FanPost

Game 59: Philadelphia 76ers at New Jersey Nets

This home-and-home set is pretty important. Not for the Nets of course, but for the free-falling Philadelphia 76ers. About a month ago, the Sixers were playing good basketball and had a nice sized lead in the mediocre Atlantic Division. Since then, it's been all downhill. They've lost games to playoff teams like Boston and Miami, and they've lost to the likes of Washington and Toronto.

Let's look at how these teams have done this season:

Offensive Efficiency

Defensive Efficiency

Free throw rate

Turnover rate

Offensive rebounding %

Effective FG%

Opponent eFG%

Philadelphia

101.1 95.8 21.1 10.80 23.97 47.79 45.65

New Jersey

100.8 107.1 27.5 14.41 28.88 47.66 51.53

League Average

101.7 101.7 27.8 13.81 27.03 48.7 48.6

The first thing that jumped out to me was Philadelphia's absurdly low free throw rate, which can be explained in two ways. One, they don't really have a player that can consistently create contact and get to the free throw line. And two, they love deep two pointers. They are 2nd in the NBA (behind Chicago) in shots per game from 16-23 feet. And while I understand and appreciate the value of a good mid-range game, if you're 22 feet away from the basket, you might as well step back and take the higher value shot. Moving on from that, their defense has been great on the whole this year, but it's been God awful during the losing streak. In general, I don't like cherry picking a set of games and would rather look at the larger sample, but Philly's defense has been abysmal during this recent stretch of games. Here's the defensive efficiencies for the 76ers during their last 6 games (the offensive efficiency rankings for this season of the 76ers' opponents are in the brackets):

Boston - 112 (25)

Orlando - 103.5 (16)

Toronto - 120.7 (24)

Miami - 103.1 (3)

Atlanta - 103.4 (17)

Washington - 107.8 (28)

It's one thing to have an off night vs. one of the best teams in the NBA, but Washington and Toronto during a playoff chase? It doesn't bode well for their playoff chances if they even get in (the question of if they should be trying to make a run at the playoff is another question entirely).

I'm not impressed by the Nets beating Cleveland since Irving was out & they needed overtime to beat a team featuring old man Antwan Jamison and Lester Hudson.

Last time I saw you

And before we jump ahead, let's head back to the 1996-1997 season. Even though time hasn't been kind to his place in history and he hasn't been seen in an NBA arena since 2009, when I was younger I though Allen Iverson was the man. What, I liked guys who could break your ankles and were very confident in their abilities (I refuse to say the word swag). And in my defense, I was 10 and didn't know anything about shooting efficiency.


Tip-off is at 7:30. Jump!

Point Guard: Jrue Holiday vs. Deron Williams

Even though he's taken a step back this year, I still think Holiday can be a good player and elite point guard in this league. On the whole, he's had a good year on defense (opponent PER of 14.2 according to 82 games), but his offense has taken a big step back. Unless you're Jason Kidd in his prime, you can't live with a point guard with a 48.6 True Shooting%. That, and Holiday having no assists in 2 critical games.

At least he's spreading the ball around. I feel like a broken record, but I can't take the high shot attempt, low efficiency games from Williams. I guess all I can do now is shrug and live with it as long as he continues to get his teammates involved.

Advantage: Nets

Shooting Guard: Evan Turner vs. Marshon Brooks

I read recently that Doug Collins was thinking of pulling Turner from the lineup in favor of Meeks. And while Collins's thought process is solid (Meeks has shot better than Turner this year & Collins has a job to save), that would be the wrong move in my opinion. Turner is a great rebounding guard and good passer, and most importantly, he's the person they picked with the #2 pick in the 2010 Draft. You have to give a player chosen that highly in the Draft every opportunity to succeed.

Two straight quality games from Brooks. He was active on the glass (7 rebounds) and had an efficient shooting game (14 points on 6-11). I could live with this kind of play from Brooks going forward.

Advantage: Sixers

Small Forward: Andre Iguodala vs. Gerald Wallace (?)/ Gerald Green

I think AI is one of the most underrated and under-appreciated players in the NBA. He's a good finisher at the rim, can occasionally pop a three pointer, an above average rebounder, solid passer and ferocious defender (seriously, opposing small forwards have a PER of 8 against him. Keep in mind league average is 15). And for what it's worth, I'd love to have him on the Nets. THe contract doesn't really offend me because his productivity on the court will make him worth the contract.

Wallace strained his hamstring against the Cavaliers, and he's a gametime decision. If Wallace doesn't play, then Gerald Green will more than likely get the start. He's been amazing so far, with a True Shooting % of .597. That's awesome to begin with, and it becomes even more awesome when you take into account that he was in the D-League and hadn't played in an NBA game since 2009. Hopefully he can continue the great play vs. an outstanding defender in Iggy.

Advantage: Sixers

Power Forward: Elton Brand vs. Kris Humphries

It's been a renaissance of sorts for the former All Star. He's shooting 49% from the field, which is acceptable for a big man. But his defense has been solid, as he's ranked 8th in defensive win shares and he's holding opposing centers to a PER of 14. He'll always be burdened by that contract, but he plays well enough so that it doesn't hurt that badly.

The Sixers are the third best defensive rebounding team in the league, so Hump might have some difficulties in this game. Although, he did pull down 19 rebounds when these teams played each other in January.

Advantage: Sixers

Center: Spencer Hawes vs. Shelden Williams

It's a shame Hawes missed so much time due to injuries this season. Before his injury, he was playing really well. He's a solid rebounder, a good shooter near the basket, a competent mid range shooter(46% on jumpers from 16-23 feet) and a great passing center.

Williams played 34 minutes last game and grabbed 10 rebounds, so it appears as if his eye isn't going to hamper him going forward. He's the best Center the Nets have right now, which says more about the Centers on the Nets than it does Shelden.

Advantage: Sixers

Bench:

Philadelphia: Lou Williams, Thaddeus Young, Jodie Meeks, Nikola Vuvevic

New Jersey: Anthony Morrow, Jordan Williams, Sundiata Gaines, DeShawn Stevenson

Advantage: Philadelphia

Miscellaneous:

Rod Thorn is running Philadelphia and Billy King is running New Jersey. And yet, neither team is anywhere near title contention. Mediocrity for mediocrity I suppose.

FWIW, I actually wanted to draft Turner with our pick.

I forget where I read it, but as it turns out the 16-23 foot jumper is the worst shot in basketball. They even called it the poop (replace poop with the s word) shot.

Andre Iguodala for Monta Ellis? Sometimes it's the trades you don't make that work out best.

Some people will lose focus and say "Look, Shaq was traded. Chris Paul was traded. LeBron and Bosh moved." The problem is they moved to teams with established superstars. That initial superstar, the one that brings you relevance and attracts other superstars to your team, is almost unequivocally acquired through the draft.

Yet some people will say "the draft doesn't guarantee anything. Look at the Clippers!" Of course. Yet what they fail to realize is that no strategy is a guarantee. All strategies require a combination of the right amount of luck and the right decision. Any strategy that has decision makers making poor decision is bound to fail. That's not proof that the draft isn't the prime place to mine superstar talent.

What they never bring up are the failed attempts to bring a superstar in through free agency, or the failed attempts to acquire one through trades. I say attempts because not only do those categories include the players signed to be franchise players that didn't work out (Elton Brand) and the trades that were completed to bring in a superstar (Chris Webber), but also the free agent signings and trades that didn't materialize in the first place. At least in the draft you have the opportunity every year. In free agency, you're subject to the whims of Dwight Howard or LeBron James, without the precedent of superstar free agents changing teams to take a lesser salary to go to a mid-pack team without an existing superstar. You're often times stuck with no legitimate option.

What they never bring up are the failed attempts to bring a superstar in through free agency, or the failed attempts to acquire one through trades. I say attempts because not only do those categories include the players signed to be franchise players that didn't work out (Elton Brand) and the trades that were completed to bring in a superstar (Chris Webber), but also the free agent signings and trades that didn't materialize in the first place. At least in the draft you have the opportunity every year. In free agency, you're subject to the whims of Dwight Howard or LeBron James, without the precedent of superstar free agents changing teams to take a lesser salary to go to a mid-pack team without an existing superstar. You're often times stuck with no legitimate option.

No, you're not guaranteed a superstar in the draft. You just have a higher probability of getting one than the other avenues. - Derek Bodner of Liberty Ballers


This is absolutely perfect. We've been going through this for the past 2 seasons, with horrendous results. And if I could add to this, it's more cost-effective as well. If you make a great pick in the Draft, you get an above average player(& if you're lucky, a superstar) playing well above what he's being paid. With the $ you save, you could use it on signing good veteran free agents that would help make you a championship contender.

To expand on that point, Williams on the Nets doesn't really qualify for the "He's a superstar already on the team" category. His play has been well below the standard he played at in Utah, he's battled injuries a good amount of the time he's been here, and he might leave in the summer. And to be completely honest, we don't fit the mid-pack team without an existing superstar part either. We're more like a bottom of the league team with a good player & a whole bunch of question marks all across the organization.

Maybe it's just me, but it feels like the Sixers have been stuck in place since they lost the Finals in 2001. They were the Atlanta Hawks before the Atlanta Hawks.

Philly might as well tank and get a good pick. What's the point of sneaking into the playoffs again just to catch a beatdown from the Miami Heat again?

I was just going through the Nets Draft page on Basketball reference, and some of those picks make my head hurt. Marcus Williams, Antoine Wright, Sean Williams, Zoran Plananic and Josh Boone. Sheesh.

I like Doug Collins (I think he's a good coach & a great TV analyst), but calling your players soft is really silly.

I'M A BAWSE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Journey Through the Dark Side: Liberty Ballers

The mothership: 76ers vs Nets coverage

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