Let me state the obvious first....I loooooove the Philadelphia 76ers!I love how they play EVERY game hard and compete EVERY night.But over the last few weeks it has become apparent to me that this team is lacking in more areas then we realize,some obvious and some less than obvious.I will attempt to make these things clearer.
This blog site has many commenters and posters,all of which feel they know what the 76ers major problems are.I too am one of them.I myself coach basketball,though not on any major level.Through my almost decade (8+ years) of coaching I have taken pride in my ability and forsight for studying film and figuring out in-game the things that need addressing.Not only for the teams I coach but for the games I watch.I try to be as objective as possible.And usually I am.On the subject of the Sixers I see the main reason for the current state of affairs as an indictement of coaching,not management.Though management can do a better job of building this roster,which they have done a commendable job of thus far.Coach Doug Collins has been given a roster that will do ANYTHING he says.So the execution of his philosophy doesn't come down to players but scheme and player ability,which it is HIS job to cultivate (looking at you ET).
Don't get me wrong,I think he has more than exceeded expectations,but he is failing this team in a few areas that need to be addressed:
1.Love affair with Lou Williams-At the end of what seems like every quarter or end of game situation it seems that LouLou is either bringing up the ball or getting the bulk of possessions to himself.THIS IS A MAAAAAAAJOR PROBLEM.From what I have seen it started after the LAL game.That night announcers and commentators were all annointing him the "closer".To me that was wrong.Lou's game,like that of Monta Ellis, is predicated on volume not quality.The more shots he gets up the more likely he is to heat up.Problem is the quality of those shots.He takes,as many of us know,waaaaay too many fade-away jumpers or LJS (long jump shots).That is statistically the worst possible shot to take,especially in close games.When they fall he is praised for them but they don't always go in.They are hit or miss just as any shot,but the LJS is more miss than hit with Lou,or the team for that matter.Not only does this hamper our chance late in the clock,it also hampers the production of the team.I am not an ET hater (will touch on it later),but I am objective.The problem when Lou goes into BOSS mode is it hampers everyone around him,especially ET because they are on the floor together alot.I do not have a problem with Lou taking shots in the 4th period,it's just HOW he gets those shots.If he gets them in rythm off of screens and set plays and on open looks then fine.By all means take that shot.But that is not how he gets them.He gets them by playing the 1,bringing up the ball,dribble-dribble-dribble-crossover-crossover-dribble-stepback fadaway!That is unacceptable offense and is rediculously predictable.So much so the announcers on ESPN that haven't seen any Sixers games can call the offense before it starts.If they can do so so easily,then the other team can too (check the OKC game footage for proof).Yesterday during the game on the ESPN broadcast,they played a sound bite of Coach C. telling the team that they have to use more "ball movement" because that was how they were staying in the game.Well I agree.So why change that philosophy in the 4th?IMO Lou should NEVER bring the ball up.Especially with guys like Jrue and ET on the floor.Lou is the bigger threat to score.So he should always be coming off the ball.That makes the defense have to work,a la Ray Allen in Boston.DC makes it easy on the defense when they go BOSS and that is derailing all the effort put in on defensive end.Last night I was literally shaking my head everytime #23 brought the ball up.
2.DC's use of ET-I know I know,another ET piece or commentary.Usually on these boards you hear the same thing on this subject; he needs more minutes (true),DC doesn't like him (false),DC handles him improperly (EXTREMELY true),his is just a bust (false),Meeks is better for the offense (retarded),he isn't a good player (why even post here if you think that).You know all of that stuff.Honestly most of it is true,even if I don't agree with the POV.Here's where I stand on it.DC is doing him a disservice at the same time he is helping him.Yes that is a contradiction,I know.That is the problem.If it is confusing to you imagine how ET must feel about it.IMO Evan is on the verge of stepping it up.Problem is he is being put into a role not suited for what he does best....ATTACK.What I like the most about ET is his nose for the ball off the glass and his ability to take the ball 94 ft. after gathering the board.When he attacks like that it puts the defense on its heels and forces them to make a decision.And we have seen glimpses heere and there of his ability to pick an opposing defense apart.Problem is he is inconsistent in that regard.He definitely needs to make better decisions,thats a given.His defense is extremely solid and seems to get better by the game.But he has other areas that need more improvement.That is where coaching comes in.IMO ET's confidence is all but shot at this point.Not his confidence in himself,but in his confidence in DC's ability to put him in position to contribute and be successful.Ask around,confidence is a MAJOR part of being a productive player.Proof.....has anyone ever watched the top of the screen during games and seen ET come to the scorers table and 15 seconds later be called back to the bench?That happened at least 3-4 times last night.That is extremely frustrating.If it pisses me off I know it has to annoy ET.Its like what does he have to do.He has had stand out games and more noticeably halves of ball games where he has been the best player on the floor,but when the 2nd half starts he's on the bench.But not only is he on the bench,he doesn't get back into the game until 2 minutes left.That is rediculous.Doug always says he wants to feed the hot hand in close games,but he only means for guys he likes.In his post game he praised all these guys for what they did but never even mentioned ET.His D on D.R. and Deng was phenomenol.Yes he made some mistakes,everyone did,but he caught the most blame in my eyes.JM misses three straight WIDE OPEN shots in rythm and clanked them all.Did he get yanked right away?No.He made some bad decisions defensively that led to some easy baskets,did he get yanked right away?NO.Let Evan had done that,we're talking about the sandman at the Apollo.Like I said I coach basketball myself,don't claim to be anywhere near DC's level.But if I was to do that to my players I would lose the team.And no it shouldn't be all about one guy,I get that.But if Evan is supposed to be part of the "FUTURE" here than he should be getting as much experience as possible.My solution:Evan was right.He should play PG.I know alot of people say that and it gets tired.But it's not a bad thought.But not for the reasons most give.Its more about flow than fit.And I know some say he plays point at times in the game.Well,you're wrong!Problem with that theory is the part of point guard in this offense is as follows (and if you really pay attention next game then you will agree):PG brings up the ball,passes to wing or big at free throw line,rotates to opposite side of the floor or sets pick/roll motion.That is not playing PG.In that system (get to it next) the PG is just a decoy.Honestly that scheme is run too often and that set is used at the worst times,at the end of games and when anyone other than JRue and Lou run the point.How is that putting ET in position to be a success?It's not.If you're gonna use him,use him where he can contribute the most:runnig the point and being able to use his size and instincts to decimate the opposition.Put him in the post against smaller guards and let him operate.I'm not saying he should start either.Nor should he be THEE focal point of the offense.But when he is in he should be given the chance to make an impact.Think about this,ET brings up the ball,LOU and Jrue run off baseline and down screens to the wings.If they are open they get the ball.That spaces the floor and creates driving lanes.If that doesn't work run a pick and roll with said players or the bigs (preferably Vuc/Thad) at the elbow.If the D switches then exploit it.If not put ET in the post on the smaller guard and let him facilitate from there.He doesn't have to shoot,just make the defense have to pick their poison.Thad/Vuc can shoot,you can't leave Jrue/Lou wide open for the most part.We are at our best when we are moving the ball and creating mismatches.A la Bos vs NYK yesterday.The Celts' offense didn't turn into all PP,it turned into pick/roll,create mismatch baskeball.And it worked.Most teams have a hard time with it.
3.Offensive philosophy-Last but not certainly the least.This is what kills me the most about this team.Its not the players fault though.Its DC's.Watch a Sixer game closely,especially if it's close at the end.They run 1-3 different sets.And they are ALL PREDICTABLE AND EASY TO DEFEND.My pet peave is what I call "The Black Hole Offense".That is basically what happens on most teams in the 4th of most tight games and even during the game.It's when one player brings the ball up or is given the ball off of a screen or something like that,holds the ball/dribbles for 5-6 seconds,does one crossover or 2,takes a dribble or 2 towards the besket and throws up a contested shot.But that isn't just with a player.It can happen with an offense in regards to the same thing being done over and over again.TBHO is prevelent in NY,OKC,GS,LAL,MIA,pretty much any team with a superstar.Granted it works more than it fails with those teams.But I for one believe there is an easier way to score in tight games then a simple "dribble drive".You don't make the defense work when you play like that.And I believe that is how most teams lose games (especially ours).You play into a defenses strengths .You make it easy for them to get stops.That's why it's so hard for LBJ to finish games.They run the same play pretty much,ISO pick/roll.TERRIBLE.This pertains to the Sixers offense because their sets are simple pick/roll basketball that my 9-10th grade boys could defend.It doesn't take much effort or discipline to stop a guy like Lou Williams from scoring.Stay in front and solid while he plays with the ball for 15 seconds.Then when he is about to move pounce on his right hand.Game Over!That just doesn't get it done DC.Neither doesn playing simple pick/roll off ball offense run for a streaky out of rythm shooter (Meeks).Nor is it smart to have low IQ guys void of consistant shooting handling the ball in pressure situations (Iggy/Lou).Honestly I think we can beat ANYONE in this league.We have proven we can stick with everyone.The ONLY team that gives us fits is MIAMI.No one else scares me.Chicago?NO.NYK?Hell NO.Boston even?NO.Orlando?NO.We can handle everyone else.IMO we just have to get better play from ALL PARTIES INVOLVED.But most importantly Doug Collins.
Sorry for the length.First post in a long while.Please comment.I really believe I hit the nail on the head.Disagree?Let's discuss.
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