As a reminder, this Philadunkia question and answer series is “loosely based” on ESPN.com’s highly successful, NBA related series of posts titled “5on5”. Our version of this genre of posts will ask 4 Philadunkia scribes to answer 4 topical, hot button questions about our Philadelphia 76ers.
Now you’re probably asking, “Why not simply stick with the “5on5″ format that ESPN.com uses?”
Well as any great hoops coach will tell you — playing 4on4 is the best way to truly learn the game of basketball.
After the jump four Philadunkia scribes will look at four pressing 76ers topics.
1) Do you think the recent injury to Jrue Holiday will help the Sixers in regards to the 2014 Pelicans’ pick they are owed, or do you think it could drop the Pels dangerously low in the lottery?
Jeff McMenamin: If it were just Jrue Holiday, I would’ve said don’t worry about it. But now we’re talking Ryan Anderson and Eric Gordon as well. I think the Pelicans could get bad fast. This doesn’t bode well for the Sixers, who are having trouble tanking themselves. I think it’s unlikely that the Pelicans drop among the bottom dwellers, but I know I’ll be sweating out the second-half of the season if the losses keep coming (their losing streak is currently at six games).
C. Smith: When you combine the Jrue injury with Ryan Anderson now being out for two months and the Eric Gordon trade rumors, I think the Sixers could be in real trouble with regards to the Pels pick. Even when some combination of Jrue, Anderson, Gordon and Anthony Davis were in the line-up, the Pels were not that good. Hence the reason they only have 15 wins. Now all hope of New Orleans having their full roster available this season are gone and there are trade rumors swirling around. So I can see the players (especially Tyreke) taking a “get mine” mindset as management contemplates pushing the tank button. That would spell disaster for the Sixers.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain: I think the recent injury to Jrue, although unfortunate, will help the Sixers in regards to the Pels’ pick. The Pels had been playing better ball as of late and doing their best to make a playoff push. This injury will cost them a few games, but there’s enough talent on the rest of the team for the ship to not sink completely. The Pelicans will be lottery bound, and Jrue’s injury may lower their lottery landing a couple spots, and providing the Sixers with another high pick.
Alex Gorge: In the long term I think Jrue going down will help the Sixers draft position although it may cut it close. New Orleans has lost six straight and now only have eleven teams that are tied or have a worse record. After their next two games they have a six game slate that my fraternity team could win half of. Now, if the Pelicans somehow go worse than 3-5 in their next eight games, sound the alarms.
2) Aside from MCW, who has been the biggest surprise for the Sixers so far this season?
Jeff McMenamin: From simply a numbers standpoint, Evan Turner averaging nearly 18.9 points, 6.3 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game this far into the season is pretty wild — of course if you don’t factor in how inefficiently he’s done so. The most surprising thing to me has been Thaddeus Young’s stroke from the outside. For a guy who attempted just 12 triples in the previous two seasons, his 33 treys on 84 attempts has been a pleasure to watch. He’s shooting 39-percent from downtown, second to only Spencer Hawes. He’s become a complete player and it would be ashame to trade him away in the prime of his career.
C. Smith: I don’t think any one individual player has surprised me. I felt strongly over the last two years that DC’s conservative offensive system kept the clamps on players like Thad, Hawes and Turner and their ability to put points on the board. IMO, Hawes could always shoot. IMO, Thad could always score in transition and shoot the 3-ball. IMO Turner has always been good at going one-on-one in the half-court. They were just rarely given the opportunity to do so under DC. So, outside of MCW the biggest surprise for me is just how bad this team is defensively. I mean it’ simply disturbing how awful this team is on defense. Given Brown’s pedigree, I never would have guessed that was going to happen this year.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain: I would have to say the biggest surprise for me has been Tony Wroten. He still has a looonggg way to go as a player, but during camp and the offseason I never expected him to develop into a contributor so quickly. Wroten has shown an uncanny ability to get to the basket, and may serve the Sixers well as a reserve guard with some fire power off of the bench. I didn’t expect too much from Wroten heading into the season, but his play his been pleasantly surprising. If he can continue to develop and improve he could be a very solid NBA player.
Alex Gorge: I don’t know if you could call it a surprise but ever since Thaddeus Young has been freed from Doug Collins, he hasn’t looked back. Young is averaging 21.7 PPG in his last 10 games and that includes a zero point game against Cleveland just three games ago. The real surprise from Young, and it wasn’t surprising to him, is that his three point percentage is just under forty percent this year. The power forward is proving he can be much more valuable than anticipated and can also play multiple positions going forward (Don’t trade him Hinkie).
3) Who will be the first Sixer on this roster to be traded?
Jeff McMenamin: I think Spencer Hawes is the first guy to go. He has a unique skill-set for a big man and knows his role at this point in his career. He’s also a good locker room guy that his teammates seem to rally around. Combine those things with his expiring contract and he’s a guy that another team would make a solid offer for. Probably at best a low first-rounder, but possibly a solid young piece to add to the already budding core as well. I just don’t see many teams giving enough for either Evan Turner or Thaddeus Young for Sam Hinkie to pull the trigger.
C. Smith: I pray it will be Turner. Unfortunately I think it’s going to be Thad. There are just too many rumors circulating around with his name involved for one of them not to be true. His energy, hustle and scoring could be a fantastic addition to a 3 or 4 seed looking to make a deep playoff run. He’s under contract for the future and at a friendly cap number, which are the other reasons he is so attractive to playoff bound teams. Those are also the reasons I would keep him in Philadelphia.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain: To me this comes down to Turner or Young, as both could be of value to a team trying to make a playoff push. Considering that Thad will still be under team control next season, Turner may be the first to be traded in order to get some value back, as he could certainly serve as a complimentary scoring option on a title contender. The biggest question is what will the Sixers be able to get in return?
Alex Gorge: Out of Hawes, Young and Turner who do you think has the lowest three point percentage? The answer is Turner at an awful 29% rate. “The Enigma” has shown improvement in his ability to carry a scoring load but his efficiency just isn’t there. I believe it would be in the 76ers best interest to trade Turner before Hawes or Young. I’m not saying that Hinkie will come to that same conclusion but numbers don’t lie.
4) Which one of the Sixers big three (Turner, Hawes, Young) do you most want to see back next season. Why?
Jeff McMenamin: As I stated in the second question already, Thaddeus Young. He’s only 25, he’s been playing out of his mind and he’s really become a leader for this franchise. He’s a guy that can be part of the teams future plan. If the Sixers can get in the right position in this years draft and select some of the top talent, I think Thad would enjoy sticking around for the long-haul as well.
C. Smith: If you make me choose one, I want Thad back for the reasons I discussed perviously. However, my full answer to this question is that I want Hawes (Can’t believe I just wrote that!) and Thad back. The idea of a roster that is founded on MCW, Noel, Thad, Hawes, two high 1st round picks, Wroten and a key FA signing intrigues me. Of course Hinkie would have to find someone who can defend the perimeter to help this group on that end of the floor.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain: Last season I would have never believed that I was saying this, but I think I would most like to see Hawes back with the Sixers this season. It certainly isn’t Evan, and although Young has been a model Sixers for seven seasons, it may be time for a fresh start for him. Hawes on the other hand, has really thrived under Brett Brown and looks like a player that would have a lot of value in the League’s changing landscape, where big guys are increasingly relied upon to shoot and play facing the basket. Hawes has done wonders opening up the offense with his shooting this season, and with the league tending toward small-ball, it’s nice to have a sniper-center. If Hawes was paired with a big who played more in the paint (Noel maybe) then the two may be able to compliment each other well. He’s young, and after seeing how he can operate in a system like Brett Brown’s, I would like to see the Sixers bring him back.
Alex Gorge: For me it has to be Young who remains in Philadelphia next year. “The Swiss Army Knife” has shown amazing value in that he can be used at the small forward position or the power forward spot for small ball purposes. Keeping someone like that on the roster will give Coach Brett Brown a lot more flexibility when it comes to schemes implemented next year. Also assuming the 7-6 draft a premier power forward it would make the front court one of the best in the League going forward.
Jeff McMenamin is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @Sixersblog.
Alex Gorge is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @apg3000.
Michael Kaskey-Blomain is a scribe for Philadunkia. You can follow him on Twitter @therealmikeKB.
You can follow us on Twitter @philadunkia.