Over the course of the season, the Sixers bench has been unbearable to watch. They rank 26th in the NBA in bench points per game, scoring a whopping 27.4 points a game; that accounts for 26.2% of the Sixers total offense. While I love yelling at Jerryd Bayless as much as the next guy, a big part of the lack of production from the bench is stemming from the regression of Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.
Timothe, the 22-year-old second year player from France, had his coming out party late last season for the injury riddled (tanking) Sixers. In his final 10 games of the season, Luwawu was averaging 15 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 2.2 assists in 31.8 minutes a game. In those 10 games Luwawu was shooting 43% from the floor and 33% from deep while shooting making 33 of his 36 free throws.
Sixers fans who stuck around for the entirety of last season can recall seeing the progress Timothe was making. The timid Frenchman exploded and set a new career high three separate times within the final 8 games of last season. All signs were trending up as it appeared he was becoming the role player the Sixers were hoping he would be. Then, everything changed when the fire nation attacked.
Timothe has regressed dramatically and has figuratively torn my heart out with his play this season. The final 10 games last season were the best of his career. In his best 10 games this year, he’s averaging 10 points, 2.5 rebounds, and 1.5 assists per contest. That’s me doing my best to inflate his stats to make his look better; on the season he’s posting 6 points, 2 rebounds, and one assist.
What. The. Heck.
He’s had the opportunity to get himself going. Since December began he’s only failed to find the court three times. In the 15 games he did play in, he saw plenty of minutes and had the opportunities to find his stroke. However, that wasn’t the case:
Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot's 0-10 from 3 in his last 5 games. 9 of those 10 attempts had 4+ feet of space from the nearest defender.— Derek Bodner (@DerekBodnerNBA) December 11, 2017
So… what’s the issue?
Here are some theories:
Theory #1: Lost Confidence
It’s very possible that TImothe is stinking it up because he simply isn’t that confident in himself this year. I have no clue as to why he wouldn’t be confident in himself. He ended last year exactly how he needed to, and we didn’t bring in any players that would compete for his job. As I’m typing this I see that JJ Redick will be out at least two weeks, which means TLC will likely have another shot to regain his confidence.
Theory #2: Maybe He’s Not That Good?
WRONG. He has the ability to be a good player. I believe it. I don’t know where the fire went from when he played overseas, but I use to watch his DraftExpress strengths video on a loop the entire summer after we drafted him.
One of the most notable things missing from his game that he had overseas, is his explosiveness. I have never seen him even try to dunk on anyone in the NBA, but he was taking names in the Adriatic league. I’ve had it with this layup junk, DUNK ON SOMEONE, TIM!!!!
Another thing that is absent from his game is his passing ability. He was making some fantastic passes overseas His career high in assists in the NBA is four. FOUR. I don’t know why the heck he isn’t producing like he was for Mega Leks, because he is a good basketball player.
Theory #3: Guard Theory
After watching his DraftExpress video for the 9 trillionth time, I was reminded that while he was on Mega Leks, he played a lot more shooting guard than he did small forward. This allowed Timothe to have a height advantage and see over top of defenders and operate more comfortably on offense. Since joining the Sixers, TLC has been involved in over 20 different lineup combinations and only one of them placed him at the shooting guard position [Ed. note: According to Basketball-Reference, 65% of TLC’s Sixers minutes have been at the SF position, 73% this season]. The lineup of TJ, TLC, RoCo, Dario, and Jahlil saw 46:34 minutes of life and had a negative net impact in almost every statistical category. Every other lineup where Tim received credible playing time had him slotted at the small forward position. With JJ Redick going down, this might be an opportunity to get TLC some minutes at the SG.
Theory #4: Number Change Theory
Never mess with the mojo. Could Timothe’s struggles be a result of his forced number changed with teammate Markelle Fultz? No? Ok I’ll move on to…
Theory #5: Shoe Theory
During my detective work (which was just crying in sorrow while watching his game highlights from last season) I noticed something interesting.
Take a look at these four plays and tell me if you see a recurring theme
That’s right, in all of his games where he reached a new career high, he was wearing those midnight black shoes (aaccording to NBAShoesDatabase - there’s a databse for everything - they’re probably PG1s). Timothe has been wearing mostly white or red shoes this season, a switch back to black could swing some mojo his way.
Theory #6: The Hair Theory
There seems to be a direct correlation between how well Timothe’s hair looks, and how well he is playing on the court. Can you feel how far I’m stretching here? Yes, maybe TImothe’s lack of production is due to his haircut. Here is a picture posted on April 9th, 2017, in the midst of his late season outbreak.
Notice his hair, a fade into a very poofy top… it looks nice. Nice hair, nice production on the court.
At the start of the season, Timothe decided to change it up and get a… less than ideal looking haircut.
So you can’t argue with me here. When he cut his hair, his on court production went down. In theory, when his hair grows up and out again, his play should also improve.
This picture is the last one he posted in London, and you can see that his hair is growing upward
Look for an increase in play as the volume of his hair increases too.
Through some more detective work, I discovered TLC’s barber is located in Millstone, New Jersey. If any readers live in or near Millstone, tell them to Make Timothe Poofy Again.
So there ya go, those are some things to ponder about the Frenchman as the season continues…but in all seriousness, if the Sixers bench squad wants to start regularly contributing to games, a consistent and explosive Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot could certainly be an answer.
Oh, and Timothe is in the top right corner in the picture.