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Sixers First Half in Review: Player Development

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The two teams heavily involved in Andre Iguodala rumors -- the Mavs and the Suns -- look like they've both completed trades which cripple their chances of landing Andre.

The Mavs traded Drew Gooden and Josh Howard for Caron Butler and Brendan Haywood and the Suns are close to a deal that would send Amare Stoudemire to the Cavs for Zydrunas Ilgauskas and J.J. Hickson.

It's becoming painfully obvious that the trade deadline will come and go without the Sixers making any significant moves. Ric Bucher wr ites:

The 76ers, several sources say, have all but pulled Iguodala off the market after aggressively exploring interest in him over the last 10 days.

After Thursday, Sixers fans will essentially have nothing to look forward to until the draft lottery. With a depressing finish on the horizon, I thought we'd switch gears and discuss something other than our level of mediocrity, the head coach, and trade rumors: player development.

Have the Sixers young players (Lou, Andre, Thad, Speights, Smith) improved, or gotten worse? Let's compare advanced numbers. 

Lou Williams

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
2008-2009 16.3 .513 .435 2.2 8.1 5.2 21.6 2.4 0.6 13.0 27.7 105 109 1.6 1.7 3.4
2009-2010 18.0 .568 .516 1.4 9.2 5.3 21.3 2.4 0.6 11.5 21.3 115 110 2.5 0.9 3.4

Lou hasn't declined significantly in any area. His defense his is slightly worse, but his offense and offensive efficiency are way up. His ORtg has improved from 105 to 115, his percentages have sky-rocketed and he's cut down on his turnovers. Another eye-opener is the progress of Lou Williams' jump shot. Last year his eFG% on jumpers was a little below 40 percent -- this year it's above 47. All in all, the first half of the season has been a success for Lou. He's not a true point guard and he's a mediocre defender at best. His job is to score in bunches, and he's done it pretty damn well thus far.

Andre Iguodala

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
2008-2009 18.4 .560 .507 3.3 14.0 8.6 22.4 2.1 0.9 13.9 22.3 112 108 5.6 3.5 9.2
2009-2010 17.5 .523 .469 3.0 17.4 10.2 23.0 2.5 1.1 14.0 21.5 107 107 2.4 2.2 4.6

Andre Iguodala has declined in every conceivable offensive category except AST%. Personally, I blame it on the loss of Andre Miller. Although Iguodala's offense has diminished he's seen modest improvements in other areas, including defense. Overall it's been a mixed bag for Andre, but I think this is what we can expect from him until he's paired with another facilitator (or superstar) like Miller.

Thaddeus Young

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
2008-2009 15.3 .549 .524 6.4 11.2 8.8 5.8 2.1 0.7 10.2 20.5 110 109 3.0 2.5 5.5
2009-2010 13.8 .516 .491 6.4 12.7 9.5 7.9 1.9 0.5 12.3 21.7 102 110 0.7 1.2 1.8

Thad's rebounding and assist numbers have improved but everything else has gone down the drain -- as has he. I'm not sure what to attribute his relapse to, but it's been painful to watch. He's probably the most interesting player to watch in the second half of the season. Will he regain his 2008-2009 form? Or is he destined for yuckiness?

Marreese Speights

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
2008-2009 18.0 .543 .504 11.6 16.3 13.9 4.3 1.1 3.6 7.6 21.9 115 107 2.4 1.5 3.8
2009-2010 20.3 .553 .502 11.4 19.0 15.2 6.6 1.9 2.9 10.4 24.5 112 106 1.2 0.7 1.9

The numbers say Speights has improved in almost category except TOV%, but the naked eye and Eddie Jordan say otherwise. Speights hasn't played more than 20 minutes in a game since January 22 because he doesn't rebound or play defense, but this player comparison says he's been better than Elton Brand in every which way. This is where we have to go beyond advanced statistics. Although Speights numbers show he's been a pretty average-to-solid defender, the Sixers defensive rating while he's on the court is terrible. When Speights plays this season, the team's defensive rating is an abysmal 114 as opposed to 106 when he's on the bench. While Speights might be a decent man-to-man defender, the numbers don't lie -- the Sixers' defense suffers big time when he's on the floor. Whether that's because he doesn't rotate, communicate or box out -- or all three -- remains to be seen.

(Note: The Sixers defensive rating when Elton is on the floor is 106, and 109 when he's on the bench.)

Watching the games this season it seems like Speights is taking too many jump shots. Last year 48 percent of his shots were jumpers, and he made 36 percent of them. This year 55 percent of his shots are jumpers, but his shooting percentage has risen eight points (44). He's taking more jumpers, but he's also making more them more often. I'd still rather see him develop a post game.

Jason Smith

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
2007-2008 10.7 .491 .461 8.2 16.6 12.3 2.8 1.1 3.6 12.2 16.1 101 106 0.2 1.4 1.5
2009-2010 12.4 .533 .500 8.0 13.5 10.7 8.4 1.9 4.0 16.0 16.2 105 106 0.2 0.4 0.6

 

It's hard to evaluate the first half of Jason Smith's season because he's barely played and he's still recovering from major knee surgery. He has however, improved his offense and developed three-point range. He's averaging one three per 36 minutes on 40% shooting, which is good for the second best percentage on the team. 

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Lou Williams has shown the most improvement over the first half of the season. Speights, Iguodala and Smith have been fairly similar to year's past, improving in some areas and declining in others. And Thaddeus Young has fallen off a cliff. We'll reevaluate at the end of the year. Here's Jrue Holiday's advanced stats so we have something to compare in April. 

PER TS% eFG% ORB% DRB% TRB% AST% STL% BLK% TOV% USG% ORtg DRtg OWS DWS WS
2009-2010 10.3 ,471 .439 3.7 9.4 6.6 22.3 2.3 0.9 19.7 17.8 96 109 -0.2 0.6 0.3

 

Again the DRtg might be deceiving in this case. The two lineups Jrue's played 90+ minutes this year with (Green, Iguodala, Brand, Dalembert) and (Iverson, Iguodala, Brand, Dalembert) have defensive ratings of 94 and 97 respectively.