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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.

  • robbybonfire23

    Without running the numbers backing up my methodology which generate my opinion on the relative merits of our players, let me just give you my ranking of them, from top to bottom, based upon shooting and scoring efficiency, and the floor game components of DR’s, Assists, and turnovers, in the context of minutes played…

    1. T-Rob
    2. F. Aldemir
    3. H. Sims
    4. N. Noel
    5. Ish Smith

    6. R. Covington
    7. I. Canaan
    8. J. Sampson
    9. J. Grant
    10. H. Thompson

    We really had better obtain some draft value for sending MCW packing, because Canaan is not shooting much better than MCW, and MCW sports all-star level floor game numbers and Canaan is out to lunch, in that category, big time.

    I put a gap between Smith, ranked fifth, and Covington, ranked sixth for good reason. The top five are the major producers for this team, the bottom five are the major liabilities.

  • neldogg77

    The big reason next year won’t be as horrible as this year is Embiid, our 2015 draft pick and Noel’s development. Plus, the East is still horrible and we could win 30 games next year if Hinkie actually wants to give Brown a few more NBA players. I know things look bleak because we were all hoping that we’d get 3-4 1st round picks, but the best rookie in the league next year is already on the team.

  • NoJNoProb

    While I know it’s unlikely, I think with an aggressive offseason strategy and a decent amount of luck, we could make the playoffs next year. The Bucks made quite a leap with their young players this year. Granted, a lot of that has been attributed to Jason Kidd, but he was average at best with a stacked starting five in Brooklyn, and I personally think Brett Brown is better. We could make a similar leap next year with a decent amount of player development, especially in the weak Eastern Conference.

    Nerlens is no offensive force, but he is a monster defensively by almost every metric. He has a very inconsistent midrange jumper, but theoretically if he could hone it to a point whereit was at least a threat, that could be enough spacing for the Embiid-Noel pairing to work. I know it’s uncommon for bad shooters to become good, but in college Nerlens didn’t really shoot at ALL so he’s an inexperienced shooter and I find it more likely that he could be at least serviceable from 10-15 feet out. Either that, or Noel would have to become a more savvy interior passer. Also, for the Sixers to make a leap, Embiid has to pan out. I honestly don’t know how big of an “if” that is, but hopefully he stays healthy and is everything he was projected to be before the injury diagnosis.

    Assuming the interior positions are locked down, that still leaves the other 3 positions in flux. Ish and Isaiah are both decent, but are too one-dimensional to be starters on their best nights. I expect the Sixers to draft a point guard, most likely Mudiay or Russell, and hopefully he’d come in and contribute right away.

    That still leaves a gap on the wing. Old Man J-Rich probably will retire or deteriorate, but even still, the Sixers have many wing players. Thompson, Sampson, Covington, Gramt, Robinson III; all are role players at very best, and maybe Covington could become a seventh man one day? However, there are a lotttt of good young wings hitting the market, though most are restricted. Kawhi Leonard would be a good fit but I doubt he leaves San Antonio. Jimmy Butler is a defensive-minded swingman that Brett would love, and Draymond Green similarly fits well with the positionless way the Sixers like to switch on pick and rolls. Tobias Harris is another one to keep an eye on; he’s young even by Sixers standards and he is definitely underrated. He might be better at the 4 than at the 3 though, so that would bear watching. Honestly though, if the Sixers could steal any of these guys and let Covington start at the other spot, they’d probably be alright.

    This is just one scenario of many. The only thing I can count on with Hinkie is that I can’t count on anything with Hinke. Time will tell if he’s mad genius or mad, but for now, he’s simply unpredictable. Maybe he’ll sign a guard like Brandon Knight away from another team, and draft a wing player like Winslow. Maybe he trades away a few of his so-so wings and extra first or second rounders for one impact player. I can totally see OKC pulling a Harden trade and panicking and sending Westbrook to the Sixers in return for Sampson, Grant, and multiple picks (Lord knows the Sixers have enough of those). If that happened and the Sixers used the draw of Westbrook to attract a star who is a good defender and spot up shooter (Harris or Butler anyone?) then suddenly they have a stacked team. I doubt that specific scenario transpires, because I think the Thunder are still afraid they’ll lose Durant or Westbrook to free agency but also don’t really want to trade away a star again. You never know though, especially with Hinkie.

    All in all, I think the Sixers will tank again, but I think they have enough assets (including max-level cap room) that they don’t need to anymore.

    • robbybonfire23

      Yes, Ish is really decent, but I have to say Canaan has to go. Hopefully he was acquired as a stopgap “solution” to the trading of MCW. Canaan does not feed front court players. We could have the best front court in the league but with Canaan in the game it will be just ordinary. Time to clean up the dead wood on this team, starting with a makeover at P.G.

      Also, Russell is the “safety first” pick relative to Mudiay. I hope they are both on the board when we pick, just so we can see Hinkie’s thinking, on this one. Mudiay looks like he has the higher ceiling than Russell, to go with a Tony Wroten redux floor. I would go for Mudiay, given Russell’s mediocre record in Big Ten conference play, after tearing it up prior to conference play. He has not been a force, since early January.

      But this is really a toss-up, so no ecstasy, and no emotional let-down, whatever Hinkie does with this. I just think the top-4 are down to a top-3 of Towns, Okafor and Mudiay, with Russell a notch below them.

      P.S. – IF Embiid is the real deal, how do we tank, because we will be looking at close to 40 wins if we go with Embiid, Noel, and say, Mudiay as our nucleus? That’s enough to get to second place in the division.

      • NoJNoProb

        I think Hinkie was just trying to get as much value as possible for McDaniels, and he Canaan was the best that Houston offered. Also, he provides floor spacing on a team with not that many shooters so he was a good Brett Brown to see how his offense works when the floor opens up a bit. He is generally an inefficient scorer who plays a little hero-ball at times (although not nearly as bad as MCW would get sometimes when it comes to forcing his own shot) but he filled a role this year. Going forward, I think that will be a role that the Sixers will not need from him, and he will be moved on from.

        • robbybonfire23

          Amen to that!

        • CholloBlanco

          I would like to see Canaan get an opportunity to play next to some more talented wing players. His only real skill is his shooting which doesn’t help the team space the floor much when nobody else can really shoot or create. I think Canaan would fit well with a guy like Russell where Isaiah could be the nominal point guard while the off guard actually initiates the offense. Kind of like houstons system

          • egoldwein

            Agreed. I’m not too optimistic based on what I’ve seen, but context is everything. It’s clear he can make an open 3… would like to see what that means in the right situation.

          • CholloBlanco

            Yeah, I don’t think his ceiling is very high, I would just like to see him play with guys who complement his skill set better. He and Wroten would actually be a fun pairing. I’m not sure that they could pass the ball or guard anyone but they’d be fun offensively.

          • robbybonfire23

            Respectfully disagree, in that Canaan is going to have to rev up his entire game to carry his weight and deserve to be on the floor with Nerlens and Embiid. Not optisimistic in that regard, given that his one strength, his shooting/scoring efficiency rating, has tailed off to where he is a net liability. Canaan is marginally better than was MCW here as a shooter/scorer and 1/3 the player MCW was as regards the floor game. To attach a sizable portion of our back court responsibility to Canaan is to limit our overall effectiveness.

            I hope he is gone, and soon, but I will settle for his being relegated to bench duty if he stays. This guy couldn’t feed a hungry elephant a bag of peanuts, and he cannot feed our forwards the time of day, either.

  • robbybonfire23

    We all see that Bobby Portis, Arkansas 6′-11″ So. PF has declared for the NBA draft, today. I am really happy not to feel compelled to trash an over-rated player for a change, because Portis can flat-out play, and he played really well, in S.E.C. competition.

    His floor game is mediocre (but not bad), coming in at 18.41 where I have set a score of 20 as the demarcation line for determining genuine floor game ability. HOWEVER, this young man is a bona fide shooter/scorer, coming in with a ratio of 1.40, when you divide his actual total of points scored by his missed opportunity points. The vast majority of players coming out in any given year fall into the 0.70 – 0.90 range.

    Also impressive about Portis is that he had the sense to stay in college two years, not come out for the NBA before he even had his feet wet at the NCAA level. If I were a G.M., I would place a high premium upon sophs and juniors while greatly down-grading freshmen and seniors.

    Drafting Portis would give us a great deal of flexibility to wheel and deal with our front court personnel. Man, I hope we get him, he is so much more attractive than a dozen or so puffed-up zeros coming out for the NBA ride and a quick buck.

    • Evan

      Why are we trying to wheel and deal our front court? Nerlens proved he is very capable of playing in the NBA, and we can all agree Embiid is hopefully the future. Plus, we might only end up with one pick in the first round this year, unless we get extremely lucky with the lakers pick or everything goes right for the Miami pick over these last couple days, and we certainly aren’t taking Portis in the top 5 where our original pick is going to land.

      • robbybonfire23

        Portis, I predict, and of course no one knows, yet, but I look for Portis to have a better career than what Covington is giving us, either here or elsewhere. After Nerlens and Embiid, none of our forwards is secure beyond this season.

        The question here, which we cannot answer, is how does Hinkie see those available in the draft, relative to our picks and our present roster. If seems hard to conceive that Uncle Sam will not be wheeling and dealing, in ways we cannot anticipate. Last years Payton for the rights to Saric deal is still out there in terms of whether it will pay off, but it was a bold move and I just look for more of the same this time around, now that we are on to Uncle Sam’s modus operandi.

        • Evan

          I agree he might pull something unexpected, but I am not sure we will have the picks where we could afford to draft Portis. In terms of first round picks, we most likely will only end up with our own. Draft Express has him going at 18, but we will not have a single pick anywhere around where he is supposed to go, so I just don’t see how we could possibly draft him.

          Also, the Payton-Saric deal was very impressive on paper, considering he got a first round pick (Orlando’s top 11 protected 2017 pick) in addition to the player he really wanted, which was Saric. So it looks good on paper, and will take years for us to find out the true value of that trade.

          • robbybonfire23

            I am becoming more disenchanted with the Payton-Saric deal, by the day, as much as because of Canaan’s struggles, as because of Payton’s impressive progress in his rookie season.

            And, yes, we all talk about how Canaan is better, offensively, than is MCW, BUT, MCW, by my criterion, has now passed Canaan in offensive production. This is a nightmare of major proportions, given the night and day qualitative difference between MCW’s and Canaan’s respective floor game.

            MCW now shows a ratio of 0.737 of points scored to missed scoring opportunity points; whereas Canaan has sagged to 0.686. And of course MCW logs 8.2 assists per 40, combining his Philadelphia plus Milwaukee play, whereas Canaan is scraping bottom at 4.18 A per 40.

            Also, as regards Payton-Saric, Payton is averaging 8.59 assists per 40 minutes playing time, keying his really high, I would say a B+ academic grade, score of 27.17 as regards his floor game. Chris Paul, the best of them all, is right around 38, to put that into perspective.

            Payton’s does fall back as regards his mediocre offense, starting with his hitting just 55 per cent of his F.T.’s. His overall offensive ratio score of 0.78 is nothing to write home about.

            What irks me is the contrast between Payton and Canaan. Damn, if we had just kept Payton and not traded MCW look at how deep we would be in our backcourt, understanding that both Payton and MCW are PG’s. I could live with that. Instead we are running on the fumes of Canaan and the Saric promissory note. Put me down as not happy as to what has gone down in this regard, so far.

          • Evan

            Yes, we just wont know for many years to come though. We still have to see how Saric pans out and whatever we draft with the 2017 pick. Payton still can’t shoot, but he is much smarter with his shot than MCW, which is why his future may be brighter.