Apr 15 2015

Finding Playoff Destinations For The 15 Sixers

This once-fun regular season is finally coming to an end, and after doing some number crunching, it’s become apparent that the 2015 76ers will not be getting one of those coveted 16 playoff spots.

But here’s a fun hypothetical: if the Sixers disbanded and their players were put in a playoff draft pool, who would be the best fit where?

We’ll start with …

Henry Sims, Atlanta Hawks. Sims probably isn’t cracking Atlanta’s rotation. (Note: recurring theme.) But think of all the garbage time minutes the most boring Sixer could potentially get on the most boringly good team in the league in a first round series with the resoundingly boring Nets/Pacers. Henry Sims sees that NBA Channel limelight, and he wants to bask in it, damn it.

Nerlens Noel, Cleveland Cavaliers. The only thing the Cavs are lacking – though it’s a bit of a stretch to suggest they’re lacking anything, really – is a big rim protector who can come off the bench and anchor the defense while Mozgov is out of the game. WHOOPS. The Cavs have done a commendable job of building a roster around LeBron that already has them in a position to win this year. But you know Cavs fans are lamenting the first preview of the Iriving/Wiggins/James/Noel lineup that very well could have been.

Ish Smith, Toronto Raptors. Purely for Kyle Lowry insurance purposes. Greivis Vasquez is a solid backup, and so is sixth man of the year candidate Lou Williams. But the latter isn’t exactly a dish-first guard, and if Lowry goes down, Ish could work his way into the role of the distributor the North needs. (In transitioning from Nerlens Noel to Jonas Valanciunas, he may need to soften up his lobs accordingly.)

Thomas Robinson, Chicago Bulls. It’s understandable the Bulls never took a flier on T-Rob – the back of their bench is to Tom Thibodeau what Platform 9 3/4 is to non-wizards – but if he managed to stumble into some playing time, Robinson would be such a Bull. Can you imagine him and Noah crashing the boards at the same time, specifically the bone-chilling, United Center-threatening sound that would create? Would the Bucks/Wizards even bother going for rebounds?

Brett Brown, Washington Wizards. Cheating a bit, sure, but note that we can’t help out all 16 playoff teams with a 15-man roster. In a way, Brown is the most immediate improvement on this list. John Wall and Bradley Beal are still young enough that Brown and his relentless enthusiasm could get through to them in a way that perhaps Randy “I hate 3-pointers and walk off the court before the game ends” Wittman can’t.

Luc Mbah a Moute, Milwaukee Bucks. Milwaukee’s already been gifted Michael Carter-Williams, and last night’s 30-point outburst in Philly notwithstanding, many Bucks fans are wishing to re-gift Michael Carter-Williams. So what better way to mend the situation than by giving them back their 2008 second-round pick? The Young Bucks amassed plenty of athletic freaks – Greek and otherwise – since LRMAM’s departure in 2013, and his triumphant return could provide a healthy does of reality as to what your standard NBA player looks like.

Glenn Robinson III, Boston Celtics. The Celtics have a good chance of being swept by Cleveland in the first round, but at least one day GR3 will be able to tell GR5 about the time he played against LeBron — or, more accurately, the Cavs bench — in the 2015 playoffs.

Tony Wroten, Brooklyn Nets. Between Deron Williams and Jarrett Jack, the Nets’ backcourt isn’t exactly what you’d call a flight risk. Though the Nets obviously won’t have Wroten for this season’s playoffs – appropriate, as there’s no point wasting an active player on this sweep-to-be – he’d score 20 a game if healthy, disorienting defenses while also ruining his own offense’s efficiency. (This applies to Indiana as well.)

Furkan Aldemir, Golden State Warriors.  The Warriros don’t need another big man. They don’t need another anything. But can you imagine Furkan grabbing offensive boards on multiple possessions and sending them back out to open Splash Brothers 3’s? Oracle Arena would absolutely love this guy. I can already see them erecting his statue outside the stadium, much to Steph’s befuddlement.

Hollis Thompson, San Antonio Spurs. Since the All-Star break, Hollis is fifth in the NBA in 3-point percentage among players with over 100 attempts. In the Spurs’ system, he’d nail five 3s a night and become an elite defender. You know this but you cannot stop it.

Jason Richardson, Los Angeles Clippers. Gives the vet a chance to chase a ring, adds some leadership to the always weird Clippers chemistry, and gives their bench – one of the weakest in the playoffs – some density. Plus, it re-unites J-Rich with old teammate Spencer Hawes!

Isaiah Canaan, Portland Trail Blazers. The recent injuries to C.J. McCollum and Nicolas Batum — along with Wes Matthews’ from March — leaves Portland in desperate need of backcourt help. Canaan might not be able to provide that in any extended role, but a few timely Canaan balls wouldn’t hurt.

Jerami Grant, Houston Rockets. Jerami goes to Houston, still gets more playing time than K.J., and K.J.’s mom single-handedly raises the national security level.

Robert Covington, Memphis Grizzlies. Why is a team that’s so perennially in contention, always seemingly at the cusp of the next level, so reluctant to add this basic, fundamental need of bench perimeter sccoring? You can’t say this about many guys on this list, but if Memphis added RoCo today, they’re a better team.

Jakarr Sampson, Dallas Mavericks. I want to see JaKarr interact with Rajon Rondo. I want to see JaKarr interact with Monta Ellis. I want to see JaKarr interact with Dirk, and Tyson Chandler, and Mark Cuban — he could Shark Tank pitch him a new section of the stadium called the “Dallas High-Flyers’ Club.” I want 13 photos of JaKarr clubbing with Chandler Parsons and Amar’e to drop at once like a Netflix show. Jakarr to the Mavs – I have a weird hunch it could lead them to a first-round upset.

Joel Embiid, New Orleans Pelicans/OKC Thunder. A Joel Embiid-Anthony Davis frontcourt — even with Joel Embiid in a walking boot on the bench — might be the NBA’s most exciting big man duo. Second to Enes Kanter and Joel Embiid…

Apr 12 2015

Sixers Lose To Bulls, Season Almost Over

Philadelphia 76ers 107 Final
Recap | Box Score
114 Chicago Bulls
Robert Covington, SF 37 MIN | 8-19 FG | 5-5 FT | 3 REB | 5 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 22 PTS | -3 +/-If you squint and un-focus your eyes while looking at his box score, it’s pretty good! However, once you put on your glasses and you notice that ugly 1-9 mark from deep, things get a lot less rosy. That being said, with the season almost (mercifully) over, I think we all can agree that Covington has been one of its brightest spots.

Jason Richardson, SG 25 MIN | 7-13 FG | 1-2 FT | 4 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 19 PTS | +8 +/-Just the fact that Richardson is still playing warrants his receiving such a high grade. But beyond even that mini-miracle, he played well. Effective from deep, Richardson was a relevant offensive presence the entirety of the game and helped to keep this one respectable.

JaKarr Sampson, SG 28 MIN | 7-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 7 REB | 4 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 2 TO | 18 PTS | -23 +/-I’m gonna miss JaKarr Sampson in two years when he is no longer in the NBA.

Thomas Robinson, PF 22 MIN | 1-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 10 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -5 +/-New rule: Thomas Robinson isn’t allowed to shoot. Just dunks and rebounds for you, Thomas. I know you read this, so don’t let me down.

Hollis Thompson, SG 33 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-3 FT | 2 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 15 PTS | +2 +/-Hollis has continued to shoot well in the second half of the season, after looking, frankly speaking, consistently terrible up until the all star break. I’m curious to see whether or not this hot stretch was enough to keep him in Sam Hinkie’s plans going forward.

By the Numbers: 2. There are two games left in the season. Just two. We’ve made it so far. The finish line is in sight. Two!

Parting Shots: The season is incredibly long, and the close of it has been rather depressing. The Heat have experienced a nosedive. The Thunder pick won’t convey either. These are still future assets, but it’s painful to know that they will remain in the future. If anybody wants to offer a pick-me-up in the comments, I could use it right now, because while I have hope that Embiid will be awesome and Noel will be a force, it’s tough to imagine stomaching another season of such futility.

Apr 09 2015

Jerami Grant: Rookie Wall, Or Not That Good?

Jerami Grant was everything you could want out of a second-round pick at the start of 2015. He was blocking shots, he was nailing 3-pointers, he was throwing down highlight worthy slams, and he was helping fans forget that their former favorite second-round prospect was given away at the deadline.

“He’s one of these guys, for me, that makes me want to hug Sam [Hinkie], because he nailed it,” coach Brett Brown told Sixers.com in January.

Grant’s production hasn’t so much declined since then; it’s fallen off a cliff. After shooting 46 percent (47 from 3) in January and 39 percent (39 from 3) in February, he dropped to 34 (28 from 3) in March and an abysmal 21 percent in his four April games. His minutes have increased, but his efficiency has dropped. His TS% is .459 post All-Star break, and on the season it’s .480, 23rd among the 35 qualified rookies. Per Box Score Geeks, he has a -.027 WP/48, 29th among the 33 rookies with 500-plus minutes. While he’s shown flashes of being a capable distributor, that’s not reflected with his 1.1 assists per game.

The good news for Grant: he’s a rookie, and even the best rookies aren’t good. (Kevin Durant was a net negative according +/- when he entered the league). Grant is no Durant, but he is a world class athlete whose skills could improve with time. Take his jumper, for example. He attempted 20 total 3-pointers in his two seasons at Syracuse. He was raw there, even by rookie standards. Yes, his January and February shooting performances may have been a fluke, but that his jumper has a heartbeat (and his form looks good) is a good sign.

The bad news for Grant: he simply hasn’t been a good player.  Yes, he only just turned 21, and there’s NBA talent in his DNA. But the best predictor of good basketball is good basketball. Highlights aside, Grant has not provided that. Given his contract (three more years of team control) he’s still a worthy investment, one with a big potential payoff even if his ceiling is rotation-level production. But thus far, he’s produced like most other 39th overall picks. Most of them don’t pan out.

Apr 09 2015

Sixers Blitzed By Wiz, Noel Sprains Ankle

Washington Wizards 119 Final
Recap | Box Score
90 Philadelphia 76ers
Robert Covington, SF 24 MIN | 8-11 FG | 7-8 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 27 PTS | -12 +/-Covington’s offense was the only thing keeping Philadelphia in the game for the first three quarters. Just look at that shooting percentage …

Jerami Grant, SF 27 MIN | 1-9 FG | 4-6 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 6 PTS | -16 +/-Grant had a vicious dunk after Noel picked a pass and hit him with a beautiful feed in transition. Other than that? 0-8 from the field in a relatively apathetic performance overall.

Thomas Robinson, PF 22 MIN | 5-12 FG | 1-2 FT | 12 REB | 2 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 11 PTS | -7 +/-Always reliable to rebound at a high clip, Robinson pulled down 12 boards and added 11 points in just 22 minutes. His energy was palpable on the court and he didn’t fare quite as badly as the other bigs on defense. (which doesn’t say much.)

JaKarr Sampson, SG 23 MIN | 0-7 FG | 2-2 FT | 0 REB | 3 AST | 2 STL | 1 BLK | 0 TO | 2 PTS | -17 +/-How many Sixers can shoot 7+ or more field goals and make less than 2 of them in a game? Apparently a lot. JaKarr Sampson was one that did a whole lot of missing. And no making.

Jason Richardson, SG 21 MIN | 6-7 FG | 1-1 FT | 1 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -13 +/-Richardson threw it back to the old days, burying four of five 3-pointers. It really seemed as if he and Covington scored every other Sixer basket.

By the Numbers: 34.8. That’s the 76ers field goal percentage on the night. They had players that shot 1-9, 1-9, 2-8, 3-10, 0-7, 0-3, and 2-7.

Noel update: Nerlens turned his right ankle and had to leave the game. Reports are that it’s a sprain, but it may force him out of the final three games.

Tweet of the Night:

Parting Shots: It’s been a long season and it looks like the Sixers are ready for it to end. They’ve lost seven games in a row now, including two to the Knicks and Lakers. Most guys couldn’t make a basket and the defense wasn’t even close to getting any stops tonight. Only three more games. When is the draft lottery again?

Apr 05 2015

76ers Drop Sixth Straight, This Time to League-Worst Knicks

Philadelphia 76ers 91 Final

Recap | Box Score

101 New York Knicks
Furkan Aldemir, PF 29 MIN | 2-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 9 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 4 PTS | +6 +/-Furkan boarded and set hard picks but did not quite make the most of another chance at starter’s minutes. He did take two 3-pointers, showing that the 76ers really are committed to letting anyone take a crack at developing from beyond the arc. It is by no means time to draw a final conclusion on the Furkan experiment, but tonight was not reassuring.

Robert Covington, SF 29 MIN | 4-13 FG | 3-4 FT | 3 REB | 2 AST | 1 STL | 0 BLK | 3 TO | 14 PTS | 0 +/-Covington is bound to continue to have his ups and downs. He is more of the focus of opposing team’s defense than he should be given the 76ers current personnel. Tonight was more of a down. His 14 pts were not particularly efficient and he disappeared for stretches of his time on the floor.

Nerlens Noel, C 37 MIN | 7-14 FG | 0-1 FT | 9 REB | 4 AST | 1 STL | 2 BLK | 1 TO | 14 PTS | -10 +/-The stat line looked solid tonight but it wasn’t one of Nerlens’ best performances. Defensively the front court gave up way too much to Bargnani and company, and Nerlens wasn’t able to slow that down. Offensively he didn’t contribute down the stretch, scoring only 4 points in the second half.

Ish Smith, PG 32 MIN | 8-18 FG | 0-1 FT | 1 REB | 7 AST | 2 STL | 0 BLK | 1 TO | 17 PTS | -22 +/-Ish Smith was the most productive player on the court offensively for the 76ers, though that -22 +/- is a little scary. While Ish is on the road to earning a roster spot on next year’s team, he shouldn’t be carrying the offense. Here’s to hoping he can have more offensive games like tonight, just with more help from his teammates.

Glenn Robinson III, SG 5 MIN | 0-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 0 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 0 PTS | +5 +/-There are plenty of wing prospects who have earned time ahead of GRIII, but while the 76ers are in full roster/lineup experimentation mode, and after a solid offensive showing against Charlotte, would’ve liked to have seen him get more minutes tonight.

By the Numbers 

8: The number of 76er free throw attempts…in the entire game. Even if they played poorly they deserved better than this.

Tweet of the Game

This game was sad. Nothing left to do but move on to alternative entertainment…

Parting Shots

Even considering some of the 20 plus point losses the 76ers have taken this year, tonight was one of if not the most disappointing performance. There was some lineup experimentation going on, and the referees made an early decision that no one on the 76ers was worthy of going to the line, but that alone does not account for what went on tonight. Nerlens looked out of sorts, and possibly not 100% given the eye troubles, Furkan and Jerami Grant did not make the most of starter’s minutes, and Ish was left to carry the load. Yikes. If nothing else, this team has shown it is resilient, so it would be no surprise if they came out and competed on Wednesday against Washington. Until then Andrea Bargnani, Jason Smith, and Lou Amundson, believe it or not, will haunt their dreams.

Apr 04 2015

Sixers Get The Best Kind Of Loss In Charlotte

Philadelphia 76ers 91 Final
Recap | Box Score
92 Charlotte Hornets
Furkan Aldemir, PF 29 MIN | 2-4 FG | 4-6 FT | 6 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 2 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -2 +/-Save for his rebounding, Furkan looked like he knew how to do little on a basketball court when he joined the Sixers earlier this season. Lately however, he’s played some stellar defense and has even looked semi-competent on the offensive side of the ball. Could he become the next JaKarr Sampson? Could JaKarr Sampson become the next Magic Johnson?

Nerlens Noel, C 11 MIN | 1-2 FG | 0-0 FT | 2 REB | 0 AST | 1 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 2 PTS | -4 +/-Nerlens left early in the first half after getting a cut on his right eyelid, which sounds about as fun as watching Hank Sims soak up the rest of his minutes. Hopefully he can be back tomorrow night in New York and continue the roll he’s been on lately.

Ish Smith, PG 33 MIN | 6-20 FG | 2-4 FT | 9 REB | 5 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 3 TO | 15 PTS | -1 +/-I am speechless! I am without speech! He may have blown the game by missing key shots down the stretch, but this Kemba Walker-lite gave it his all against the real Kemba Walker tonight and continued to solidify his role as the lead point guard for the remaining five games.

JaKarr Sampson, SG 17 MIN | 4-6 FG | 0-0 FT | 1 REB | 2 AST | 0 STL | 0 BLK | 0 TO | 8 PTS | -2 +/-With Isaiah Canaan out, the “Point Guard JaKarr Sampson Oh My God Brett Brown Do You Hate Us Why Are You Doing This” experiment was in full effect tonight. And although he only racked up two dimes, JaKarr looked astonishingly confident running the offense and was an apt substitution for Ish Smith coming off the pine. What a long way this guy has come since October.

Glenn Robinson III, SG 19 MIN | 3-7 FG | 0-0 FT | 3 REB | 1 AST | 0 STL | 1 BLK | 2 TO | 7 PTS | +2 +/-In the absence of Canaan, GR3 was able to soak up most of his minutes and put together what was probably his best game in a Sixers uniform. Although that may not be saying much, he did have a couple nice off-the-bounce takes to the rim and played annoying defense throughout the whole contest.

By the Numbers

38.9 - The combined field goal percentage of both teams. This was a mostly hideous game right from the jump

Tweet of the Game

Parting Shots

Over the last seven games, this has been the third time that the Sixers have lost by just one point. These are the best types of losses for Philly, as it shows that they can hang tight in games while still securing those extra ping pong balls. Games like these where the Sixers can fight with decent basketball teams — though it’s questionable whether Charlotte is such — only further displays the astounding progress this team has made since October; a few months ago many wondered whether Jerami Grant would ever round into an NBA player (he tallied three 3-pointers and six rejections tonight), JaKarr Sampson looked as if he never played basketball in his life (he ran the offense quite splendidly against the Hornets), and Furkan Aldemir was here merely for the puns (he still is).

With Nerlens Noel exploding over the last month, a seemingly healthier Joel Embiid, and potentially four first-round draft picks looming, it’s almost impossible to not be excited for the 2015-16 campaign. #ThisStartsAtSomePointInTheNearFuture

Older posts «

» Newer posts