The 76ers suffered another disappointing loss Wednesday night in which their inability to score the ball (Highlighted by a nearly 6 minute dry spell in the final minutes of the 4th quarter and a 19th straight game under 100 points.) and their lack of a “closer” were brought to everyone’s attention once again. After the very frustrating game vs. OKC, I would now argue that it’s time for a change.
Some may think that a big time trade is called for to fix the above Sixers woes. I would respectfully disagree and suggest that the answer is sitting right on the 7-6’s bench.
His name is Thaddeus Young at it’s time the six foot eight 220 pounder with a ridiculous offensive arsenal and a $8 million a year contract was inserted into the 76ers starting lineup and saw increased minutes in Doug’s rotation.
The 28 minutes per game for Young is too little for him to play a key role in the 76ers offense and defense. His nonstop hustle every games gives the 76ers a huge edge in defense and offensive rebounds. His 1.2 steals a game and almost 1 block per game are huge defensive boosts night in and night out. Also the forward shoots 51% from the field and averages 13 points in only 28 minutes of action. According to basketball-reference.com, if we hypothetically stretched Thad’s burn, his PER 36 minutes stats would read 16.7 ppg, and 6.3 rpg. While PER 36 minutes stats guarantee nothing, we can all agree that the Sixers could desperately use an increase scoring punch and I have faith that Thad can provide that bump.
For all the fans who would like Lou Williams to start, I would argue it is much more vital for Thaddeus Young to run with the first-five. With Thaddeus Young in the starting, Collins could potentially utilize two different opening lineups depending on the opponent. The first starting group would be tall and athletic, with Holiday (6’4) running the point, Iguodala (6’6) at the 2, Young at small forward (6’8), Brand at the 4-spot (6’10) and finally Spencer Hawes (7’1) or Nik Vucevic at center (7’0). Now defensively that would work very well for the Sixers, as it seems with another solid rebounder in Young virtually replacing Meeks in the starting lineup the Sixers in theory should not give up as many offensive rebounds to opponents.
The second option is a smaller lineup which would be very quick and hopefully provide an offensive spark. Included in that possible starting unit would be Holiday, Meeks, Iggy, Young, and Hawes. Brand has been showing signs of age; and a overall lack of consistency with his jumper. His stats are down from last year, and while his defense has been solid, EB has consistently been out-rebounded by his man. Replacing Brand with the younger, quicker, more athletic and better scoring Thad will also give opposing players something to worry about.
I don’t really care which of these starting lineups Collins decides on. In fact Coach Collins could even have a third option in mind and I would support that as long as Thad is not coming off the bench as part of the “Night Shift” and logging only 28 minutes per game.
Ideally I would like to see Doug Collins give Thaddeus 34-36 minutes a game. With that increased tick, I predict that Thad would at least average the 16 points and 6 or 7 rebounds, that basketball-reference.com predicted. Those are very solid from a starting forward in the NBA. Thad’s talent can no longer be stuck on the bench to begin a game, especially given the slow starts the 76ers have routinely delivered this season. Last year I would make the case for him to still come off the bench and be part of the “Night Shift”, but with his better shot selection and improved defense, I see him as a smarter player who deserves to start and receive extended minutes.
Thad provides a spark every time he hits the court off the Sixers bench, so why not start him, increase his minutes and see if he can ignite a fire that can carry the Sixers over the final 30 games of this season.