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76ers Pre-season Links Featuring a Struggling Jrue Holiday and Cowboy Stadium

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Happy first day of the work week Gus Johnsons.  I trust none of you had as terrible a weekend as I did going 0 and 3 in Fantasy Football while also losing many activities that have to do with point spreads.  In fact, I bet a lot of you guys are pumped that the Phillies moved on the playoffs (I don't care about/follow baseball at all but is there any way they don't make the World Series?).  Speaking of the Phillies, if/when they make it to the Fall Classic, Game 1 will be in Philadelphia the same night as the Sixers open up with the Heat.  Look for the Sixers game to get pushed up an hour (speculation on my part based on nothing) to a 6:00 PM start time.

Onward to the links of the day!  Today we've got Doug Collins using the collapse on Saturday as a teaching experience, Evan Turner voicing his displeasure in the outcome of the Nets game, Jrue struggling,  intriguing small lineup discussion, and a very long basketball shot in a football stadium.

Links.  Jump.  Do it.

Collins Sees Teaching Opportunities From Loss; Offense Still Struggling: Philly.com

"We had seven teaching points today off the last 15 seconds of Saturday's game," Collins said. "If they had missed, that might not have happened. It's better to happen now, so that we can make those points.

"Who were you guarding? What's the rule on playing him? Communicating with one another. When a guy's shooting a free throw and they put his man down the floor, do you let someone know you have his, and [he] has yours, instead of trying to switch on the run and then they throw ahead and they hit a three?"

On the offense:

"It was sloppy," Collins said. "I'm always looking for us to be better every day. I was very happy [Saturday] even though we lost. The fact that we could have won the game shooting [only] 35 percent. The transition game was much better. We left about 20 points on the floor in transition. We're not aware. We're running on top of people and that kind of stuff. Our defense was terrific. Today, I wanted to come back and be better than we were [Saturday], and we didn't do that. We got sloppy at the end."

The Villain Upset with Miscues at the End of Saturday's Loss; Philadelphia Inquirer

Rookie Evan Turner was not so diplomatic. "We had the game won, and we didn't finish it off," he said. "Coach said he wants us to win just to have the taste of winning, but it's all about finishing off the game playing smart. We did some great things in regards to offense and defense and things like that, but they made tough shots, and things like that happen."


Sixers Showing Signs of 'Getting It': Philadelphia Inquirer

The numbers in the box score were like a worrisome investment account: low in areas that should be high (like field-goal percentage) and high in areas that should be low (like turnovers). But the numbers - and the results - don't completely reflect the on-court action.

Jrue Holiday played even worse than his stat line showed. Holiday isn't this bad, and he'll rarely, if ever, play this poorly in the regular season. Holiday's game is absorbing the offense's current limitations, and that won't last.

One week into this season, we're seeing the occasional cluster set - coach Doug Collins' go-to play - produce an open cutter, who is in position for an easy lay-in.

In the final minutes of Tuesday's loss, Collins called to Elton Brand and Andre Iguodala. Neither had played that night, resting on the second day of a back-to-back. Brand sat to Collins' left, Iguodala to his right. Collins told them he needed them to be leaders. And guess what? Both Brand and Iguodala appeared calm and engaged. The team is climbing from the basement of last season's ineptitude. Many steps remain, but the direction is the right one.

The Starting Lineup Issue: CSN Philly

"That’s what we are looking for, the right lineups, the right matchups, the right personnel to go out there and win games for us," Young said. "And if that is the right personnel so be it."

Collins insisted he is not committed to the starting lineup he used Saturday moving forward but he did say if using a bigger slower lineup doesn’t get the job done rebounding wise, then there is no point in going with it. The smaller starting lineup grabbed 37 of the team’s 47 rebounds and the team as a whole was only out rebounded by three.

"With a smaller lineup you have to go find a body," Young said after he grabbed seven rebounds. "You can’t just out jump guys. We knew that so we just made sure we got into those guys legs. And even if we couldn’t get the rebound we were clearing it out for someone else to get the rebound so we could start the break."

Same Article: Jrue Holiday's Struggles

"I’ve sat down and talked with him. I don’t know if he is putting too much pressure on himself. I am not sure. I don’t know if he is struggling right now to get the concepts of running the team. His defense has been good but we have to get him sharper in our offense," Collins said. 

"I’m just thinking too much," Holiday said. "And I am not playing well. I’m thinking too much and I just need to play. Different situations like I really didn’t know what to do especially with line-up we had out there. I am just trying to do too much and I need to settle down and play."

Brian at Depressed Fan Supports Small Lineup: Depressed Fan

With that in mind, this season has to be about developing the young talent. If development is the goal, you have to take a step back and seriously ask yourself who the priority should be among the young players. For me, it's Jrue and Turner. Those guys need reps together. Those guys need to get comfortable playing with each other, and their dynamic needs to get sorted out, in whatever way it's going to sort itself out. Having Turner mesh with Jrue is one thousand times more important than learning if Thad can play the three in advance of signing him to an ill-advised extension next summer.

Beyond development, though, with this roster, the best team you can put on the floor starts with Holiday, Turner and Iguodala on the perimeter. Period, end of sentence. Doug Collins appears to be having a meltdown already in trying to figure out how this team will score in the half court. The answer is that they probably won't do so efficiently, so you need to get points in transition. How are you going to get into your transition game if none of your bigs can rebound, nor block shots? The answer is to put three guys out there who can not only force turnovers on the defensive end, but can also turn those turnovers into instant offense going the other way.

With Hawes in there, I think we're slower and lazier, but he'll luck his way into a blocked shot every once in a while. Neither of those options is tantalizing in the least, but if Collins is intent on having Thad in the starting lineup, then let it be at the four so he doesn't mess with Jrue, Turner and Iguodala. That's the future, if there is any kind of a future in this roster. This team isn't going anywhere, so we may as well put it on the floor and see what happens.

Completely Un-Sixer-Related News of the Day: Dude-Perfect Hits an Amazingly Long Shot at Cowboy Stadium, Jordan Gets Jealous

This shot is amazing.  I don't know how else to describe it.  I feel bad for the guy who's out of 50 bucks.