Thoughts on the Pre-Season So Far

turnervs.netspreThe Nets reserves ran all over the 76ers last night 127-97 and after the game, head coach Brett Brown summed up his analysis of the loss with this quote, “I feel like it was born out of a reality check.”  

But if you have been paying attention so far this preseason, last night’s blow out loss to a significantly under-manned Nets squad was not a reality check.  No, it was simply more evidence from this preseason that as expected, we are in for a long year here in Philadunkia nation.

The “Winless for Wiggins” campaign is getting set to kick into high gear.



— While MCW 1 has proven to be a much better 3-point shooter then his pre-Draft scouting report indicated (3-7 last night and 6-16 overall) and he takes better care of the ball than the Draft ‘experts” suggested.  However, I have not been impressed with his defense so far this preseason.  I know that coming from Syracuse, Williams has a significant disadvantage when it comes to learning to play defense in the NBA, but to be honest, he looks clueless on that end of the floor.  That was very evident again vs. Brooklyn as Shaun Livingston simply killed the rookie all night long.

— Yes, Evan Turner’s scoring average is up so far during the preseason (19.7 ppg.), but he continues to be the same frustrating offensive player and has shown little growth (again).  Most disturbing for me is the when Turner is playing the PG spot, he continually pounds the ball into the floor instead of moving the rock via the pass.  Now, this is nothing new for those of us who have watched Turner over the years, but I had hoped that Brown could help cure this ill.  Also “The Enigma’s” love affair with the 8-12 foot, spinning, fade-away jumper is disturbing to watch.  Hinkie and Brown can’t be happy with those inefficient FGA’s either.

— By my count, heading into last night’s game the Sixers had attempted a total of 20 mid-range jumpers in three preseason games.  Last night they shot 21 vs. the Nets.  Again, by my count Turner was 4-8 on mid-range shots.  Just for comparison’s sake, my research shows that under DC last season the Sixers averaged 29 mid-range jumpers per game.  This is the type of offense that Hinkie and Brown want to move away from and until last night, the Sixers had shown progress.

— The inability of the Sixers bigs to play defense and rebound was an issue throughout the 2012-13 and since the personnel did not change, this problem is not going to go away in 2013-14.  The Sixers out rebounded the co-tanking Celtics, but were -9 vs. OKC and  -6 vs. Bilboa in that category.  The Sixers were out rebounded last night 54-31 as Reggie Evans, Brooke Lopez and KG simply manhandled Spencer and Lavoy.  I said it many times last year, and nothing has changed, the Sixers bigs are soft.

— Royce White is a mouth watering talent, but he commits a significant number of low basketball IQ mistakes each game.  I’m not sure that his bad fouls, defensive lapses and playing out of control at times can TOTALLY be attributed to “rust” on his game or his fitness level.  White appears to be one of those players who will dazzle you one second and leave you throwing the remote the next.

— Remember back to two years ago when the Sixers bench was a strength and earned the nickname, “The Night Shift”?  Yeah, those days disappeared last year, but now they are long, long gone.  Against OKC, Brown’s reserves were led by 20 from Tony Wroten and out produced their Thunder counterparts 40-22.  In the win over Boston,the bench only contributed 33 points while Boston’s helped out with 48.  Last night the Sixers non-starters got smoked — 67-33.  Night’s like those will happen when you fill your bench with has been’s and young kids with “potential”.

— In the post game press conference, Brown called Khalif Wyatt, “a cruisy, skilled player”.  That does not bode well for Wyatt beating out Vander Blue for a roster spot.  Brown described Vander as “energetic…athletic…and there’s a bounce in him…” .

— While the 76ers were competitive in their loss to the Thunder (without Westbrook), it’s worth noting that their only win over an NBA team so far this preseason, came at home vs. the ‘leaning towards tanking’ Boston Celtics who were without All-Star point man Rojon Rondo.

— Lastly, as we all know, the Sixers struggled at the defensive end in 2012-13.  Defensive rotations, guarding the 3-point line and the rim were all major issues during DC’s final, train-wreck of a season here in Philly.   Last night those same problems arose again as the Nets reserves hit at a 54% clip from the field; 52% from deep and racked up 32 FBPs.  The Nets did all of that without Deron Williams, Paul Pierce, Jason Terry as well as AK47 and limited minutes for KG.


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