When the Sixers traded Marreese Speights to the Memphis Grizzlies for essentially nothing, most people saw that as a waste of a talent. It was. Speights as a ton of ability, highlighted by his jump shot and offensive rebounding ability. But though the Sixers didn't gain much, they didn't lose anything from their roster either, because Mo was never going to get significant time under coach Doug Collins.
Why? Because Mo doesn't play defense, doesn't pass, and doesn't score efficiently. And that has not, and will not change with the Grizzlies or any other team that gambles on the Gator forward with minimal basketball IQ and, if interviewers and twitters are to be believed, minimal old fashioned IQ as well.
Last night, Speezy scored 16 points and pulled in 12 rebounds in a Memphis win over the Derrick Rose-less Bulls. The Lazies would say "DOUBLE DOUBLE HEY GREAT GAME!" and commend Speights for his terrific performance. More specifically, Philadelphia Lazies are saying "EY COLLINS WHYDJA TRADE HIM HE COUDLA BEEN ARE BEST BIG MAN YA BUM!" And unfortunately, regardless of the fancy explanations I'm about to come up with, these baseless arguments comprise of 99% of the sports universe. Either way, in the face of that disadvantage, I'm going to give it a shot after the jump.
Again, we knew Speights could score when he was still on the team. It's hardly shocking that he's averaged almost 12 points per game in the last 5 games with Memphis in place of Zach Randolph. What's even less surprising is that he's continued Z-Bo's trend of taking opportunities away from better player Marc Gasol.
But that's not what this is about. Speights scored 16 points last night. The fact is, it took him 16 shots to do it. His eFG% for the season is a putrid .436 and his TS% is .482. Both stats, which incorporate 3-points made and/or foul shots into field goal percentage, would be lowest on the Sixers this season. That's not efficient. That's not good. That is NOT helping his team win games. The man Mo was tasked in guarding, Taj Gibson, needed only 8 shots to get his 16 points in eight less minutes off the bench. Mo's brand of "Take a Charge" defense has approximately a 25% chance of working and it's really too easy to score on him if you're a big man with any semblance of an offensive game.
Most people will tell you that points are points. It doesn't matter how many shots it takes to get there because you're getting your team the points in the end so the number of shots it takes is negligible. No. This is wrong. Carmelo Anthony scored 33 points today but it took him 27 shots to get there so he had a bad game. This is more the fault of mainstream media pandering to the miniscule attention span of the casual fan but saying how many points someone had simply isn't enough to evaluate their play as a whole.
A terrible metaphor for this is if America dropped a bomb on [insert country here] and killed 5,000 enemy soldiers, calling it a success. What they neglect to mention is that they killed 10,000 innocent citizens and 1,500 American troops who were stationed there. But hey, we killed 5,000 so let's just focus on that, right?
Wrong. Speights is not a good basketball player. He's selfish, he's stupid, he's below average at absolutely everything on a basketball court save for mid-range jump shots and offensive rebounding. If an NFL wide receiver could catch extremely well but didn't block, ran terrible routes, couldn't take care of the ball, and complained about playing time on Twitter, no one would want him. A jump shot is just one aspect of basketball, of which there are many. He's got no work ethic, he's overweight, he's lazy, and he wasn't getting any minutes on this team to begin with. It won't matter if he averages 30 points with Memphis. They will not win anything significant with him in a prominent role because it will take him 25 shots to get there, while playing no defense and missing wide open teammates early in the shot clock.
So, Casual 76ers Fan channeling Howard Eskin, before you get up in arms about how everyone in the Sixers front office are nitwits for trading Mo Speights, remember that he is a bad basketball player now and will be forever. The trade was not the best thing in the world, but picking up two 2nd rounders for a fat, ugly cheerleader can not and should not be seen as a regrettable move, regardless of the empty stats he puts up in Memphis. Take solace in the fact that the Sixers are 10-3 and Marreese Speights will never win a championship.