1. Evan Turner haiku, go!
Daniel Christian: Defensive lapses
Remember my game-winner?
I have weird sideburns
Eric Goldwein: Defensive assignments blown
Layup attempts stuffed
Era of disappointment
Wesley Share: You think you play point.
You also take awful shots.
Please stop being bad.
Tom Sunnergren: Scoring is way up
Efficiency down, somehow
Work those phones Hinkie
Bryan Toporek: Practice three-pointers?
Improved field-goal percentage?
Child, please. That’s for chumps.
2. Fact or fiction: Thad Young will be the first of the “big 3″ to go.
Christian: Fact. Not only is Young the most enticing trade asset of the “big 3,” but he also reportedly wants out of the dastardly situation in Philadelphia. Contending teams should be willing to doll out assets for the underrated stretch-four. It just depends on if Hinkie likes what he hears.
Goldwein: Sure, he reportedly requested a trade. But don’t assume that means Sam Hinkie is rushing to the phone and trying to get a deal done. If Young goes, it’ll be because Hinkie wants him gone. Not because the suddenly capable 3-point threat wants out.
Share: I’ll go fact, but it’s tough to predict. Since his trade request leaked, the Sixers have lost significant leverage. Plus, Hinkie will likely aggressively be trying to move the Turner/Hawes expirings. Any of the three could go any day.
Sunnergren: Fact. After an uneven start, Thad’s been hitting his stride of late, averaging 18.9 points in December on 53.1 percent shooting–including a scorching 46.4 percent from 3. This makes him very attractive to potential trade mates and, given the Sixers, ahem, “goals” this season, radioactive for Hinkie. Me thinks he’s gone, and soon.
Toporek: Fiction. I’ve been saying for months that Thad has the highest trade value of any Sixer, but despite his trade request, he’s got zero leverage. Unlike Hawes and Turner, he’s signed long-term. Since the gun isn’t to Hinkie’s head with Thad, he’ll pull the trigger on one of the other two first.
3. Your best sports-related Christmas (or Hannukah) present was _____.
Christian: Either my Dahntay Jones Memphis Grizzlies jersey or my DeAngelo Hall Atlanta Falcons jersey. If only because now, in hindsight, it’s laughable.
Goldwein: Hmm, nothing sticks out at the moment. But you know those sports trivia calendars? I got them every year, and they were pretty awesome.
Share: A Kyle Korver signed basketball as part of the Sixers’ season-ticket holder Christmas package. Korver was traded for Gordon Giricek a few months later.
Sunnergren: This T-shirt. God I loved the 2006 Eagles.
Toporek: Dec. 28, 2008. The Cowboys and the Eagles square off in a win-or-go-home game in Week 17. Led by Donovan McNabb and Brian Westbrook, the Eagles win in a landslide, 44-6. Am I rubbing this game in the face of every Cowboys fan between now and Sunday? You better believe it.
4. In five years, Jrue Holiday will be ____.
Christian: In five years, Jrue Holiday will be by and large the same player he is today: a dependable starting point guard. I don’t see much room for improvement, especially under the current roster situation. Having said that, he’ll be at the age usually indicative of a player’s prime.
Goldwein: Somewhere between Chauncey Billups-lite and Gary Payton. He’s still having trouble taking care of the ball and getting to the foul line with the Pelicans, and if he can’t improve there he may never become great. But even if he plateaus, his plus-defense and 3-point shooting will make him valuable to any team.
Share: A fringe all-star starting point guard for a perennial middle-of-the-pack playoff Pelicans team.
Sunnergren: Sound. Jrue will never be a star, but he’s athletic, plays great defense, can shoot the basketball, and, from what I’ve heard, is a hard worker who’s unusually dedicated to his craft. Five years from now, he might make it to an All-Star game, and deserve it.
Toporek: Overpaid. He’ll have learned his lesson after signing a cap-friendly four-year, $41 million extension in 2012. Give him a couple years to jell with Anthony Davis and he’ll be putting up inflated numbers on the reg. He’ll then sign for something like $15 million per year with a lesser team and immediately regret that decision.
5. Your 2013-14 Atlantic Division champion is ______.
Christian: The Knicks. It’s not too late to turn things around. I think a healthy Tyson Chandler can make a difference. It’s not like there’s a right answer here. I’ll go with the team with the best player and no first round pick to play for.
Goldwein: The Boston Celtics. They’re atop the division without Rajon Rondo, and unlike the Nets or Knickerbockers, they have the ammo to grab another player or two.
Share: The Brooklyn Nets. Prokhorov isn’t going to sit around and watch his team lose. Rather, he’ll make a win-now move and, whether that move is in personnel or coaching, they’ll break through and take the division with a late-season surge.
Sunnergren: Boston. Once Rondo returns to the Garden, the Cs and their whip-smart young coach should be able to swing something like a .500 record–which ought to be enough to clinch the Atlantic by March. (Toronto is interesting, but Masai Ujiri seems hell-bent on moving the excellent Kyle Lowry, mostly because Kyle Lowry is excellent.)
Toporek: The Boston Celtics. Quite frankly, it’s amazing how badly the two New York teams are floundering. Given Brook Lopez’s season-ending broken foot and Carmelo Anthony now spraining his ankle on Monday, I’m counting both the Knicks and Nets out. I’d pick the Raptors here, but I’m expecting Masai Ujiri to continue blowing up the team. That leaves the Celtics as the default pick, essentially.