer to the basket instead of 20-25 feet out. Iguodala is rarely getting a triple- or quadruple-team because the other team’s defense is frantically trying to recover to their spots.
The Sixer guards have benefitted the most from Tony’s new system. Andre Miller and Andre Iguodala have been on fire under Dileo, especially in January. Iguodala shot 44% under Cheeks but has improved to 47% under Dileo. Miller’s 44% improved to an impressive 54%.
Lou Williams has also been shooting a better percentage. Williams shot 37% before Cheeks was fired, and 45% since. Royal Ivey has pitched in nicely recently for Philly. Ivey shot 27% under Cheeks (22% from 3) and 58% under Dileo (54% from 3).
One could argue that some of these guys had some rust from the offseason, or that Andre Miller came in out of shape. But on the other hand, Cheeks had a training camp and preseason to get these guys in gear while Dileo had to pick up from where Cheeks left off.
The Sixers failed to reach 90 points in nearly half of the games under Mo Cheeks and were 2-9 in such contests. After the firing, the Sixers have failed to reach 90 points just one time, a 96-86 defeat at Dallas. Di Leo’s Sixers have reached the 100 point plateau 7 times, one more than they did under Cheeks and it only took Dileo 13 games. The Sixers are 5-2 in those games with losses at Denver and San Antonio.
These results have come for the most part without the top tier power forward Brand, who injured his shoulder in a win over Milwaukee when he leaped to attempt to block a shot by Luc Richard Mbah a Moute.
Dileo will be in a quandry when Brand returns as he’ll have to figure out how to blend Brand into his system which is currently working so well.
It has been documented that an uptempo style team doesn’t win championships in the NBA. However, most NBA championship teams can play defense or score effectively in the halfcourt or on the break. Brand’s defense and rebounding should help spring the break, and his wingspan and strength should allow him to play at the center position against many NBA teams.
What Dileo has to avoid is reverting back to a boring predictable offense of running the ball directly through Brand in the post. They need to keep bodies moving on offense and find more creative ways to get Brand the ball with driving, cutting, lobs, pick and roll, and pick and pop. Brand is also one of the best in the league at securing offensive rebounds which he is quite adept at putting back in the basket, or getting fouled and going to the line.
Dileo is not necessarily the longterm answer for this team, but right now he has the Sixers playing exciting basketball and hopefully we’ll start to see Sixer fans coming out and showing support.