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BACK HIM UP, BACK HIM UP

Posted by: Lance Epstein
07/20/10 10:18 am EST

While the 76ers finally struck gold with their talented and young (19 years old) starting point guard Jrue Holiday, the Sixers also currently have questions as to who will be backing up the club’s floor general and poster boy for a brighter future.  In my opinion, the Sixers still need to find someone that can give Holiday a breather once and awhile or (knock on wood here) fill in for Holiday should he miss a few games because of injury. 

The likely candidate for head coach Doug Collins is combo guard Louis Williams.  Williams is entering his fifth-season in the NBA (all with Philadunkia’s home team), but as we learned last year, his game is better suited to be a scorer than a facilitator of an entire offense.


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ED STEFANSKI SPEAKS

Posted by: Philadunkia
07/16/10 10:45 am EST

Yesterday, 76ers General Manager Ed Stefanski called into the Tony Bruno & Harry Mayes Show on 97.5 “The Fanatic”.   It’s the first time Ed has addressed the state of the franchise as a whole in a very long time and he had some interesting things to say, so we though we would provide you with a little recap.

To be honest Bruno & Mayes dropped the ball big time in this interview.  It’s obvious that neither of “The Fanatic” hosts have a deep knowledge of the current state of the 76ers as they didn’t know that the Stefanski has the $5 million mid level exception available to him so he has the ability to add a free agent to the roster for 2010-11.  Additionally, Bruno & Mayes asked to many “national” questions including several on the Lebron James to Miami drama and did not keep the interview focused on the 2010-11 Sixers, a topic on which we could have interviewed Ed on for hours.    

After the jump is a breakdown of Ed’s answers to Bruno & Mayes questions.   


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A VOTE TO KEEP AI9

Posted by: Lance Epstein
07/15/10 8:17 am EST

He’s certainly not a mega-star like Kobe Bryant, Lebron James, Dwyane Wade or even Kevin Durant and you could make a strong argument that he has failed to take that next step to all-star status, but heading into the future I believe Andre Iguodala is a key component for the Philadelphia 76ers and thus Ed Stefanski should not trade the Sixers wingman.

After giving him a contract extension at a total of $80 million over six years, the Sixers organization expected Iguodala to elevate his level of play and develop into elite player in the League.  To be honest it has not happened.

Of course Iguodala has not had much help either.  For starters, AI9 has played under four head coaches in the last six years – not exactly the stability a young player needs to grow and develop.  But hopefully Doug Collins brings an end to that stretch.

Additionally, the franchise has never been able to find him a right hand man.  The front office’s latest attempt was Elton Brand, who was thought to be the complimentary star to Iguodala’s inevitable superstar.  Upon his signing, the Sixers envisioned Brand as an interior scorer that would change opposing defensive schemes and thus free up Iguodala.  Unfortunately at this time, Brand is not the same player who commanded nightly double-teams before rupturing his Achilles tendon and has turned out to be one of the worst free agent signings in modern NBA history.

Still the coaching carousel and the Brand debacle only make up half of Iguodala’s lack of growth.  He has failed to significantly improve many parts of his game since his contract extension.  In fact, many feel as though he has regressed over the last two seasons.  


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OPSL PLAYER RANKINGS

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/13/10 10:23 am EST

Eight years ago, the Orlando Pro Summer League was created as a chance for rookie draft picks to get acclimated to their new NBA setting.  Over time the summer league evolved into redemption ground for once successful college players who had become overseas journeymen.  Today I would argue that summer league is suited best for second year NBA players looking to improve their game.  These participants were normally reserves in their rookie season in the League and spent most of last year trying to adjust to the pro level.  Therefore, at an event like the Orlando Pro Summer League, second year NBA players are ready to dominate as their year of seasoning gives them an advantage over most international players and certainly over the NBA rookies who are just tipping off their adjustment period.  

After a week of watching the action in Orlando, I have composed a power rankings list of the best five players from the OPSL and as you will see, my list is heavy on second year NBA guys.


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O-TOWN REVIEW

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/12/10 7:54 am EST

After a week of summer league basketball in Orlando, the Philadelphia 76ers have a better understanding of where they stand – sort of.  

The 76ers saw some progression in it’s current roster players and got some live action practicing head coach Doug Collins philosophies.  But the Sixers top pick Evan Turner was average — that’s being extremely nice — and no one on Philadelphia’s bench really proved worthy of a training camp invite.  As a result, the Sixers finished 2-3 during the week. 

If Sixers fans didn’t realize the potential of Jrue Holiday, they do now.  Philadelphia’s 20-year-old point guard proved to Coach Doug Collins that he can be “the quarterback of the offense.”  Holiday played in just three games during the week but averaged 19.3 ppg, 6 assists per game and only 2 turnovers per contest.  Holiday started to turn the corner in the second half last season and it’s always encouraging when a second year player is able to have his way against summer league competition.  Holiday won’t be asked to score as much in the regular season but it was good to see him shoot 47.4% on 38 shots. Jrue routinely was able to get to the basket and will be starting for the Sixers from day one in 2010-11.


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OPSL GM 5: DISAPPOINTING FINISH

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/10/10 11:23 am EST

It’s hard to judge a basketball team playing a 10 AM game with just 8 active guys on the roster, but the 76ers looked rather sloppy in their 29 point defeat (88-59) Friday morning which was the Sixers final game of the 2010 OPSL.  It was the squad’s third straight loss. 

For the first time all week though, Evan Turner was the Sixers leading scorer with 13 points and 6 rebounds.  Turner was 4-of-10 from the field and was often handling the ball as a point guard in the second half.  Turner admittedly had a frustrating week, and he wore those emotions on his sleeve.

“This was the best eight days of Evan’s life because he understands the level now that you have to be at competitively and in shape to play this game.  He’ll go from here until the end of September to do what’s necessary.” said Collins.

Collins all week analyzed why some lottery picks—like Derrick Rose a few years back—struggle in the summer league.  Collins said that agents go out of their way to make sure players don’t get hurt, mainly by limiting their client from playing five-on-five.  “He’s 90 days behind in his conditioning, he’ll catch up and he’ll be fine.”


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OPSL GM 4: SHORT HANDED

Posted by: Philadunkia
07/09/10 7:53 am EST

With no Jrue Holiday, no Marreese Speights (both DNP — CD), and a struggling Evan Turner, the Philadelphia 76ers looked to be very much outmanned against an experienced Bobcats squad.  Still, Philadunkia’s home team battled throughout and it took a put back by Gerald Henderson with 0.01 seconds left to give the Bobcats the 77-76 victory.

The first quarter was the Derrick Brown and Jodie Meeks show.  Brown showed his explosiveness for the Bobcats, throwing down three dunks in the first quarter, two of them on fast breaks that he created.  Meeks single handily kept the 76ers in the game in the first, scoring nine points, including a four point play.  As good as Meeks was the 76ers trailed the Bobcats 19-17 after one quarter. With Holiday and Speights out, Meeks said he didn’t feel any pressure to step up his game.


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FREE AGENT MARKET: SHOOTERS EDITION

Posted by: Lance Epstein
07/08/10 2:45 pm EST

As the NBA free agent frenzy of 2010 kicks-off, the Philadelphia 76ers have two deficiencies that they should look to shore up.  First and foremost the team obviously needs to improve the frontcourt which I have already written on.  Now that Samuel Dalembert is in Sacramento, the Sixers could use another center or PF-C combo player that can pull down rebounds and alter shots.

However, with the lack of talented big men on the free agent market, the 76ers might choose to spend their money elsewhere.  If the Sixers do not address the frontcourt via trade or MLE, then the club should look to fix its horrendous outside shooting.  This has been a huge issue for the 76ers over the past couple of seasons and it’s something Philadunkia wrote about extensively last year. 

We’ll be the first to admit that not all the blame for the Sixers poor shooting from deep lies with General manager Ed Stefanski.  After all, Stefanski thought he had addressed the 76ers three-point shooting woes with the addition of veteran sniper Jason Kapono in summer 2009.  Unfortunately, Kapono fell victim to Eddie Jordan’s insane rotations in 2009-10 and one of the League’s best 3-point shooters found himself anchored to the bench for nearly the entire season.  When Kapono actually got some tick, he looked rusty and appeared to lack confidence.  So legitimate questions still remain as to whether or not Kapono can fix the Sixers problems from behind the arc and his mind-boggling $6.64 player option that he will certainly pick up makes him an expensive question mark.


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OPSL GM 3: THUNDER STRUCK

Posted by: Philadunkia
07/08/10 9:33 am EST

The Thunder built a big lead in the first half, then held on late and in the end handed the 76ers their first loss of the week (89-80).  The Thunder took advantage of their opportunities from the charity stripe, especially in the first half when they knocked down 20 free throws to the 76ers seven.

The game got off to a slow start as five minutes into the game each team had only scored six points.  Giving the Thunder a huge lift in the 1stquarter was Latavious Williams.  Williams finished with seven points and a blocked shot in the first quarter, en route to a ten point, five rebound, three blocked shot performance for the Thunder.  Williams, who was the first NBA Development League player to be drafted out of high school, impressed many in Orlando with the energy he brings off the bench.  The Texas native has a real chance to make a NBA roster, with his athleticism (as you can see by the dunk he threw down last night), ability to fill the stat sheet and affect games in so many areas.

Evan Turner continued to struggle for the 76ers.  The second overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft was held scoreless in the first half and only finished with four points.  The former Ohio State Buckeye did have an impact on the game in other areas, hauling in eight rebounds and handing out two assists.  Through three games in the OPSL, Turner is averaging a mere 9.7 points a game while shooting 35 percent from the field (8 of 23).  Before Phillaunkia nation starts freaking out over Turner’s slow start, head coach Doug Collins tells fans to be patient with the rookie.


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OPSL GM 2: BENCH TO THE RESCUE

Posted by: Kevin Jones
07/07/10 10:07 am EST

Philadelphia shooting guard Jodie Meeks was consistently scoring all night; ending with 18 points and helping his Sixers coast past Boston by 17 points (86-69).

“I’ve been getting in a rhythm and playing my game.  I’m not focusing all on scoring this week, but just getting better as a whole.” Meeks said.  Meeks added 2 steals and after two games is the 76ers leading scorer with an 18 ppg.

“Jodie could be a very explosive player off the bench for us.  The way we’re playing defensively really suits his style. He has very good instincts, he closes out very well and he disrupts passing lanes,” said a pleased Philadelphia head coach Doug Collins.  “I told Jodie that coming off the bench you have to be a high percentage shooter and you have to make minimal mistakes.  Those are things he does.”


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