Been thinking about him a lot lately...mostly because the Sixers recent atrocious stretch has coincided with an atrocious stretch from our favorite #2 overall pick. When he had that run of double-figure scoring games before the road trip, it really seemed like the light had finally gone on for him. Then Jrue got hurt and Tony Allen held him to 1 point and it was back to rookie year. Of course the only game I missed on the West Coast trip was the Laker game, which he clearly played well in, but otherwise he looks like he's regressed.
The conventional wisdom is that he "needs the ball in his hands" and therefore can't flourish next to Jrue but frankly, I think this is a load of crap. He scored in double figures 17 games in a row (Utah 11/27 through Dallas 12/18) and--if I remember correctly--Jrue played in all but 3 of those games. So the most productive stretch of his career BY FAR came with Jrue at the point.
I have never seen a player whose performance is so clearly tied to his confidence level--and the most amazing thing is I think it's pretty easy for anyone who watches him play regularly to see when his confidence is high and when it goes out the window. To me, this is the NUMBER 1 thing he needs to work on to come anywhere close to justifying his draft status. I think it goes a long way towards explaining his maddening inconsistency; he's obviously not the most athletic guy in the league but he's had enough flashes at this point to convince me that he can do it on a regular basis if he gets his head on straight. He's definitely a little bit of a goofball but I think he generally says all the right things, works hard on his game, and wants to fulfill his potential. But he's now a 24 year old professional which means it's time to master the mental aspect of the game and not allow himself to disappear into his own head for stretches (games?) at a time.
Clearly I'm not ready to give up on this guy and I don't think the Sixers are either. I think that--despite the Division II-quality bigs on this team--if he and Jrue are both on together then this team is going to be tough to beat on a given night. I also think that when (if) Bynum comes back it will open things up for him (and everyone else, frankly). He won't be constantly driving the ball to the basket and encountering a wall of bigs--he's not athletic enough to score or even get fouled in those situations (though I do think he can work on the latter which is also mental to a large degree). It's really difficult to truly evaluate any of the perimeter players on this team given the current state of the front court (except Nick Young--we all know what he is).
I know there are a lot of people on this site who want desperately to see this guy succeed. There are also a lot of people who are ready to move on from him. You can see which camp I'm in, but only time (and maybe a competent big or 2) will tell
Another user-created commentary provided by a Liberty Ballers reader.