Back in late July my Philadunkia colleague Lance Epstein wrote a post titled “Back Him Up, Back Him UP” which pushed a very solid basketball idea that the 76ers needed to find a veteran point guard to back up rising phenom Jrue Holiday. In his post Lance discussed the fact that the “backup PG by committee” plan — having Louis Williams, Andre Iguodala and Andre Turner all seeing minutes at the point guard spot this upcoming season when Holiday is out of the game — that seemed to be in place for 2010-11 was not the answer. Lance then offered several available players that could fill that need for the Sixers.
That “backup PG by committee” plan appeared to be holding fast until the first day of Sixers training camp last week when four-year NBA veteran Chris Quinn took the floor at St. Joseph’s University in a Sixers practice uniform. At first glance we felt it was simply Rod Thorn adding a familiar warm body (Quinn was with the NJN last season) to the training camp squad, so we did not give the move much thought. Then On Sunday, Kate Fagan of philly.com had a post in which head coach Doug Collins was quoted as stating, “He has a chance (to make the team)…We’re looking at a third point guard. If he continues to do what he does, now you go and you fight and say, ‘Look, we need to keep this guy,’ you have to have some insurance at that third backup position.”
When I read this quote Sunday morning, I nearly choked on my bacon, egg and cheese bagel.
After the jump you’ll see why…
Lance’s “Back Him Up, Back Him UP” piece was posted long before the 76ers dealt veteran guard Willie Green to the New Orleans Hornets. So even though at that time quality veterans like Anthony Carter, Earl Boykins, Like Ridnour, Earl Watson and Rafer Alston were available, Green’s ability to hand the rock, could have allowed one to question the Sixers need to add another backcourt player and your argument would not have been considered insane. Still most of us here at Philadunkia would like to have seen one of Lance’s suggestions added to the Sixers roster this summer.
However, with the trading of Willie Green, the Sixers now absolutely have an opening for a backup / third point guard and many of the solid options which Lance listed back in July are no longer available to the 76ers. All of the players which Lance discussed this summer in his post are flat out better players then Quinn. Yes they are more expensive and yes some of them have serious baggage, but in the end they are all better overall NBA players then Quinn and each one could have really helped the Sixers in 2010-11. Ed Stefanski should have grabbed one of them when he had the chance. Now it’s too late.
This isn’t an anti-Quinn thing either. I have nothing against Quinn personally or as a player and I respect what he has been able to accomplish in this League. However I’m certainly not as amped up about his potential presence on the Sixers 2010-11 roster as Kate Fagan appears to be when she writes that Quinn, “provides stability, if not excitement, as a backup point guard. He runs the team, limits his turnovers, and makes open shots.” Reading between the lines I get the slant of what Fagan is saying…’Quinn is a pro’s pro and when he does get in the game, he is not going to make mistakes and he’ll knock down open jumpers’.
There’s nothing wrong with having a decent bench player who knows his role like Quinn (career 5.2 ppg. and 2.1 apg.) on your team. However, the limited attributes Quinn are a better fit on an elite team like the Heat or the Boston Celtics or the LA Lakers. In my opinion, the Sixers need something more then a “serviceable” role player like Quinn in their backup / third point guard spot. A team like the Sixers that is trying to become relevant again in the NBA needs someone who will make an impact in that limited role. Philadunkia’s home team needs a guy who can provide an instant spark on a night where the starters are struggling badly. A baller who can go out and get you 20 during a game where Holiday is having foul trouble and spends extended minutes on the bench. Perhaps just as important, a veteran who every day in practice can push the young starters on this team and make them better.
Quinn has five 20-point performances in his 193 game NBA career and simply doesn’t have the skill set to push Holiday, Turner and Williams everyday at practice.
Players such the ones Lance listed back in July would have filled this need nicely for the 76ers. Or one of the quality veterans who as I type this post are still on the open market according to NBA.com — Flip Murray, Javaris Crittenton (non-guaranteed deal with Charlotte) Jamaal Tinsley, Marcus Williams and Rafer Alston — to name a few, would be perfect for this role as well.
Make no mistake, my anger is not directed at Kate Fagan for reporting the company line she was fed. Nor is it pointed at Quinn for trying to make the Sixers and extend his NBA career. No, my issue lies with the 76ers brass for failing to address the Sixers need for a reserve backcourt player for real. Instead they took the easy, inexpensive way out by grabbing Quinn off the Nets scrapheap (big surprise there) and bringing him down the turnpike and into Sixers camp.