If you visit this site regularly you are aware by now that we here at Philadunkia are very concerned about the 76ers situation at the two-guard position.
The thought of another season in which Willie Green gets the bulk of the starts at that spot makes us sick to our stomach. As solid of a player as he is, Andre Iguodala simply does not shoot the ball well enough from the outside (especially from deep) to play that position and we believe that was proven last year. Besides we predict that in Eddie Jordan’s Princeton offense, Iggy will be handling the ball a good deal and initiating the offense, something AI9 did a lot of in high school. Jason Kapono and his smooth J was a nice off-season addition and will give the Sixers an outside threat off the bench, but he’s not a starter in this League.
So we still need to find someone to play alongside Louis Williams in the back-court. Now we realize that in the Princeton offense the guard spots are interchangeable and that in this system the traditional NBA speak terms of “point guard” and “two-guard” are pushed to the side. However, in our opinion you can call the spot whatever you want to, it still doesn’t change the fact that the Sixers need a guard who can flat out bang down the jumper to pair with Louis Williams and thus improve the overall team’s outside shooting.
Based on Ed Stefanski’s comments to the Philadelphia media, it does not seem likely that the Sixers will address this need before the start of the 2009-10 NBA season. So with that thought in mind, we combed through the history of the 76ers franchise and selected the Top 5 two-guards (or shooting guards if your prefer) from the past that we would love to see paired with Louis in the 2009-10 76ers back-court.
Here’s our list:
Andrew Toney (6’3, 180) – We know he had a great nickname in “The Boston Strangler”, that his shot was simply water and that he should have made more then two All-Star Games, but have you ever really looked and Toney’s numbers before the injuries slowed his career?
In a four year span between 1981-82 and 1984-85, he was simply one of the best shooting / combo guards in the League. In that run he averaged 16.5, 19.7, 20.4 and 17.8 points per game. According to basketball reference.com, if you calculated those numbers out over 36 minutes of game action Toney would have been looking at averages of 24, 23.3, 22.4 and 20 points a night. His 5,705 points during those four years puts him ninth amongst all guards in the NBA during that time frame. The only names in front of Toney on that four year scoring list include Hall of Fame guards Gervin and Isiah as well as Blackman, Jim Paxson, Moncrief, Gus Williams, Darell Griffith and World B. Free. That’s some serious company to be in.
In three of those seasons he shot over 50% from the field and the one year he did not (’84-85) he shot 49.2%. He also was a career 80% guy from the charity stripe.
Additionally, Toney was money come playoff time as his 17.4 points and 4.5 dimes per game indicate. Lastly, he has an NBA Championship ring, something no one else on the current 76ers owns.
Hal Greer (6-2, 175) – One can argue over whether or not Greer was a pure point or a combo guard for the Nationals / 76ers during his Hall of Fame career, but the one thing that is NOT up for debate is that Greer could hit the J. Now we’ve only seen it on ESPN Classic, but we’ve read enough books and heard enough from eye witnesses to know that he was without a doubt one of the best shooters of his era. Thus he’s on our list.
Greer’s resume is just sick: He represented the 76ers in the NBA All-Star Game for 10-straight years (1961-70). Greer totaled 21,586 points during his 15-year career and helped lead the Sixers to the 1967 NBA championship. He currently ranks as the 76ers all-time leader in points scored, minutes played, field goals made, field goals attempted, games played and personal fouls. Those credentials were enough to get him on this list, but let’s go a little deeper for some more evidence.
Greer averaged 19.2 pg. over his career and had a string of seven straight seasons were he knocked down 20 or more per game. He shot 45.5% from the field for his career and never shot below 43% when he played in 60 or more games. Greer also shot over 80% from the FT line over his 15 seasons.
There are two other reasons we really like Greer as a running mate for Louis Williams. The first is that Greer could also play the point, making the two interchangeable in Eddie Jordan’s offense. From we are told Greer could handle the rock, penetrate the lane and make the smart pass at the right time, all keys to successfully running the Princeton offense. Secondly, according to our research, Greer was a tenacious defender and defense as we all know is something the Sixers desperately need to improve on in 2009-10.
Hersey Hawkins (6-4, 190) – Did “The Hawk” ever live up to the expectations that come with being the 6th overall pick in the 1988 Draft? Not really. Especially when you consider we gave up Charles Smith and a #1 in 1989 to get Hawkins (We’re more upset about the #1 pick then Smith). But be honest, despite what could be labeled as a disappointing career in Philly, you know Hawkins could flat out shoot the rock and that’s what the 2009-10 76ers desperately need – a pure shooter.
In his five seasons in Philly Hawkins never shot worse then 45.5 % from the field, 39.7 % from three and 86% from the free throw line. Most shooting guards today would kill to have numbers like those in a career best season. They were Hawkins worst shooting stats during his five years in Philly.
For the record, Hawkins averaged 19 points a game as a Sixer, which for comparisons sake is much better then Andre Iguodala’s career average of 15.6 ppg. over his five years as a Sixer and Iggy is currently our projected starting two-guard for 2009-10 and just received an $80 million contract.
One last thing we liked about “The Hawk”, was his durability. Hawkins only missed seven games in his five seasons with the Sixers.
Allen Iverson (6-0, 170)– There’s no need to defend this selection with evidence. You already know why “The Answer” is on the list. The reason he slid this far down is that a 76ers back-court of Iverson (barely 6’0 tall) and Louis Williams (6’2) would border on miniature by NBA standards, creating easy mismatches for opponents and the Sixers have enough defensive problems already. Plus there’s that whole “cancer” in the locker room thing that comes with Allen.
Doug Collins (6-6, 185)– Many of our readers know Collins simply as an NBA head coach or color analyst, but in his All-Star playing days Collins was a tough, hard nosed wing player with the ability to bury jumpers. We all know the 2009-10 Sixers could use a player with a sweet stroke, but we also believe it couldn’t hurt if they had a nastier attitude as well and Collins can help in both departments.
A career 50% shooter from the filed, Collins had three seasons in a Sixer uniform where he hit at better then a 51% clip. Just so you know, last year in the NBA only four guards shot 50% from the field – Chris Paul, Steve Nash, Rajon Rondo and Tony Parker. The guard with the highest shooting percentage on the Sixers last year was Andre Miller who shot 47.5% for the season and he’s now in Portland which leaves Iggy and his 44.9% shooting stats as the Sixers “sharpshooter” for 2009-10.
If you look at the four year span from 1974-75 to 1977-78 when Collins was healthy and really rolling, Collins was good for 19.1 ppg. and popped from the field at a 51.1%. Numbers like that made him an All-Star selection in three of those four seasons.
Plus, Collins also has a wealth of NBA Playoff experience as he balled in 32 playoff games as a 76er, including the 1977 NBA Finals which of course the Sixers lost to the Trail Blazers.
One detractor for Collins – He only took one 3-ball in his career and he missed it as the 3-point line did come into the League until his last injury riddled season.